Traditional children’s games

Traditional children’s games. They are those that are carried out during childhood and that are transmitted from generation to generation, forming part of the traditions of the countries. Games are always determined by the social conditions of the place where they take place.


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  • 1 Historical reference
  • 2 Utilities it provides
  • 3 The game as an element of training and reflection of personality
  • 4 Characteristics of children’s games
  • 5 Traditional children’s games
  • 6 External links
  • 7 Sources

Historical reference

The game historically emerged as a need for work , which means that the man before having played had the need to work in order to survive. Games, singing and dancing initially accompanied work, later separating to become an independent activity, without However, the content and variety of the games are always determined by the social conditions and character of the work, changing it according to the historical conditions of human life.

The first reference to games that exists is from [year 3000 BC]. Games are considered as part of a human experience and are present in all cultures. From the archaeological discoveries and studies carried out in very old pictorial or written records, many games that were practiced in remote times are discovered, such as the case of the ball or the kite.

Traditional games are those that go from time to time without losing their acceptance by children and family, perhaps undergoing some changes but maintaining their essence.

Like any type of game, the traditional children’s games that are played today have an origin that, depending on each case, can be very old. They are usually closely linked to folklore through children’s poetry, retahlas, songs, dances and other popular culture content, which is why they are also called popular games.

Utilities it provides

Popular and traditional games can serve as an educational tool in different subjects, from the natural sciences that can illustrate different physical facts with them, to music, language and social sciences, which can use their songs and poetry.

Traditional children’s games make it easier for children to incorporate into the environment in which they live, as routes for the first meetings in groups not only for fun but also for the creation of ideas, the construction of simple toys with materials, achieving with imagination and determination to break barriers and differences, promoting health through the practice of physical exercise but above all they strengthen values ​​such as friendship, solidarity and a sense of belonging.

The possibilities offered by traditional games are multiple within the educational field, including an important aspect for the education and development of children. Taking into account that they are games that have their origin in very remote times, this “ensures that we find them in all generations and cultures. In this way, we are facing an access route to local and regional culture and even others places, through which you can learn aspects to understand the life, customs, habits and other characteristics of different ethnic groups.Through these games they know their own and other people’s stories, also bringing generations closer together.

Play as an element of formation and reflection of personality

Precisely, one of the ways available to the school to develop values ​​and qualities of personality in its students is play, which constitutes the first form of learning life in community. Respect for the rules and other elements of the game create in the child the necessary conditions for her full social development. (Alfaro Torres , 2003 )

In this sense, Lavega expresses himself thus: “In this complex universe of relationships and socio-cultural manifestations , the game has to be understood as a reality that despite its insignificance , gratuitousness and spontaneity , appears as a revealing mirror of its protagonists. The person when he truly plays, that is, when he participates in a regulated recreational practice forgetting all the other rational and serious activities that are part of his more formal daily life, he usually shows himself as he is, without wearing masks or artificial clothing more typical of other more serious scenarios. The language of the universal and at the same time singular game in eachGeography and historical epoch shows at all times the combination of ontogeny with playful filigénesis, since if each individual is capable of inventing or improvising an original playful adventure, it rests on the foundations of the evolution of everything that has been generating the human collective to which it belongs. ” (Lavega Burgués, 1996 )

The differences are also based on the angle in which the recreational phenomenon is being studied. For example, from the anthropological study “play is an activity in which not only well-established collective worldviews are projected , but also refers to other possible worlds in the symbolic, expressive and imaginary”, as expressed by Ana María Dupey in its recent publication (Dupey , 1998). Thus, for evolutionary psychology, play is seen as part of the child’s evolutionary development that manifests itself in different forms of playful expression. For psychoanalysis, play is an intermediate instance between the unconscious and the conscious, between the reality principle and the pleasure principle. Pedagogy sees in the game an instrument to transmit diverse concepts, values, and knowledge. For phenomenology, the game is an original phenomenon, emphasizing the free character of the game’s objective. The game is present to a greater or lesser degree, in many aspects of our way of life, and in the very configuration of our personality. Games contribute to the health and development of physical, emotional, social, and intellectual qualities in the child (in the person), and affect the environment and life of the group itself: it is a global stimulus. We all like to test our strengths or abilities, communicate, venture. The game, in addition to being recognized for its educational value, let us not forget, is an intimate friend of free pleasure and unproductive effort (and dear).

The importance of play in education is great, it activates all the organs of the body, fortifies and exercises the psychic functions . Play is a powerful factor in preparing the child’s social life; playing solidarity is learned, character is formed and consolidated and creative power is stimulated. As far as individual power is concerned, games unravel language, awaken wit, develop the spirit of observation, affirm the will, and perfect patience. They also favor visual , tactile and auditory acuity; they lighten the notion of time, of space; they give ease, elegance and agility of the body. In addition to helping the development of collectivism and solidarity. The beneficial application of games enables the biological, psychological, social and spiritual development of man. Its educational importance is transcendent and vital. However, in many of our schools the value of passive, domesticating and alienating learning prevails; The importance of the case is not given to comprehensive and permanent education. So many schools and homes, despite the modernity that we live or are required to live, are still weighed down in shameful traditionalisms .

Faced with this reality, the level of Cuban school organization, which emanates from the Socialist Education model and emerges as a product of the solid social change that occurs in Cuban society from January 1959 , facilitates and guarantees the necessary conditions to carry carry out investigations such as the one in question. Froebel, creator of kindergartens, has been one of the pioneers in this area, integrating the game within the school environment, thus allowing children to play within the school, play with objects to learn concepts and develop skills. Other authors such as Dewey , Montessori , Decroly, develop other positions also integrating the game within the educational field. If we consider play as an inherent phenomenon of man, and much more, of the child, if we take into account that play is one of the first languages of the child and one of her first activities, through which she knows the world Of course, here we will have to take into account some aspects such as that the school is not the same space as the home or an open play place such as the neighborhood where children meet to play in their free time.

This often causes “doubts” and “fears” on the part of those responsible for the inclusion of play in school, questioning different points such as the effectiveness of learning, the possible disorder and overflow of the group and the alleged “waste of time” as an example. But contrary to this, learning through playful situations is much more enriching. On the other hand, there are multiple educational and learning possibilities offered by free and spontaneous play, chosen and organized by the children themselves without the need for adult intervention.

Characteristics of children’s games

  • They are played by children for the sole pleasure of playing.
  • They respond to the basic needs of children.
  • They do not require much material or cost.
  • They are simple to share.
  • They can be done anytime, anywhere.
  • The imagination of the child who plays it is put into each game.

Traditional children’s games

The chair dance

I play the chair dance : It consists of a group that is placed around a number of chairs that are one less than the total number of children that plays. They start to dance, around the chairs to the music that someone is in charge of turning it off and putting it on. People spin around the chairs when the music is turned off, the children will have to sit down, the one who runs out of a chair will be eliminated, that way until there is only one left who will be the winner.

The broom dance

I play the dance of the broom : The children must be placed in a circle, at the rhythm of the music they pass a broom, until one stops the music, and the one who stays with the broom when the music stops, will be removed until only one is left who is the winner.


Sack races : To play it you need a wide flat and clear space. The game consists of a race in which the participants run in a sack, made of jute or nylon, that covers their legs and that they hold with their hands at waist or chest height. Whoever reaches the finish first without leaving the bag wins, which hinders the free movement of the legs to the contestant who tries to advance.

Kite game

Kite game : During the days when the breeze blows more strongly, especially at the time of the ephemeral winter season, children of both sexes, accompanied or not by adults, give themselves to the pleasant occupation of raising kites in parks or other uncovered areas of these cities. There are a few more modest than their counterparts, lacking such a harmonious and solid structure, as well as such efficient materials for making them, which children often refer to simply as chiringas.

The blind chicken

The blind chicken game : A player in the center of the field, and blindfolded, is the blind chicken. Question, answer and orders are exchanged between the chicken and the rest of the players, who are scattered around them.
It is the players themselves who, holding onto the hen, force them to make the three laps with the reverse. From them, the chicken begins the chase. Players can touch her, but the one she touches will be the child who replaces her. Game to put the tail to the donkey: It consists of drawing a donkey and blindfolded trying to put the animal’s tail in its place, with the help of the companions, who will indicate it. The game begins by choosing a participant by lot who, blindfolded, must put his tail on the donkey after having turned him around several times to disorient him. The participants will be divided into two groups or teams, and, while one places the queue, the rest of the team guides him indicating: up, left, right, etc. The team that takes the least time to correctly place the tail the donkey.

Pin the tail on the donkey

Set of spinning tops

Set of spinning tops : It is made with a piece of hard wood in a conical shape (pear) with a metal point (pick, pick or rejon) on which it is rotated. To get the spinning top to rotate, a tweety or string is wound from the pick to the tang, and then thrown onto the spinning top onto the ground with a jerk, holding the tweety from the end that was left on the tang. So it unscrews when it reaches the ground, and begins a rotary movement on the plectrum, with a rhythm and duration that vary according to the type of spin, the impulse that has been given, and the surface on which it is “dancing”. Then it begins to lean to the sides, until it loses its movement, and it is expressed that the top is “dead”.


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