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Have you ever stopped to contemplate the good influence of
games? Admit to it! At this very moment, you are thinking
of computer games, phone applications or any other piece
of equipment which makes use of the new technologies,
Actually, we were talking about a totally different type of
games which are still practised in our country and have
nothing to do with the development of computers and
smartphones, and we take pride in it because we consider
they are extremely beneficial to the children’s general
health and affective development.
To be more precise, these games not only keep the children
entertained in a secure environment but they also help them
to develop personally and affectively in addition to
preventing them from becoming couch potatoes and
technology-addicted as well as ensuring enough physical
effort for a healthy body and mind.
We firmly believe that in the technological society of today
there is still much scope for revitalization of some traditional
games so here is a selection of 15 activities or games which
undoubtedly feature in every Romanian group of children or
DE-A V-AŢI ASCUNSELEA (HIDE-AND-SEEK)
Hide-and-seek or hide-and-go-seek is a popular children's game in
which any number of players conceal themselves in the environment, to
be found by one or more seekers. The game is played by one player
chosen (designated as being "it") closing their eyes and counting to a
predetermined number while the other players hide. After reaching this
number, the player who is "it" calls "Ready or not, here I come!' and then
tries to locate all concealed players. The game can end in one of several
ways. In the most common variation of the game, the player chosen as
"it" locates all players as the players are not allowed to move; the player
found last is the winner and is chosen to be "it" in the next game.
Another common variation has the seeker counting at "home base"; the
hiders can either remain hidden or they can come out of hiding to race
to home base; once they touch it, they are "safe" and cannot be tagged.
But if the seeker tags another player before reaching home base, that
person becomes "it." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hide-and-seek)
A player has to run and catch one of the other players by
touching him and the latter becomes the catcher. There are
several variations of this game:
Catch and Hunker – The player who is chased can avoid the
catcher if he hunkers and does not move for a few seconds.
Catch and Statues – The player who is chased can shout
‘Statue’ to avoid the catcher but has to remain still until
another player reaches and touches him to “bring him back
to life”. If he cheats and moves, he will become the catcher.
Catch and Climb – The player who is chased can climb on
whatever he finds and escapes the catcher.
Catch and Down – The player who is chased can avoid
being touched by the catcher if he manages to throw himself
to the ground face down.
Catch and Ball – The player who is chased has to be hit
with a ball. Whoever gets touched by the ball, even if
unintentionally, automatically becomes the catcher.
Hopscotch is a children's game that can be played with several players
or alone. Hopscotch is a popular playground game in which players toss
a small object into numbered spaces of a pattern of rectangles outlined
on the ground and then hop or jump through the spaces to retrieve the
object. To play hopscotch, a court is first laid out on the ground.
Depending on the available surface, the court is either scratched out in
dirt, or drawn with chalk on pavement. Courts may be permanently
marked where playgrounds are commonly paved, as in elementary
schools. Designs vary, but the court is usually composed of a series of
linear squares interspersed with blocks of two lateral squares.
Traditionally the court ends with a "safe" or "home" base in which the
player may turn before completing the reverse trip. The home base may
be a square, a rectangle, or a semicircle. The squares are then numbered
in the sequence in which they are to be hopped.
RAŢELE ŞI VÂNĂTORII (DUCKS AND HUNTERS)
It is played outdoors, and requires a ball and at least four
players, two of whom are the hunters. The other players (the
more, the better) are the ducks and they are placed within a
perimeter delimited by any objects which can be found.
The hunters throw the ball to one another with the precise
aim of hitting one or more ducks. If the duck is hit, she is out
of the game. But if the duck manages to catch the ball before
it touches ground, then the duck gets one extra life which can
be used to remain in the game if it gets hit next time. The
game ends when all the ducks are out and is resumed with the
first and last eliminated ducks as hunters.
This game can be played at any age and it’s beneficial for a
wide range of reasons: it develops quick reflexes and improves
the span of attention in addition to keeping the children
happy and entertained while doing exercise at the same time.
RĂZBOIUL BULGĂRILOR (SNOWBALL WAR)
This game can be played only during the winter and it’s
extremely enjoyable and helpful because it involves a wide
array of capabilities, from building skills and strategy
techniques to teamwork and cooperation.
The players split up in two teams and agree on a span of
time in which each of teams has to make snowballs of
different sizes and shapes in order to build a castle which
should be not only big but also extremely resistant because it’s
Then, the action begins. They start throwing snowballs at the
other team’s castle with the aim of knocking it down. Of
course, the team whose fortress is destroyed loses the battle.
ŢARĂ, ŢARĂ, VREM OSTAŞI!
(COUNTRY, COUNTRY, WE WANT SOLDIERS!)
There have to be at least 4 children in order to be able to
play this game, but the more, the better. They split up in
two teams and hold their hands tight in a line face to face
with their opponents. The first team shouts “Country,
Country, we want soldiers!” and the second team asks “Who
(do you want)?”.
Here is where things get interesting: somebody from the first
team names a person from the other team who has to come
running towards his opponents and try to break the “wall”
made by their hands holding tight. If he manages to do it, he
will win a new member for his team but if he doesn’t succeed
in doing so, he will be taken by the competitors and will have
to remain in their team until the game ends. The team that
is left with only one player loses the battle.
BABA-OARBA (BLIND MAN’S BUFF)
Blind man's buff or blind man's bluff is a variant of tag in
which the player who is "It" is blindfolded. The traditional
name of the game is "blind man's buff", where the word buff
is used in its older sense of a small push. The game later also
became known as "blind man's bluff"; it is possible that this
name is a linguistic corruption. Blind man's buff is played in a
spacious area, such as outdoors or in a large room, in which
one player, designated as "It", is blindfolded and gropes
around attempting to touch the other players without being
able to see them, while the other players scatter and try to
avoid the person who is "it", hiding in plain sight and
sometimes teasing them to make them change direction.
Blind man's buff is ideally played in an area free of dangerous
obstructions so that the "It" player will not suffer injury from
tripping over or hitting something.
SCAUNELE MUZICALE (MUSICAL CHAIRS)
Musical chairs is a game where a number of chairs, one fewer
than the number of players, are arranged facing outward with
the players standing in a circle just outside the chairs. Usually
music is played while the players in the circle walk in unison
around the chairs. When the music stops each player attempts
to sit down on one of the chairs. The player who is left
without a chair is eliminated from the game. One chair is then
removed to ensure that there will always be one fewer chair
than there are players. The music resumes and the cycle
repeats until there is only one player left in the game, who is
the winner. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_chairs)
It can be played in two or in a larger group and the only thing
you need is quick reflexes. Players hold their hands face up or
down as following: Player 1 places his right hand over the
second player’s left hand and Player 2 puts his right hand over
the first player’s left hand. Each player takes turns to say
something (e.g. the days of the week / the months of the year
/ the seasons) and when doing it, he slaps with his right hand
the opponent’s left hand.
When they reach the last word (e.g. Sunday / December /
winter) the person who has to say it is supposed to slap faster
and harder. If he succeeds in touching his opponent’s hand, he
gets one point. If the latter manages to avoid being touched on
the hand, he gets the point. The game starts again and the
player who gathers 5 points wins the game.
ÎNTRECEREA BICICLETELOR (BIKE RACE)
This activity is not actually a typical game; it’s more of a
playful funny competition and doesn’t require any official
background or referees.
Riders agree on the starting point for the bike race and most
importantly on the track they have to cover. Needless to say,
the person who reaches the finishing line first is the winner.
In order to make the race more thrilling, obstacles could be
placed on the tracks or the competition could be organized
under the form of a relay race, which would make it more
appealing and would ensure that the participants understand
the importance of teamwork.
CAPRA (GOAT / MOUNTING RACK)
It can be considered a version of leapfrog and you must have done
something similar in Physical Education classes, using some sort of special
equipment. But you can play without any ladder or box: a person leans
forward as if he was looking for something he has lost on the ground and
the others are supposed to jump over him. It’s interesting to discover that
there are many types of jumps:
“Capră nouă” and “Capră veche” – These are quite basic moves since
players needn’t do anything else besides jumping over the “capră” (the
person who is leaning forward) and if they don’t do it right, they have
to take the place of the “capră”.
“Pintenul cocoşului” (The Cock’s Spur) – During the jump, the jumper
should kick the “capră”’s bottom with the side of his foot.
“Ce fac eu să facă toţi” (Everybody do what I do!) – All the players have
to do what the first player does (running, whistling, jumping, kneeling,
winking, shouting etc.) or else they will replace the “capră”.
“Statuile” (The Statues) – The players who jump over the “capră” have
to remain still when they touch ground and if somebody moves or
touches one of the “statues”, he / she will take the place of the “capră”.
“Soldaţii” (The Soldiers) – It’s quite similar to “Statuile”, but instead of
standing still, the players have to land face down, as if they were trying
to hide on the battle field.
ŢINTAR (NINE MEN’S MORRIS)
It’s a strategy board game played by two people. The board
consists of a grid with twenty-four intersections or points.
Each player has nine pieces, or "men", usually coloured black
and white. Players try to form 'mills' – three of their own men
lined horizontally or vertically – allowing a player to remove
an opponent's man from the game. A player wins by reducing
the opponent to two pieces (where he could no longer form
mills and thus be unable to win), or by leaving him without a
legal move. The game proceeds in three phases: 1) Placing men
on vacant points; 2) Moving men to adjacent points; 3)
(optional phase) Moving men to any vacant point when a
player has been reduced to three men.
It is widely regarded as a more complicated and demanding version of
leapfrog because it requires physical strength and several other skills,
which is why it’s usually played by boys, but girls also participate because
it’s extremely appealing to the eye.
You need a big number of players who split up in two teams. The
players in the first team stay one behind the other and give a back which
means that each of them bends over and rests his hand on the legs or
waist of the person in front. The first player rests his hands on somebody
who stands upright, leaning against a wall / tree and faces his team.
The players in the second team have to jump on those who stay
bended and stay still. If one of them falls, the first team wins but if all of
them succeed in jumping and hold on there, they are the winners. Also, if
the chain made of the players in the first team breaks, the game starts
again because it’s their fault. This is why the players in the first team
make an effort to resist in order not to experience the difficulty once
again, which is highly motivating.
This game teaches children that fulfilling your ambitions is never easy
and you have to work hard in order to achieve what you dream of.
ELASTIC (CHINESE JUMP ROPE)
It is also known as jumpsies or elastics and some say that it is a
combination of skipping rope and hopscotch.
The game is typically played by three or more players using a
string of rubber bands that has been tied into a circle, usually
at least six feet long. Two of the participants (the holders) face
each other several feet apart, and position the string around
their ankles so that it is taut. The third player (the jumper)
stands between the two sides of the rope and must accomplish
a series of increasingly difficult moves without making an error.
The position of the string is raised as the jumper moves
through the levels, from ankle to shoulder height and higher.
COARDA (SKIPPING ROPE)
A skipping rope (British English) or jump rope (American English) is a
tool used in the activity of skipping played by children and many young
adults, where one or more participants jump over a rope swung so that
it passes under their feet and over their heads. There are three main
variations of the activity. The most basic involves a single participant
turning and jumping the rope. Long rope involves a minimum of three
participants, two of whom turn the rope while one or more jump. The
most difficult version, often called Double Dutch, also involves three or
more participants, but uses two ropes turned in opposite directions.
Rhymes are often chanted during the activity.
In Romania we also play it like this: the girls split in two teams and each
of them turns the rope while the opponents jump one by one or
simultaneously. Also, at the beginning, the two teams agree on a span of
time available for the skips and the team that performs the most jumps
is the winner.
HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED THESE GAMES?
IF NOT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
IT’S HIGH TIME YOU PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN
AND STARTED PLAYING HEALTHILY!
SEBASTIAN GHENEA DINCĂ