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Traditional Children's Games: Circle Games

Circle games are traditional the world over. Read about one from Mexico and one from China.

School girls in Mexico playing a circle game

School girls in Mexico playing a circle game

Photos: Sandy Peters               
School girls in Mexico play a circle game after school.

Around the World (A Mexican game)

Mahelet Gomez from Mexico

When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be around the kids older than me. That's why I found this game so much fun, because both can play. The way we played this game is very simple. We made a big circle and held hands, always putting a small kid, then a big kid, then a small kid until the circle was closed.

We left a couple out of the circle and they had to choose another couple by separating their hands. As soon as that happened, both couples had to run fast around the circle in opposite directions. The goal was to win the the spot that the chosen couple left.


Caught You!

Cheng Limin from China

When I was a child, I loved to play a Chinese traditional game which was called Caught You! I clearly remember playing it every spring and fall if we had good weather. We usually looked forward to this exciting activity which was led by our teachers. At that time, we always kept asking our teachers when to play and where to play, and our teachers used to answer with a smile. They knew all of us were anxious to play the game.

In this game, you need a large group of people (about 20-30 people), a piece of cloth, and a small ball. Our teachers took us to a beautiful park with a large green lawn, then we sat down side by side in a large circle except for one person who was selected by our teachers and sat outside the circle of students.

To keep the game going well, one of the teachers was a leader and referee, who always gave orders to make the game fair, reasonable and fun. At the beginning of the game, we sat in the circle and one of us just sat a few feet away from the circle with his or her eyes blindfolded. That meant that he or she couldn't see who was holding the small ball. This was a key point.

As soon as everybody was ready, the teacher declared a start. At that moment, we began to pass the small ball one by one around the circle, and the one who sat alone could shout "Stop!" at any time he or she wished.

When we hear "Stop!", the student who had the ball in his or her hand had to stand up and sing a song or tell a story. From time to time, we laughed loudly because the players made some funny faces and noise. The person outside the circle was replaced every five minutes.

Now that I am grown up, I miss this game because it was a lot of fun. I laughed and had a good time when I played it.


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