Traditional Children's Games: Tag and Chase Games
games of chase and tag, the object is to tag, or
touch, other players who are then out of the game.
Usually one player is 'it' and has to chase and tag
the other players, one of whom then becomes the new
person who is 'it' .
can't catch me!" Children enjoying a game
of chase in New England.
other versions, players must be tagged by a ball,
sometimes thrown at the player. Here are some tag
games from Brazil, Japan, Saudi
Arabia, Germany, Korea, Colombia, Turkey, and Taiwan.
(A Brazilian Game of Tag)
Yoshikawa from Brazil
by Vivien Yoshikawa
I was around eight years old, I would call
all my friends, and we would spend all
afternoon long playing this game.
my childhood, I liked to play a games called Quemada because in this game you are always
moving. This game is famous in my country. You can
play it from your childhood until your adult life,
and it doesn't have an age limit or a limit of
to play Queimada
To play this game, you form two teams. Each team
has a field and there is a place called the
cemetery. One person from each team starts in the
cemetery, so he's dead. The rest of the team starts
in the field.
person who is at the cemetery always starts the
game by throwing a ball to the opposite side where
his partners are. The "living people" from this
team have to catch the ball and throw it against
the other team. If someone from the opposite team
touches the ball, he is burnt, so he is dead. The
"dead ones" go to the cemetery, and the game
finishes when every "living person" from one team
played this game a lot when I was around eight
years old. I would call all my friends, and we
would spend all afternoon long playing!
Fell Down (A Japanese Game of Tag)
Kubo from Japan
Daruma Fell Down is well-known as a nice game for
Japanese children. It is a very simple game;
however, everyone gets excited playing it. Children
can play it outside when there are five or six
friends. Of course, I always played this game with
my friends when I was a child.
to play the game
First, the person who is 'it' (the tagger) yells to
other children, "Mr. Daruma fell down!" When the
tagger yells, the other children run as far away as
possible. Then he turns his back to them. Next he
calls out again, "Mr. Daruma fell down!" After
that, he turns around and looks for the other
children because he has to catch them.
a child moves and is caught, he has to go to jail.
The other children have to get close to the tagger
and hit his back; however, they cannot move when
the tagger looks at them.
they have to run as fast as possible while the
tagger's back is turned and he is yelling, "Mr.
Daruma fell down!" Whenever a child hits the
tagger's back, other children can escape from the
the tagger catches all but one child, the game is
almost over. In that part, the tagger is given many
chances to catch the child because he can yell
the tagger has tagged everyone, a new game starts.
Then, a new tagger is selected by a finger-flashing
game. My friends and I used to play this game
because it was exciting and we had a lot of time to
Qurawi from Saudi Arabia
I was a child, I played a game like hide and seek
with my friends. We loved that game and played it
almost every day. It is called The Hunter.
is a traditional game which was played a long time
ago, so my father, my grandfather, and a lot of my
relatives played it. I don't know how long it has
been played, but around 50 years at
to Play the Game
Here is how we played it. This game was played
with five to ten children. First, we chose one
player to be the hunter (to be it).
the hunter counted from one to ten with his or her
eyes closed, so that everyone could quickly run and
hide somewhere. Then he or she started searching
for the other children.
If the hunter found someone from the group, the
member would try to escape and the hunter started
chasing him or her. Then, the hunter had to catch
him or her. The hunter had to find all the members
in the group and tag them.
the hunter couldn't catch all of the members, he or
she had to say, "Clear, and start over; but if the
hunter caught all of them, he or she joined the
other children and the first one who was caught
became the new hunter.
I enjoyed this game because it was exciting and
fun; we got to run and jump. Playing it, my friends
and I were able to see each other a lot and have a
good time together.
Anonymous from Germany
When I was a child, I loved to play a game called Sardines. Here's how to play it. As many children as are available are welcome to play the game. The person who is it has to hide; then the other children have to seek the person who is it.
Whenever a child finds the person who is it, he or she has to hide with the person who is it. Soon, only one person is left to seek the person who is it and all the other children. As soon as the last child, who is the loser, finds the it group, the game is over.
Sam Pal Sun
Ji (Jenny) from Korea
Pal Sun means the line between South Korea and
North Korea. We usually play this game in a parking
area. There are five people on each team, and one
team is the defense team and blocks the other team
to prevent them from going to the area which is
marked with a flag. Cooperation among team members
is the key to winning.
this game, we can learn how to move fast and wisely
and how to follow rules because we can't change the
rules in any case.
you are the defending team, each one on your team
has responsibility for your own line and own
section. If you can't block the other team members
by tagging them, your team will lose the
is a good game, not only because it is fun, but
also because it gives us a lot of opportunity to
learn cooperation and responsibility!
Gallinita Ciega (The Blind Hen)
Martinez from Mexico
ciega, ¿qué has perdido? Una aguja y
blind hen, what did you lose? A needle and a
I was a child, I played this game with my
neighbors. It is a traditional game in Mexico, but
it is disappearing. To
play this game, you need a handkerchief or a cloth
and more than three people to play. The game starts
when you choose somebody to be the hen. Then
you put the handkerchief over the hen's eyes
and turn the now blind hen for a few
that, everybody runs and the blind hen has
to catch somebody and gues who that person is and
say what his or her name is. If the blind hen is right, that person becomes the new blind
hen. If not, the hen is blindfolded
again and the game continues.
Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, and Spain, this game is
called La Gallinita Ciega. Variations of
the game in other countries have different
names. In Germany, it is called The Blind
Cow. It is similar to the game of Blind
Man's Bluff, which is played in England and in the United States. In this
version the blindfolded player is the blind
Travecedo from Colombia
Stop is a popular game in my country. It is very easy to
play, and it's lots of fun. The game is better if
it is played with many children. To play Stop, you only need a ball. To start the
game, one child who is selected by the toss of a
coin, takes the ball. The rest of the children
stand around that child, who has to throw the ball
up and say one of the children's names. The rest of
the children have to run away as far as
has to say, "Stop!"
The child who is named has to get back to catch
the ball. If the named child catches the ball in
the air, he can immediately say another name and
run away. If he doesn't catch the ball in the air,
as soon as he catches the ball, he has to say, "Stop!" Then all the other children have to
stop running. The one who said stop looks to see
which child is near him and walks 3 long steps, and
tries to hit that child with the ball by throwing
it at him.
the child who is trying to hit the other child
doesn't hit him, he has to start the game again by
throwing the ball up and saying another name.
However, if he hits the other child with the ball,
that child has to start the game.
remember that I played this game when I was between
9 and 14 years old. I really enjoyed playing it
with my friends. It was a lot of fun, and we played
it frequently. Nowadays, however, children this age
don't play this kind of game;maybe it is still
played by 7- and 10-year olds.
Goksel from Turkey
Turkish name for this game is Korebe It was
a very popular game among 4- to 8-year old
children. The game is played by about 5 to 10
children. At the beginning of the game, one person
is chosen to be 'it' , and then the eyes of that
kid are covered with a kind of blindfold. When the
game starts, the person who is 'it' the
blindfolded persontries to catch the other
kids. If someone is caught, that child becomes the
new 'it' , and the game starts over. Every child in
Turkey knows this game!
Chang from Taiwan
is a traditional children's game in my country.
Children playing the game pretend they are an
eagle, a hen, and some chicks. All the chicks stand
behind the hen in a row, and the hen tries her best
to protect her babies. When the game starts, the
eagle tries to catch the chicks. If a chick is
caught by the eagle, then the eagle wins the game,
and the chick who is caught is the eagle in the
next game. This game is very popular with the
children in my country. It is suitable for playing
in a group. I liked this game very much when I was
is a traditional children's game in Taiwan. It is
so popular that almost every child plays it. The
rules are very simple. First, we choose a person to
be a commander, who turns his back to everyone . As
he counts one, two, three,
everyone moves closer to him. After he finishes
counting, he turns and looks at everyone. Nobody is
allowed to move at that time. If somebody moves,
the commander can point to that person and he is
out. If someone is able to reach and touch the
commander, he wins the game.
Shen from Taiwan
my country, a game called Five Session
Passing is played. Children draw lines on the
ground forming 5 squares. The children are divided
into two teams. Members of team one should stand on
the lines which are drawn, and members of team two
should stand inside the square. Those who are
standing on the lines should try to touch those who
are standing inside. If someone who is standing
inside is touched by someone who is standing
outside, he is out. When the time is up, the team
which has more members left wins.
Cruz from Mexico
I was a child, I played games outside of my house
with my friends. I liked to play a game called Sun and Ice because in this game you are
play this traditional game, you form two teams.
There is no age limit or limit of number of
players. The players on one team run after you.
When one touches you and says freeze, you
can't move. You stand still until one of the
players on your team comes and touches you and says sun. Then you are free to run
Chen from Taiwan
Taiwan, there is a children's game called Hand
Knife which is played by boys. The rules are as
follow. The players divide into two groups. Each
group selects a base like a wall or a tree. When
the game starts, everyone uses his/her hand like a
knife to touch the head or the leg of the members
of the other group. If someone is touched, he/she
the people who are out can be saved. When the
connection of the hands is cut by any other member
who is not out, all the members who are behind the
"cut point" are saved.
first person of each group has to touch the base of
the enemy, and other members who are out have to
hold the hand of the the first person in the line
of people who are out. When all the members of
either group are out, the other group wins.
More traditional children's
Gallery and view international students demonstrating
traditional games they played as
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