J Simens.com

World-wide childhood games teach valuable skills


Picture 4
Duck Duck Goose

When I first tried to play this game with 18 five-years old in Singapore (English was not our language of instruction)…I heard ruck, ruck, roose…. I heard must, must worse and I just closed my ears and played on!  One child decided that the only way he could play the game was to give each person a different animal name. (We never understand what was going on because he just kept running around the circle.) Then “Yu” got a turn and we were all Ducks…not a goose in sight.

What I was trying to create was an environment where all kids laughed, felt a part of the situation and had some control over what happened.

Picture 5
amazing how some kids can ‘lie’ so easily

When we were playing Red Light, Green light in Nigeria with my group of eight year old…it became quite easy to see who had already mastered the art of lying and who was still ‘green’ with the concept.  We did discussion after discussion the importance of being truthful and what that message sent to our peers.  I know the kids thought we were playing but I knew we were using ‘play’ as a tool to understand that reaching our end goal has to happen with truth and honesty not at ‘any possible way and at the cost towards other players”.

Picture 6
Cries with younger kids – bodily harm with older kids

Imagine my surprise when a group of adults decided on their own to play this childhood game. It was a rather boring adult birthday party (not mine or Kevin’s) but I would never re-introduce a game that causes so many tears when these same adults were kids.  Of course, I knew none of the adults at the party when they were actually kids but I can picture how they responded when they were standing there alone in the middle of a room where everyone has a seat — but them.  Do expat adults really need to feel that same sort of isolation and not belonging in a group?

I have a birthday coming up and I can guarantee you that we will not be playing musical chairs!

When your children play these games take time to help them understand why the rules are so important and how it feels to be in the other persons place.

Anyone want to play Dodge Ball?

I’d love to hear about  your favorite childhood games.

Related bog found here.

Photos from http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1OOsCd/www.collegehumor.com/article/6588361/what-childhood-games-really-taught-you/page:2
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