Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Keeping Traditional Games Alive for Fun and Education

photo by Eneas
Games are such a super way to introduce and reinforce concepts with children. Games provide a hands-on opportunity which increases the "fun" factor exponentially. Unfortunately, in today's electronic gizmo society, many of the childhood games that our generation (and our parents', grandparents', etc.) knew are slowly being lost. It is such a shame really, given that many of these games were teaching us to use our imaginations and ingenuity in a way that many modern, materialistic toys can't.

Where have the marbles gone? The bottle caps? What about hopscotch and jump rope games?

How many of us with children today are secretly suffering from the Too Many Toys Syndrome? Sadly, I have to raise my own hand. I can't even tell you how 3/4 of the toys in my house got here. I know I certainly didn't buy them. Or did I? In my semi-annual house purge (which, incidentally, coincides with my spring and fall clothing swap) I am sometimes horrified by the number of kid's meal toys that have migrated into my home. (Oy. THAT's another subject soon to be discussed: nutrition.)

The point of this is that many of the games and toys that you and I may have enjoyed as children are quickly disappearing, like the baleros pictured above. Traditional Hispanic games, especially, seem to be disappearing.

I just finished reading (again!) this article by Guadalupe G. Castillo on this subject. It is a fascinating read and I encourage all of you to head over there to read about games like bebe leche, El Chicote, lotería, and escondidas.

And for those of you looking to introduce a few Latino games to your children, take a look at these:
Toma Todo (Mexico) 
Circle Game (Puerto Rico)
A whole list of games from Spain

Con mucho cariño...


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