Games | Rhymes | Customs | Tongue Twisters | Modern Games | Participants | Home
Adults & Games
Each of you was a child once... 
Fiecare din voi a fost copil odatã... 
The Sun shines... 
The games I remember most strongly... 
Games for Children... 
For all their tomorrows... 
L'invitation au jeu  
Games are a form of human communication 
¿Qué representa el juego para el niño?  
The Project links us...
Every game told something... 
I enjoyed this project 
Children are children all over the world 
An excellent idea 
Children folk games are international 
Multicultural Day 
Life is a Game! 
Playing soccer in Central Park 
Let's pretend to be children one moment! 
Symbol of victory
Each of you was a child once…  

"Children's Folk Games" Project has taken place for seven months on The Conference "iearn.kidscan" In this time The Internet Network became a huge playground for the children from more then 56 I*EARN schools from 34 countries. 
The game is a way to communicate and the cultural exchanges made us closer one from another. 
Why this project? Because the game itself is the expression of peace agreement and sympathy among people. It is also well known that the game anticipates children's adaptation for their adult life. We had the opportunity to find out that the kids from Argentina, China, Russia, Latvia or Africa also play "Hopscotch" or "Hide and Seek". As well we learnt new games which are played by the children from other countries. 

We understood better the rules of the new games, and also their far origin, exchanging drawings, pictures, video or audio tape. 
We will announce soon the web site address of the project. This could be the first multicultural anthology of the children's folk games. Almost all the world languages are to be found here: English, Romanian, Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian, Greek and others. 
"The child laughs: The game is my love and wisdom!" said once a famous Romanian writer, Lucian Blaga. 

Fiecare din voi a fost copil odatã… 

Proiectul "Folclorul copiilor" s-a derulat timp de sapte luni pe Conferinta iearn.kidscan. În acest timp reteaua Internet a devenit un urias loc de joacã pentru copiii din peste 45 de scoli I*earn din 24 de tãri. 
Jocul este o modalitate de a comunica, iar schimburile culturale ne-au apropiat foarte mult. 
De ce acest proiect? Pentru cã jocul este expresia pãcii, a bunei întelegeri între oameni. De asemenea, se stie cã jocul anticipeazã adaptarea copiilor pentru viata lor ulterioarã, ca adulti. Am avut ocazia sã aflãm cã si copiii din China, Argentina, Rusia, Letonia sau Africa joacã "Sotron" sau "De-a v-ati ascunselea". Am învãtat de asemenea noi jocuri ale copiilor din alte tãri. 
Schimbând desene, fotografii, benzi audio sau video, am înteles mai bine originea lor îndepãrtatã. 
Curând vom anunta adresa de web a proiectului nostru si credem ca acesta este prima antologie multiculturalã a folclorului copiilor de pretutindeni. Aici si-au gãsit loc multe din limbile pãmântului: românã, englezã, spaniolã, rusã, chinezã, greacã si altele. 
"Copilul râde: Dragostea si întelepciunea mea e jocul!" a spus cândva Lucian Blaga. 

Oana Daniela Sãcãlus 
School 10 Focsani, Romania 

The Sun shines… The Earth spins round… Fish swim… Birds fly… Children play… 
This project has been a challenge made to childhood and the latter has won. Children have always played and will continue to play as long as the human being exists. The play belongs to a world of innocence, it doesn't know what borders and discriminations of any kinds are and this wonderful project has managed to successfully prove it. 
Thank you Petru, thank you friends from all over the world who have made me feel a child again while working in this project. 

Soarele strãluceste… Pãmântul se-vârte… Pestii înoatã… Pãsãrile zboarã… Copiii se joacã… 
A fost acest proiect o provocare fãcutã copilãriei si aceasta a iesit învingãtoare. Copiii s-au jucat dintotdeauna, se joacã si se vor juca atâta timp cât omul va exista pe pãmânt. Jocul apartine unei lumi a inocentei, el nu cunoaste granite si discriminãri de nici un fel si acest proiect minunat a reusit sã demonstreze acest lucru din plin. 
Multumesc Petru, multumesc prieteni din întreaga lume care m-ati fãcut sã mã simt din nou copil, lucrând la acest proiect. 

Cornelia Platon, Romania

The games I remember most strongly from my childhood were not commercial games with printed rules but rather those that we learned from our parents and other children. I remember the games my mother taught me, such as how to jump rope with two ropes the way she did when she was a child. With two ropes you have to jump doubly fast, what she called "double dutch."  Many times we would ask her to take time from her work to turn the rope for us because we knew that when she began to reminisce about the games she knew, she would soon be telling us wonderful stories from her childhood. 

I also remember telling our parents we were leaving for school early, but instead my brothers and sister and I would stop at the end of the drive and play games with the neighbors before school. During those games we enjoyed a brief magic. For the moment, it didn't matter who lived in a big house or small one, who had many toys at home or just a few, whose parents were on one end of the political spectrum or the other, and who did well in school or who did not. We all ran and laughed and called out to one another as we played such games as "tag" or "kick the can" -- games that needed no fancy equipment, at most an old tin can or rope, or a song. 

I was delighted when I heard about the international children's games project. Collecting games whose rules are typically transmitted by "word of mouth" provides an excellent vehicle for students to share cultural and linguistic knowledge: 

* Games are universal. 

* The families of students are involved, encouraging oral histories. 

* Comparing games provides a vehicle for cultural sharing and encourages discussion about the cultural knowledge embodied in games. 

* Students learn investigative skills. When a child brings in a new game, it extends the growing collection of data. When a child brings in a game that has been described by others, either locally or in other parts of the world, fascinating patterns can be discovered in the data. 

* Students improve their writing skills. To explain to others the rules for a game that the reader may never have seen before, requires very detailed and explicit writing. 

* Examining the rules of games, how they are established and what happens when they are broken, can lead to discussions about what children know of conflict resolution. 

* Collecting games is a provocative yet a discrete task -- it's rich but has a concrete product as an outcome. 

Telecommunications makes it possible for students from diverse regions to collaborate on a wide-ranging investigation of games. 
I know that the games collection you are creating will become a valuable classroom resource which teachers can use to encourage cross-age cooperation on school playgrounds and to stimulate alternatives to watching TV after-school. I can also see, in watching the lively exchange of children's games that has begun, that this project is going to be fun and engaging! 

Kristin Brown, USA

Games for Children is like Work for adults. With this I mean that I cannot imagine an adult who doesn't work, or a child who doesn't play. I think playing games is the way for children to learn, to explore, to know, to imagine, to share, to create, everything they do has to do with games, for them, even the most serious things have a game-like side, and I think that's because games is something serious to them. 
I have some flashes of my childhood, and I can see myself playing "tilin tilin campana", "marbles", "la vieja", "la farolera" among others. I remember very little of my childhood which is not related to games, so I must have spent lots of time playing in my early years. 
I sometimes tell my children "oh, you only think of playing games", and then I reflect "thanks God"! they are children, what else do I expect? 
Rosy Aguila, Argentina

Rosy Aquila wrote:  "Games for Children is like Work for adults. With this I mean that I cannot imagine an adult who doesn't work, or a child who doesn't play. I think playing games is the way for children to learn, to explore, to know, to imagine, to share, to create, everything they do has to do with games, for them, even the most serious things have a game-like side, and I think that's because games is something serious to them." 
The Children's Folk Games Project has helped children share their games across all boundaries of borders, languages, and oceans.  For all their tomorrows, the children will feel a little closer because they have shared their favorite games this year. 
Petru Dumitru deserves a big thank you, and a big hug, for all the work he has done creating the Children's Folk Games Project for children and teachers all over the world.  I will not forget this year!  Thank you very, much! 
Christine Rademan, USA

L'invitation au jeu 

On peut définir le jeu comme une activité libre et volontaire, source de gaieté et de divertissement. Puisqu'on joue si l'on veut, autant que l'on veut dans un espace déterminé, mais librement choisi, le jeu donne un sentiment de liberté et de plaisir: on quitte son identité pour revêtir une autre. 
L'enfant ressent le jeu, comme une institution aux lois bien établies. Dans le jeu, l'enfant cherche la difficulté, la consigne étant pour lui une règle adorée qui le rend plus équilibre. C'est un prix payé par celui qui veut entrer en jeu, de se soumettre à des conventions arbitraires, de faire ce que la règle lui demande. 
L'activité ludique est une épreuve de volonté et d'affirmation sociale parce qu'elle comporte un plan, un projet, un but représentant la garantie d'une réussite. 
Paradoxalement l'invitation au jeu est une invitation à la prise de risque, mais comme le cadre du jeu est conventionnel,il est en même temps sécurisant. 
Elan de se dépasser, désir de grandeur, le jeu est également un rêve, une expression de tendances cachées d'une âme aspirant à la découverte des secrets de l'univers. 
Serment, fait d'abord à soi-même, puis aux autres, la consigne du jeu doit être remplie avec du serieux et cet effort accompli, afin d'y arriver, nait des êtres volontaires et autonomes. C'est une invitation à la volonté "le vestibule Naturel du travail". 
L'expérience ludique, par cet entrainement à l' obéissance consentie, à la franchise des obstacles, par l'accomplissement d'une tâche bien établie, représente aussi un noyau d'apprentissage social. 

Mihaela Postelnicu, Romania

Games have always been and are a form of human communication. Children play with each other easily, often they don't need any words. They can express their feelings and ideas non-verbally. I have observed children of various nationalities play contentedly together. Later on, my own children would tell me what a Japanese boy or a Spanish girl "said", though they don't know the languages. The other children did not know any Russian or English. This is a skill which we lose as we become adults, which is a pity. If we could agree on some behaviour rules as easily as children often do, even without such communication skills as we possess, then probably this world would have been a safer and a better place to live in. 

It was a privilege to take part in the Project. My students enjoyed describing their favourite games and making illustrations, they also enjoyed learning about other peoples games. I think that all the participants of the Project owe a lot to Petru Dumitru, who is a skillful coordinator and a good friend to all of us teachers. 

Nina M. Koptyug, Russia


Què és el joc per a l'infant?  
És el seu medi natural.  És com l'aigua per al peix o com l'aire per a l'ocell. 
És senyal de salut: el primer símptoma que un nen està malalt és que no juga. 
És el mitjà on desenvolupa totes les altres activitats.  Tot és joc per a l'infant. 
La major part de les coses que aprèn un infant, les aprèn jugant.  Jo diria que no hi ha "jocs educatius": gairebé tots ho són. 
Amb jocs aconseguim que els nens i les nenes aprenguin allò que seria difícil d'aprendre per altres mitjans. 
Amb jocs aconseguim que els nens i les nenes mengin allò que els convé però no els agrada. 
Amb jocs aconseguim que els nens i les nenes aprenguin a tenir actituds positives davant la vida: solidaritat, acceptació de la derrota, compartir... 
Cal que creem per als infants el millor entorn per a totes les seves activitats:  un entorn lúdic. 


¿Qué representa el juego para el niño?  

Es su medio natural.  Es como el agua para el pez o como el aire para el pájaro. 
Es síntoma de salud: sabemos que un niño está enfermo cuando vemos que no juega. 
Es el medio en el que se desarrollan todas las demás actividades.  Todo es juego para el niño. 
La mayor parte de las cosas que los niños aprenden, las aprenden jugando.  Yo diría que no existen los "juegos educativos".   La mayor parte de los juegos son educativos. 
Con juegos conseguimos que los niños y niñas aprendan aquello que sería difícil aprender por otros medios. 
Con juegos conseguimos que nos niños y las niñas coman lo que les conviene pero no les gusta. 
Con juegos conseguimos que los niños y las niñas aprendan a tener actitudes positivas delante de la vida: solidaridad, aceptación de la derrota, compartir... 

    Es necesrio que creemos el mejor entorno para todas las actividades del niño: un entorno lúdico. 
    Rafael Badia i Berga, Spain

I feel the "Folk Games" project has been one of the most exciting projects that I have experienced as it links us in such a fun and rewarding way! Thanks for all of your coordinating efforts. 
Melanie Pores, USA 

I liked the project very much. Really. It was so nice to read games from other countries. Every game told something... Some games were very alike Latvian games. Almost every game told something about the country it came from. It was a very good idea to organize such a project.Maybe there could be another project like this? It could be about riddles, puzzles. About the organization: I think everything was good with the exception of one thing. Our e-mails could be done through a list. It would take a less place. 

Martins Eglitis, Latvia 
This project was interesting because we could show some interesting games to our youngest pupils. The children liked them and we were happy because we could show them unknown and different games. I enjoyed this project.  
Gatis Svirskis, Latvia

Thank you for reminding us that children are children all over the world and that they laugh at the very same silly things.  Thank you for your project. 
Patti McLain, USA 
It has been very interesting to read the listings of games and appreciate the similarity of activities shared by children around the world. There was a good bit of work that went into fine-tuning the directions so they could clearly be understood. This project was an excellent idea
Sue McKenna, USA 
While preparing for Game Day in our school, we came to an interesting conclusion: more or less all the games we got from you were familiar for our children. It means the children folk games are international and our children here in Latvia play almost the same games which are also popular somewhere even in America. This conclusion was unexpected but at the same time very pleasant. It made us realize that the world is not so big at all. 
Ruta Aukspole, Latvia 
Our students are playing your games in the classrooms, on the playground, and in the Physical Education class. We will be featuring their favorites on Multicultural Day
Rowena Gerber, USA

Life is a Game!  
We've been training for it from the birth - learning to obey rules, to enjoy it and (from time to time) to remember it's just a Game (that is: not to take it extremely seriously). 

The Game is the big step in evolution. Homo Faber (interested only in gathering food and protecting his family) becomes Homo Sapiens when he starts playing. 

At every level, from individual to society, the whole world would get crazy if it failed to recognize the Game behind the daily events. 

There are light Games for Inner Grow and somber ones for Death. Forget the former and play the latter. It's never out of fashion. And now, more than ever. You can play it one-to-one with a simple knife (or a cute fancy new brand bomb) or you can play it big at nation level. 

Need a name for it? Just remember that "Big Fish Swallows Little One" and call it by its name: "Divide et Impera!". (We have great ancestors who taught us some Game) 

Need a playboard? We played it already in America (starting with the great Pissaro and Cortez), in Africa and Asia (with quite anonymous but good gamblers too). 
What do you think of Europe for the time being? It's more exciting! 
They used to call it "Cradle of Civilization" but let call it now "Cradle of War". 

Rules? Who need them? 
OK! Rules! Choose a region at random (the richer the better). Prepare some new History for it. Forget the old one! The Game would be boring or (even worse) it wouldn't be any Game at all. (Pretty sad, isn't it?). 

And most important - make some scenarios. 
Meantime, observe carefully the spot. Notice some little war-lovers around?  They're your men! Not any? Make some! Plant here and there some trouble-makers and (most important, even if this Game it's a kind of "Solitaire") 
Mass Media is yours! Play with it as you like. 
(Just for fun, you can make a man see an enemy in his own mother.) 

Can you feel the power? Put some imagination inside and give it a try! 

And now - it's your turn! 
You play the Rescuer. The Savior, the long-waited Messiah. 
Now it's your Time. And this is your World. Take over It, Big Brain! 
Don't bother about little Pinkies dead all around. 
They are mere 'casualties of ...Game' 

Play It Big, Human Fellow! 

(Until you'll play it alone) 

Zina Costiner, USA

Playing soccer in Central Park  

- Can I play?  Need somebody on your team?  The questions had shot out by themselves.  The kids, a typical New York mixed bunch of different races looked at me askance. I was taking a walk by myself on a perfect Sunday in Central Park and soccer was the "in" game.  The World Cup was just over and a whole crowd of would-be soccer players, all future champions, were enacting the games they had just seen on TV.  Live replays with variations on the theme. 

Although they were in doubt on what to answer and their looks were quite sympathetic, I could clearly read my age in their embarrassed. Grown-ups shouldn't ask certain questions!  But ... yet... 

As their eyes were struggling to see the kid ensconced in my forty-seven year old body, time dilated and a whole universe of flashbacks inundated my mind...  I was again playing in my native Romania, building kites, carefully walking on the narrow decorative stone girdle all around the old church, carving wood, playing endless Scrabble games in my new country, making up "shouting-games" with my class to help my shy students talk ... rivers of memories were cascading in my inner self. 

This mixed with other, darker feelings ... the sternness on my father's face, always grimly thinking of his job, his mistress at work, how to make more money, always tense. Still, the child in him was healthy and had never felt the need to kick another kid's sand castle; this child defended us and defended him and the three of us often played, my father, my brother and myself and often our games were full of sunshine and we were learning. 

Then, strangely, my elementary school teacher came ... together with my most recent and probably deepest love, playing with Buckminster's Fuller tensegrity structures, fascinated by the plain sticks and rubber bands capable of infinite combinations of independent gravity-free structures, a metaphor of the geometry of life itself. I'm sure their young curious minds would appreciate that... 

Then I heard a shy voice: OK, you're on the team. 

Laurentiu Costache, USA

Let's pretend to be children one moment!  

Music, poetry and game follow childhood, the earliest age of the man. Children's games, that is to say recreational activities mainly enjoyed by children, are orally transmitted from child to child, often accompanied by traditional formulas or counting out rhymes. They vary from culture to culture. Children express their joy to play and they simulate the social life typical to adults as they wish to imitate them. 

It is difficult to classify the games because of their great number and variety. Children enjoy both active and passive games. Some games are played according to formal rules or prescribed equipment, others are spontaneously played. Games of skill and chance, outdoors and indoor games, word and guessing games are also known. 

The games offer to children the opportunity of cooperation and action. Psychologists believe that the basis of children's play is an imitation of adult life, and at the same time a learning process that means to adapt and copy life' situations. Children's games are spread and perpetuated by imitation, many of them such as "Hopscotch" or "Marbles" have long histories. 

The children's folklore maintains elements, even since mankind's childhood. It preceded the appearance of spoken languages and musical language. It is said that thanks to this kind of folklore, the scientists could look in the far off past of mankind where there rest the roots of art. Such games and rituals mainly interest folklorists. For example one and the same game, namely "Hide and seek" is played all around the world, Africa, Australia, America, Asia and Europe. Games come out and in of fashion, and new games appear. Nowadays, electronic games are preferred both by children and adults. Other games are seasonal or local and on the other hand "Monopoly" and "Scrabble" can be played throughout the year. 

The game as a main activity of a child is the most important stage for his development, but also a link between past, present and future. 

Petru Dumitru, Romania
Project coordinator

The game is a symbol of victory in a fight with yourself, with your own fear, weakness, or doubts. It is a whole universe, where everyone has to find his place, with a chance or a risk. 
The game associates the notions of the Whole of Rules and of Liberty in a frame settled like in real life. So, the games are real methods of the real, personal and social life. They enable the passing from Nature to Culture. 
At the outset, games are connected to the idea of Spirit. In the antiquity period, every fortress organized her own games on the occasion of Holly Days. In that time, the game was a social rite that expressed the unity of the human group. 
Later, the public games were a way of strengthening of the national spirit and of the national feeling. They were also a way to educate the members of the same ethnical family. 
During the public games, the wars were stopped, a generalized armistice being declared. Lots of games and toys were endowed with different symbols. For example, football is based on the dispute of the solar globe for two rival fortresses. Sometimes the triumph of one of the teams ensured a blessing, the rain coming or chasing lightning. 
The psychologists consider the game a psychic energy transfer between two players or among living creatures and things. 
The game stimulates the imagination and emotion that is why they say this becomes a magical action that encourages Life. 
To play means to create a bridge between reality and fantasy. Children's games are in their depth a copy of great public games. They are the soul of human relationships and at the same time efficient elements of education. The game remains a dominating activity for a non-purposeful personal development. Game prepares instinctively and unconsciously the next serious actions. 
The child reflects in his game his inner connections with the world, people and events coming from outside. 

Jocul este un simbol al victoriei într-o luptã cu sine, cu propria fricã, slãbiciune sau îndoialã. El este un întreg univers, în care fiecare trebuie sã-si afle locul, cu sanse sau riscuri. 
Jocul asociazã notiunile de totalitate, de regulã si de libertate, aidoma vietii reale, într-un cadru dinainte stabilit. 
Jocurile sunt adevãrate modele de viatã realã, personalã si socialã. Ele permit trecerea de la starea de naturã la starea de culturã. 
La origine, jocurile se leagã de sacru. Fiecare cetate îsi organizeazã propriile jocuri cu prilejul sãrbãtorilor. Jocul era deci în vremea aceea un rit social ce exprimã unitatea grupului uman. Mai târziu, jocurile publice erau o cale de civilizare a simtului cetãtenesc si a sentimentului national. Întretinând ideea de educare a trupului ele erau în acelasi timp un prilej de recunoastere a membrilor aceleiasi familii etnice. Pe durata jocurilor publice se declara armistitiu generalizat: se întrerupeau rãzboaiele. Germanii utilizau jocurile ca mijloace divinatorii, înaintea bãtãliilor, cerând sfat zeilor. 
Multe jocuri si jucãrii erau încãrcate de simboluri: de exemplu, fotbalul are la bazã disputarea globului soarelui de cãtre 2 cetãti rivale. Jocurile mai au si o valoare incantatorie. Prin triumful uneia din tabere se asigura, de exemplu o binefacere, venirea ploii, alungarea fulgerelor etc. 
Psihologii vãd în joc o formã de energie psihicã, între doi jucãtori sau între fiinte si obiecte neînsufletite. Jocul stimuleazã imaginatia si emotivitatea , de aceea se spune cã acesta devine o actiune magicã ce trezeste viata. A te juca înseamnã a crea o punte între realitate si fantezie. De aceea jocurile copiilor sunt în profunzime replici ale marilor jocuri publice, sufletul relatiilor umane si factori eficienti de educare. 
Gross afirma: "Jocul este un act de dezvoltare personalã neintentionatã. Joaca este o pregãtire instinctivã si inconstientã a viitoarelor actiuni serioase. În joc se reflectã legãturile copilului cu lumea sa interioarã, dar si cu persoanele si evenimentele din lumea exterioarã. 

Petru Dumitru, Romania
Project coordinator 
   Games | Rhymes | Customs | Tongue Twisters | Modern Games | Participants | TopHome