Teacher Mama: 5 Great Games from Around the World

5 Great Games from Around the World

Boy Mama Teacher Mama | 5 Great Games from Around the World

I just finished up a week long camp where I taught children ages 3-12 games from around the world.  We plowed through what seems like hundreds of games, but there were a handful that stood out and were favorites of the children. As I was browsing for games to teach the children, I came across two outstanding resources which I have to share.  The first is the Ridgeway Primary/Global Games and the second is Passport to Games from Around the World. Both sites had a good variety of games with easy to follow instructions.  I used a variety of other resources as well from books to websites.

Here are our (campers included) favorite games from around the world.

Number 1: Hull I Hatten

From: Norway

Ages: 2nd Grade and Up

Equipment: 1 ball

Number of Players: no limit

Translation: Hull I Hatten means Hole in the Hat

How to Play:

  1. Players stand in a circle.  One player is chosen to be the “thinker”.
  2. The thinker stands in the center of the circle. He decides on a category (ie candy bars, sports) and in his mind he selects one thing in that category (ie Snickers or basketball). He then tells the group they have to guess what item in the group he has chosen.
  3. The thinker then throws the ball to one member of the circle who then guesses what the thinker is thinking.  If he is wrong, he throws the ball back to the thinker. If he is right, the thinker says, “Correct!” and the player keeps the ball.
  4. At this point when the other players hear the word, “Correct!” they should run away from the person with the ball as fast as they can.
  5. The player with the ball does not run instead he shouts “STOP!” and all players must stop and form a hoop with their arms.
  6. The player with the ball takes 3 steps toward the closest player and tries to get the ball in the “hole in the hat.”
  7. If the ball misses, the game begins again with the same thinker. If he gets the ball into the hat, he is the next thinker.

Suggestions for Play:  Keep the categories simple.  Keep the hoops (arms) big.

Other Links: Hull I Hatten from Ridgeway Primary

Boy Mama Teacher Mama | 5 Great Games from Around the World

Number 2: Luta de Galo

From: Brazil

Ages: 1st Grade and Up

Equipment: 1 handkerchief, bandana or piece of cloth for each player

Number of Players: Usually played with 2 kids, but more can play

Translation: Luta de Galo means “fight of the rooster” in Portuguese

How to Play: 

  1. Tuck the handkerchief/bandana/cloth into a pocket or waistband of each player. Enough of the cloth should be hanging out so it is visible to the other players and so it can be taken by another.
  2. Players should cross their right arm over across their chest (hence they cannot use it) and try to grab the other person’s cloth with their left hand while hopping on only one foot.
  3. The players then hop around trying to grab each other’s handkerchief.

Suggestions for Play: Play with more than 2 people and have those whose handkerchiefs are taken sit out. Use reusable toilet paper (available at the Dollar Store) instead of handkerchiefs or bandanas. Play on the grass- cement hurts when you fall. 🙁

 Other Links:  Video, Brazilian Kids Games to Play

Boy Mama Teacher Mama | 5 Great Games from Around the World

Number 3: Chinese Wall

From: England

Ages: 2nd Grade and Up

Equipment: 10 cones or chalk

Number of Players: at least 10

Translation: none

How to Play: 

  1. 1.  Arrange 10 cones in two rows to form 5 parallel lines about 12 yards apart.  There should be at least a yard between each line.  See image.
  2. Select 5 Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers are each assigned to one of the parallel lines. Gatekeepers can only move left and right.
  3. The rest of the group lines up at the designated start line. Their goal is to get to the other side of the play area without being tagged by a Gatekeeper.
  4. If a player is tagged by a Gatekeeper, he becomes a Gatekeeper as well and must join the “line” of the person who tagged him.
  5. Player that makes it across safely then turn around and try to cross again in the other direction.
  6. Game ends when there is only one runner left and all the other players have become Gatekeepers.

Screen shot 2013-07-13 at 10.16.32 AM

Suggestions for Play: We played in both small spaces and large spaces and found that the bigger the space, the better.

Other Links: Chinese Wall from Ridgeway Primary

Boy Mama Teacher Mama | 5 Great Games from Around the World

Number 4: Bandiera

From: Italy

Ages: 1st Grade and Up

Equipment: bandana, handkerchief, piece of cloth

Number of Players: as many as you like, but should be an odd number

Translation: flag

How to Play: 

  1. Choose one player to be the flagpole/flag holder. Have him stand at one end of the play area.
  2. Divide the rest of the players into two teams. Have them line up in two parallel lines facing the flag holder.
  3. Give each player on the first team a number. Repeat with the second team. The result should be each team has a one, a two, a three etc and each player with the same number should be standing across from each other in line.
  4. The flag holder stands with the flag in her out stretched hand.  She calls a number and those two players with that number run towards the flag holder. Both players try to be the first to grab the flag and return to their place in line before the other player tags her. The flag holder then says another number and the games continues until an agreed upon time.

Screen shot 2013-07-13 at 10.36.26 AM


Suggestions for Play:  I found that using cones to designate where players stand helped immensely.  (See image below)  With older students we kept score (1 point if you make it back to your cone safely or one point to the tagger if he tags the player) and with younger students we just played for about 15 minutes then ended.

Screen shot 2013-07-13 at 2.36.17 PM


Other Links: Bandiera from Ridgeway Primary

Boy Mama Teacher Mama | 5 Great Games from Around the World

Number 5: Odd One Out

From: Ireland

Ages: 1st Grade and Up

Equipment: cones

Number of Players: as many as you have cones

Translation: none

How to Play: 

  1. Arrange the cones in a LARGE circle.
  2. Have each player stand by one cone.
  3. Choose someone to be the Odd One Out or the person that stands in the middle.
  4. The Odd One Out calls, “1, 2, 3!” On “3” all players must leave his cone and run to another cones. The person left without a cone becomes the Odd One Out, goes to the middle of the circle and counts.
  5. The game continues until an agreed upon time.

Screen shot 2013-07-13 at 2.56.51 PM

Suggestions for Play: Throw a twist in the game and say such things as, “You cannot run to the cone next to you on either side.” or “Hop to another cone.” or “Run to a cone with someone who is wearing the same color as you.

Other Links: Odd One Out from Ridgeway Primary

Boy Mama Teacher Mama | 5 Great Games from Around the World

Runner Ups

Buzz Off from Ireland

Cat and Mouse from the UK

Sharks from Greece

Boy Mama Teacher Mama | 5 Great Games from Around the World

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9 thoughts on “Teacher Mama: 5 Great Games from Around the World

  1. Pingback: Norway | Use Resources Wisely

  2. Pingback: World Thinking Day for Leaders: Italy | Use Resources Wisely

  3. Pingback: World Thinking Day Ideas for Leaders: England (United Kingdom) | Use Resources Wisely

      • I teach world games in my PE classes…I would love new ideas if you have them…can’t seem to get on the Ridgeway Primary site…Mike Spiller Games of the World packets/website is an incredible resource I use too…

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