23 junio, 2024

21 Traditional Games of Ecuador for Children and Adolescents

The traditional games of Ecuador they survive despite the introduction of technology in the form of mobile phones or video games, more typical of other countries. Although less and less, hopscotch, jumping rope or burnt bread are still part of the Ecuadorian streets.

Traditional games are those that do not require the use of specialized instruments but elements that can be found in nature or that can be made by hand.

This is why traditional games show the creativity of communities, since hobbies can be invented from common elements, such as wooden wands, stones, ropes, among others.

In Ecuador, a Latin American country, there is a series of these games. Some are unique to this nation, while others are common to the American South.

List of traditional games of Ecuador

1- Marbles

Marbles are small balls of glass, or other crystalline material, used in a game of the same name. There are several ways to play marbles.

In one, it is played within an area called «lightning»; In this case, the first participant in the game throws his marble inside the allowed area (the beam), the next participant will try to hit the previous player’s marble, so that it leaves the delimited area.

In case the first player’s marble comes out of the beam, the second player will have won a marble. The game continues until one of the participants has run out of marbles.

In another modality, a line is marked and the participants stand at a great distance from it.

Each participant will take turns to throw the marble and the one that gets closest to the line, or manages to cross it, will be the winner and will be able to keep the rest of the marbles.

2- Hopscotch

Hopscotch is a traditional game from Latin America that requires a stone and a drawing on the floor. The drawing on the floor follows, more or less, the following format:

The game consists of the participants advancing to the last square without stepping outside the hopscotch.

At first glance, the game seems simple, however, it presents certain difficulties, among which stand out that only one foot can step on a square, so the players must go hopping on one foot (except in double squares, in which that can be stepped on with both feet).

The other difficulty is that before starting to jump, the player must throw a stone in one of the squares; the participant will not be able to step on the square with the stone, but he must pick it up before continuing his journey towards the final square, since this is the only way for him to win the game.

If the stone that the participant throws does not fall within the hopscotch, he will be disqualified. If the participant steps outside the hopscotch, he will have lost. If the participant loses his balance when picking up the stone, he too will be disqualified.

3- Kites

Kites are traditional toys made from wooden sticks and colored paper. During the summer in Ecuador, the children go to an outdoor area to fly the kites (or fly them); the kite that manages to fly the highest will be the winner.

Kites are made from two wooden sticks that are joined in the shape of a cross and tied in the center with a piece of rope. With a blade, make two marks around each of the four ends of the cross.

Subsequently, a thick thread is taken and tied to one of the ends with force; then, the thread is passed through the other three ends of the rod, outlining a rhombus with the thread.

The next step will be to take a colored paper that is very thin (so that it does not offer much resistance to the wind) or a piece of plastic such as plastic bags.

This should be cut in the shape of the rhombus that we have just created, leaving a few centimeters more; This additional space will allow the paper to be attached to the structure of our kite.

Glue is poured on the wooden rods and on the thread that surrounds them; The paper is then glued to the frame, folding the edges of the paper in so that they cover the threads. The kite can be decorated by making paper fringes and gluing them to each of the sides.

A long string is tied to the bottom corner of the kite. In the two horizontal vertices, two small strings are tied that must be attached to the central string.

Finally, a ball is made with the central string using a rod, so that it allows the string to be wound or released so that the kite rises or descends.

4- Jump rope

This is a game that can be done in groups or individually. When played in a group, two people hold each end of a rope and spin it.

Participants must jump over the rope without tripping over it, and children sometimes sing songs while they are jumping.

When played individually, the participant who jumps is the same one who holds the rope. Competitions can be held, such as who can last the longest jumping.

Jumping rope is not only fun, but it brings health benefits, since it promotes the execution of physical activity.

5- Top

The top is a rounded toy that ends in a point, usually made of metal, which allows it to spin.

This toy is wound around a string and then thrown against the floor to make it spin (or dance). If you have enough skills, you can even make the top go up to our hands.

6- Bagged

“Los ensacados”, also known as “sack races”, is a game played outdoors.

This consists of the participants getting into canvas bags and must jump to the finish line; if they drop the bag, they will be disqualified. The participant who reaches the finish line first wins.

7- Ali cockatoo

To play «Alí cockatoo», the children sing a song of the same name, which goes like this:

Ali cockatoo, say your name [inserte aquí una categoría, p. ej.: flores]

Each of the participants will say a name belonging to the selected category. The player who fails to say a word, or who repeats one that has already been said, will be disqualified. The game continues until only one participant remains.

8- Burnt bread

In this game, a leader hides an object somewhere in the place where the game is being played; the other participants start looking for the object while the leader gives them clues about its location: he will say “cold” if they are far from the object; “warm”, if they are getting close; and “hot”, if they are very close.

The participant who manages to find the object will become the leader in the next round and so the game continues.

9- The greasy stick

In this traditional game, a 10 or 15 meter pole is placed in the center of a square.

The stick is covered in tallow, grease, or lard. Subsequently, the participants must try to climb to the top of the pole, where there is a flag that they will have to take.

However, the fat on the stick makes climbing difficult. To ascend, the participants can only use their legs and arms, without using any additional object.

This game originated in Naples, Italy, during the 16th century and from there it spread to other European countries, including Spain.

With the arrival of the Spaniards in the territory of America during the 16th century, the game of greasy stick was introduced to the colonies.

In Ecuador, it is also known as cucaña (name given to it in Spain), castle and soapy stick.

10- The rope

This is a game in which the participants are divided into two groups. Each of the groups stands at the end of a rope and, on the count of three, they begin to pull to their side, so that the opposing team loses their balance and falls.

The team that manages to stay standing wins. This game promotes teamwork.

11- The onion

In this game, the first participant sits on the ground and holds on tight to a pole. The next participant sits behind the first and holds on tightly to his back; the other participants should do the same. It can also be played standing up.

One of the players will be free and he must try to separate the others, peeling the layers of humans as if it were an onion.

12- The donkey of San Andrés

In this game, one of the participants stands up with his back to a wall. The next player places the head between the legs of the first player and five other players do the same, in order to form the body of the donkey.

The other participants must get on the «burrito» avoiding not falling. The game culminates when all the participants are mounted on the donkey. However, if any of the children falls, the «riders» will become the «donkey».

13- The hula hoop

The hula hoop, also called «ula ula», is a plastic hoop that is placed on the waist in order to make it rotate around the player’s body. The participant who lasts the longest without dropping the hula hoop will be the winner.

The most dexterous person can pass the hula hoop from the waist to the neck, from the neck to the arms, and so on. In some competitions, this ability is evaluated to determine the winner.

This game is not unique to Ecuador, as some sources claim it has been around since 3000 BC; Likewise, in Ancient Greece, hula hooping was used as a method of exercising and improving the health conditions of individuals.

The name «hula hoop» comes from Hawaii. The name arose in the 18th century, when some explorers visited the island of Hawaii and saw the similarity between the movements of the «hula» dance and the movement that was made when the «hoop» was turned.

In the 1950s, hula hoops were reinvented and began to be made of plastic, rather than wood, so that the design was lighter.

14- The hide and seek

In a large group, a participant in charge of counting is chosen. This one will cover his eyes and count from 1 to 20; meanwhile, the other participants will look for a hiding place.

When the one who counts reaches 20, he must say «ready or not, here I come» and, in this way, he begins to look for the hidden players.

The first to be found will be in charge of counting in the next round. The game ends when all participants have been found.

In some modalities, it is enough to find the hidden person (without having to touch them) so that this person is the one who counts in the next round.

However, in other modes of the game, a «safe place» is established, so that if a participant is found, they can run to that place and be «saved» from being the one that counts; If it is played with these rules, it is necessary that the counting player touches the participant that he finds.

15- Lemon water

In this game, a large group of children join hands and begin to spin as a leader sings:

Lemon water

Let’s Play.

The one who stays alone

will only stay

Hey, in groups of [inserte aquí un número]

At the end of the song, the leader says a number and the children have to run to form groups of that number. Children who don’t know…

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