Power of Traditional Games

Is your child addicted to online games and refusing to go out and play? Well, it's time to get him off the seat, and up and running with these traditional games!

By V Saravana Kumar

Power of Traditional Games


You and I have definitely played these games when we were young, but do our children play them too? For the love of all things Indian, we shall look at some traditional Indian outdoor games your child can play. You can teach your child and play along.

Lagori

History

Although there is no specific reference to the history of this game, it is believed to have been played for generations in rural India.

How it is played

  • Lagori is played using a soft ball and seven flat stones, in a large outdoor area.
  • The players form two teams - ‘seekers’ and ‘hitters’.
  • The flat stones are piled up at the centre of the ground and a player from the ‘seekers’ hits the pile with the soft ball.
  • Now, the ‘seekers’ try to collect the scattered stones and pile them up again, while the ‘hitters’ use the soft ball to hit the ‘seekers’.
  • If a ‘seeker’ gets hit by the soft ball, he’s out of the game. The ‘hitters’ try to get as many ‘seekers’ out this way, before the stones are piled up.
  • A ‘seeker’ can avoid getting out, by touching any of the ‘hitters’, before being hit by the ball.
  • If the ‘seekers’ collect all the stones before being all out, they win. If the ‘hitters’ hit out all the ‘seekers’ before they collect all the stones, they win.

Benefits

  • Makes your child a quick runner.
  • Improves your child’s precision ability, and hence enhances concentration.

Kancha

History

Playing with small stones or pebbles was a caveman’s game. Going by that logic, the origin of Kancha can be traced to the early days of mankind.

How it is played

  • The objects used for playing Kancha are round glass marbles, also known as ‘golis’ (about half an inch in diameter) in different colour combinations.
  • To start with, a shallow hole is made in the ground. A line is then drawn, three feet away from the hole.
  • Each player stands behind the line and aims to throw his goli into the hole.
  • After all the players do this, the one who has his goli closest to the hole gets the chance to play first.
  • The first player takes all the golis and throws them again towards the hole.
  • He has a second goli, using which he’ll hit the other golis.
  • The other players choose a particular goli to be hit by the first player.
  • The first player, now, throws the goli in a peculiar style. He holds it tightly between the two index fingers. He places the left thumb firmly on the ground and stretches the left index finger backwards with both index fingers still holding the goli. This looks more like a bow and arrow position. Now, as he releases the right index finger, the goli is shot.
  • If this goli hits the selected goli, the first player gets all the golis and becomes the winner.
  • Otherwise, he gets the one he hits and the next player gets his chance.
  • The player who gets the most number of golis wins the game.

Benefits

Sharpens concentration and presence of mind.

Improves aim and focus.

Gilli Danda

History

This game, remarkably similar to cricket, is believed to be more than a thousand years old – dating back to the Mauryan Dynasty.

How it is played

  • The game is played using a short wooden peg (3 to 6 inches long) with tapered ends, called the gilli, and a wooden stick (2 to 3 foot long), called the danda.
  • The players are divided into two teams with no restriction on their number in a team.
  • A team can opt either to bat or field by winning the toss.
  • A small circle is drawn on the ground and a little crater is made in its centre.
  • The ‘batsman’ from the batting side stands inside the circle, while the players of the fielding side spread around him in various positions.
  • The ‘batsman’ places the gilli just above the crater in the circle, hits it hard with the danda, and as it rises up, strikes it again.
  • The spot where the gilli falls is marked, and its distance from the circle is measured using the danda. The batsman gets one point for each danda length.
  • The batsman is out if he fails to strike the gilli in three consecutive attempts or if the gilli is caught by a fielder.
  • In such a case, the next batsman comes in to bat. This is repeated until all the players in the batting team have batted.
  • The total points of batsmen are added up to get the team’s total score.
  • The team batting next will try and chase this target to win the match.

Benefits

  • Improves hand-eye coordination.
  • Sharpens judgement skills.

Kith-kith

History

This game is similar to hopscotch and dates back to the 17th century. 

How it is played

  • An 8-square grid (2 columns and 4 rows) is drawn on the floor using a piece of chalk.
  • The players choose a button, shell or stone as their markers.
  • The game starts with one player standing in front of the starting line and tossing her marker into the first square.
  • She then hops across all the eight squares, turns around, and hops back all the way to the second block.
  • She picks up her marker from the first square and tosses it to the second block.
  • She then continues the hopping cycle, until the marker reaches the eighth block, and ends her lap.
  • The other girls ‘hop’ in the same manner.
  • If a girl loses her balance and her folded leg touches the ground mid-way through the game, she is considered to be ‘out’.

Benefits

  • Enhances physical balance and rhythm.
  • Strengthens muscles, improves motor skills and develops spatial awareness.

Parental supervision is essential for all the games since they use goods like pebbles, marbles and wooden logs.