With the technology boom nowadays games are always charged, plugged and played online. Most kids play alone or with virtual buddies and don't spend enough time outside, specially in the cities.
Luckily there are many old traditional games that are part of our heritage that have been passed from one generation to another. They promote interaction, physical activity and are loads of fun! With simple things such as chalk, ropes, bags and bottle tops both kids and grown ups spend time together, socialising in a fun and healthy way.
Below are some of the most famous ones, which we've organised according to their main skill.
To play Jogo da Macaca (hopscotch) the only material you need is a bit of chalk to draw in the pavement and a little pebble to toss. This game might date back all the way to the roman period. However, the first record lies in the Book of Games written by Francis Willughby in the 17th century.
The "houses" symbolise the trajectory of men throught life and the main skill required is balance, which seems quite appropriate.
This game is basically a race inside a bag that requires both speed and balance. The goal is also standard: reach the finish line as fast as possible without falling to the ground. Everything seems quite basic, but as soon as you get inside the bag and realise you have to quickly jump whilst holding the bag with both hands you'll probably think twice.
Jogo da malha (quoits) gathers many fans, specially men. It consists in throwing metal discs towards a pin vertically positioned metres away.
At the same time you need to have good aim, you also have to keep an eye on the competition because you might be winning half way and then find yourself in the very bottom all of a sudden.
The game was first documented in a detailed way in the 19th century. The official rules appeared in the April 1881 edition of The Field- the world's oldest country and field sports magazine.
This rope game is known as cabo de guerra (tug of war). Two teams compete against each other, pulling their side of the rope as hard as they can. Strength and resilience are key to win.
The game is played worldwide and was even part of the Olympic Games between 1900 and 1920.
This game focuses on the ability to use the hands in a skillful way to manipulate the spinning top. It starts by throwing it onto the ground and then catching it whilst spinning to bring down the opponent.
It is ancient and in the beginning the spinning tops were made of wood and iron and set in motion with a string. More recent versions emerged and some of them became quite famous, but the traditional game is the real deal.
Known in Portugal as cabra cega (bling goat), it is commonly referred to as the "blind man's bluff". A blindfolded player is called at and pushed around by the other players till he/she manages to catch one of them. The next step is figuring out who that is by touching the face and trying to recognise the clothing. Memory is key as sometimes it's the minor details that matter.
Portugal has managed to preserve this traditional games and across the country they're still played, mostly during festivities and social gatherings among friends and family. Every single one of them has a marked goal and is a way of exercising a main skill. Plus they're all played outdoors, either in teams or within a group. With simple materials which are accessible to everyone, these games generate social interaction filled with laughter and a healthy dose of competition.
More than ever, going back to the basics is crucial.
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