Can you share a culture through traditional games?

Who doesn’t like to have fun? And this is especially true if you are a child. Fun time for most children is playing games, be it indoors or outdoors. Like any of you, my relationship with games started in early childhood. As a child I wanted to play all the time. I wanted variety. Having a new game to play was considered a moment of pride among other children. I often wondered, what games must other children be playing?

In the beginning of this semester, I was introduced to the idea of doing a Kickstarter project and I immediately got excited. I began to think what I could work on that I am passionate about, and after a while, I knew: I had to explore traditional games that we all used to play in our childhood, the games which we have the fondest memories of.

A few traditional games from around the world.
So what are traditional games?
Traditional children’s games are defined, as those that are played informally with minimal equipment, that children learn by example from other children, and that can be played without reference to written rules. These games are usually played by children between the ages of 7 and 12, with some latitude on both ends of the age range.
Most children’s games include at least two of the following six features in different proportion: physical skill, strategy, chance, repetition of patterns, creativity, and vertigo.

The Idea

Every country has different indoor and outdoor traditional games, e.g., USA (tag, hopscotch, jump-rope, …), UK (cat’s cradle,40/40 in, …), India (satoliya/lagori, kho-kho, …), Brazil (queimada, …), China (jiànzi, májiàng, …), etc. Currently, these games are only enjoyed by the children of their respective countries. The beautiful cultural embedded into these games is localized to national boundaries. This prompted me to think:

How can we share traditional games with children all around the world, and in turn help break cultural barriers?

Product Development

I am thinking of designing a sort of card deck for children of ages 8 to 12. In this deck, each card represents a traditional game from a different country. It will have, on one side, a story from a child, and on the other side, the game illustrated and explained graphically. The fun part is that the card will also actively inspire the children to design their own variants of the games.

Example Card (credit for some of the illustrations: wiki-how)

What I Intend to Achieve?

My goal is twofold.

Promote physical games by providing something new: It is evident that children have so much energy and are always seeking new games. Given that novelty is an order of magnitude easier to create in digital games than in physical games, we are entering a world in which physical games are losing relevance with each passing day. Through this project, I intend to promote physical games.

Create a more compassionate world by sharing culture: In light of the recent election, we have come to see a highly divided society, in which some perceive foreign cultures as a threat. We have forgotten that these cultures are also formed of people just like us. It is debatable how much we can change the opinions of adults. But children are pure-hearted. I believe, by sharing stories and games from other children around the world, we can perhaps create a more compassionate society for tomorrow.

How can you help?

The project is evidently in the development phase. I have been doing research, conducting interviews, and testing different versions of my prototype. The feedback I have received till date has been extremely helpful in choosing the direction to lead it in, but I need more help. I am eager to hear your thoughts and stories. I want to know what your favorite game is/was, and how you can play it.

If you’re a parent, a child, a school teacher, or just anyone who is interested in this project or agree with my idea, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated. The best way to do that would be to fill out this survey (http://bit.do/kinjal), or send me an email at kinjal2490+ed@gmail.com

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