English is soooo much fun! Right?
June 14, 2006 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Australian, Indian or Mexican games/activities for children?

I'm planning an "English Camp" for some Hungarian kids, and the theme is international cultures. (The kids are between 7 and 12 years old.) The aim is not so much to put information in their heads (as we've just finished an exhausting school year) but to entertain them, and thereby raise their enthusiasm for next year's English classes. Therefore, I need games to play, arts and crafts activities, etc. that are in some way connected to the 3 countries listed above.

So far, I am planning to:

-look at maps of and pictures from the countries and how the English language is used in/related to them
-make a piƱata
-construct saris, make samosas
-play rugby or cricket (?!)
-put some more shrimp on the... nevermind, that's out of our budget.

...And then there will still be about 10 hours of babysitting left. I'm drawing a blank on what to do with them. I am specifically hoping to find, for example, playground games that children in India play but are unknown, and therefore exotic and exciting, to kids in Europe (and also wouldn't have previously been taught by other English teachers from America). Please help me come up with cool ideas!

Footnote: 'Mexico' is something of a surrogate for 'Latinos in the USA, who might have to suffer through learning English just like you!', so Texas/Wild-West/etc. themed-ideas might also be acceptable, or even preferable. I realize this is a horrible conflation but intend to clarify this later, either by making the 2nd-graders read about the identity politics of vegan latino/a transsexuals in French, or simply redefining the geographical area as things come together later.
posted by xanthippe to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
Australian schoolyard game: handball.

Requires: 1 tennis ball, 1 piece chalk, 2 or more kids,

Mark off two squares on concrete, about 6' on a side, with a common edge. One kid stands in each square.

The ball must always be hit or pushed with an open hand. No grabbing/throwing of the ball.

To serve, toss the ball gently up in the air, and then bounce it (with open hand) in the servers square so that it would land in the receiver's square. The receiver must then bounce the ball back in their own square so that it lands in the server's square. Play continues until the ball lands out of bounds, one player misses the ball, or a return shot doesn't bounce in the player's square first.

Those are the basic rules.

Things get interesting when you incorporate walls next to the squares; multiple squares with multiple players, especially when you include "promotion" (declare one end of a linear arrangement of squares the "head", and when one kid defeats a kid closer to the head, they exchange places); odd terrain, etc. Use your imagination.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 10:24 AM on June 14, 2006

Speaking of Indian games, I'm trying to remember a few from my childhood days.

How about Antakshari. You could substitute Bollywood songs with rhymes in English.

Getting your hands on a Carrom board could be tough, but not a Ludo board.

And how can I forget Pitthu, although Chain Chain or Dog and the Bone might be more appropriate for 7-12 year olds
posted by sk381 at 10:57 AM on June 14, 2006

Some Australian games:

Elastics (pdf) is a fun, tiring activity involving a large elastic band and a lot of jumping (pic).

What's the Time, Mr Wolf? is a fun calling and chasing game.

There's also Red Rover, but that can get kind of violent (again, tiring, which may be a good thing).
posted by goo at 12:09 PM on June 14, 2006

Dot painting is also fun.
posted by goo at 12:19 PM on June 14, 2006

two-up - About as Aussie as you get....
posted by gergtreble at 1:28 PM on June 14, 2006

Oh, handball may also be known as "kingpin" -- see the wikipedia entry for Four Square for more.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 1:30 PM on June 14, 2006

I'm pretty sure that loteria is appropriate for kids.
posted by radioamy at 1:36 PM on June 14, 2006

I second Antakshari. Good for English practice, too.

A quick consult of the Indian in the house revealed that he "pretty much played the same games you do." When pressed for details, he said Manhunt, freeze tag, et cetera. Sorry so mundane.
posted by anjamu at 2:01 PM on June 14, 2006

Some Australian ideas:

Sack...erm, kangaroo race? You could always sew a pouch on the front and make them pick up/drop off stuff, like a relay.

Touch footy?

Chocolate crackles! You could make lamingtons or small pavlovas (shut up, Kiwis, they're ours). Sausage rolls are pretty easy, too. Vegemite sandwich-eating competition? Ooh, fairy bread! Scones are simple, although to be really Aussie, you should make pikelets with jam and cream.

Boomerang throwing? Make and play didjeridus from cardboard tubes or plastic pipe? Clap sticks? Animal dances? "Aboriginal" art - x-ray pictures, Papunya-style dots paintings, spitting food-colour ink over your hand to make an imprint? papier-mache koalas (big balloon, cardboard ears, cotton wool, grey paint) or bunyips (egg carton eyes, spikes, scary colours)?

Otherwise, it was just brandy for us. One person is it, and they remain it until they've thrown a tennis ball as hard as they can at another player, causing a large, red welt to appear.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:08 PM on June 14, 2006

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