Good Games for Kids

One good game that kids in the Dominican Republic play is “El Pañuelo” (The Handkerchief).

To play this game, two groups of kids are formed, both with the same number of participants. Both groups stand behind a line, face to face and leaving a space of around 20 yards between the groups. In both groups, everyone is given a number to respond to, start with the number one and counting up to the last participant in each group.

In the center of the field on an equidistant dividing line stands an independent participant who softly holds a handkerchief by its corner.

The independent participant shouts a number at random. The player tagged with that number in both groups will run to the division line, without crossing over it, to try to snatch the handkerchief and bring it to his group without being touched by the other player. If accomplished, that group scores a point; but if touched, the point is scored for the other group.

man playing a game with kids

Only when a runner has taken the handkerchief away from the independent player’s hand can the other runner cross the division line to touch his rival before the handkerchief arrives behind the group line.

That’s why there’s a chance to fool a rival when both players reach the division line and patiently stand there for seconds waiting for the other runner to snatch the handkerchief and try to run. Then one player, as fast as a flash, will rub the handkerchief with his hand, making believe that he is taking it away from the independent player’s hand without actually doing so. And at the same time that player will turn back and run one or two steps away to deceive the rival and make him illegally run across the division line, making him lose the point.

The winning group is the one that scores the higher number of points.

Other versions of the game include removing runners from the game who lose a point and distributing multiple numbers to players in the losing group so the winning group will have the fewer tired runners and hopefully win the game.

Another good game for kids played in the Dominican Republic is called “El Juego de la Silla” (The Game of the Chair).

To play this game, some chairs are arranged forming a circle. It doesn’t matter how few or how many the chairs are; it depends on the number of players available. The more players, the bigger the circle.

children playing musical chairsFrom the beginning to the end, there must always be a higher number of players than chairs available.

The rules are simple: Everyone is standing outside the circle of chairs; as soon as the music or the director’s singing starts, every one starts running in the same direction around the chairs.

When the music or the singing stops, everyone must quickly find a chair to sit. Those who remain standing or occupying the smaller part of a chair lose and leave the game. Each time, one chair is removed and the circle becomes smaller and the game restarts.

At the end, only one chair and two players remain. When the music or singing stops, one of them will sit on the chair and be the winner.

Some other rules may include: Those who desperately sit on a chair before the music or singing stops lose and leave the game, and the equal number of chairs is removed for the game to continue.

A fair treatment from the music director or singer would be not to watch when only two runners remain in order not to benefit the one running by the front of the chair when he has to stop the music or singing.

Usually, the participants will clap their hands for the music or singing while running around the chairs.

The game is played to teach children that they have the chance to win but they can sometimes lose, and that they should be bold and have courage to get what they want and always be honest.

6 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Shayna September 24, 2010

    When I went to the Dominican, it was the first time I ever played El Pañuelo. It is a very good game. The childrens faces light up when you start playing with them. It shall be nice to know the name of the game so I can ask to play thatgame with them!!

  2. Judith Tremblay September 23, 2010

    I remember playing something similar to “the handkerchief” in PE at school…I think it was a thick rope on the ground instead of a cloth in someone’s hand, but the concept is exactly the same. How cool that kids around the world play the same games!

    1. Judith Tremblay September 23, 2010

      oh, and Musical Chairs? ha! (I commented before I had read the entire post!)

  3. amy September 22, 2010

    I realy like the handkerchief game. Thanks Adones- I’ll be teaching it to my kids at church! 🙂

  4. Stuart Chapman September 22, 2010

    Kids in Otutulu, Nigeria played “El Pañuelo” as well at the M.O.M. Orphanage during PE.

  5. Mindy September 22, 2010

    Kids who go to the school in la chureca (The Dump) in Managua Nicaragua play El Pañuelo too! Only their teams are almost always boys vs. girls! How cool.

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