Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Chinese Games

Some places list Chinese games as "Hunting, Polo, Parcheesi, Chess, and Backgammon". Some how that is not exactly what I was thinking when I wanted to introduce Chinese games to children - or when Girl Scout troops ask what Hong Kong or Taiwanese game they can teach others for World Thinking Day. I don't think of paper-cutting, origami and Chinese knotting as "games" but they are fun crafts that Chinese children do. Ideas originally for Chinese New Year in the schools which can be adapted for any time of year, include Chinese Games (Catch the Dragon's Tail, Lame Chicken, and ideas for 3 - 9 year olds), Crafts and activities, and Crafts for upper elementary.

A bit of History: Yoyos and dolls may have been the world's first toys. China invented or discovered: yoyos, tops, kites, playing cards, Mah jong (Mahjongg), and Chinese Chess (Xiang Qi, similar to Wei Qi, known in the USA as a Japanese game "Go").

Probably most of the oldest Chinese card games were also played as gambling games, and certainly many multi-player mahjongg games today have a gambling component. (Japan and Hong Kong have different scoring rules for the game.) Mahjongg was originally a solitaire game - and now you can find software versions to download and play it on your laptop or PalmPilot. Chinese dominos are a differn tgame and use different tiles.

Chinese board games include Xiangqi and Go, a strategic board game for two players (known as Weiqi in Chinese).

The "Shuttlecock", Chinese Yoyo or Chinese jump rope are all fun and good games to present.

Some call the shuttlecock (pictured here) a "helicopter rotor", "propeller top" or "bamboo dragonfly". If you do not have or do not want to use feathers, you can make your own shuttlecock with a coin, some facial tissue or tissue paper and a rubber band. An American quarter is about the right size. It is bounced off your foot and body - the rules remind many Americans of hacky-sack.

Games needing space - These take up a fair amount of room to move:
Eagle and Chicks, Catch the Dragon's Tail, Lame Chicken and Forcing the City Gates (which sounds a bit like "Rover, Red Rover" to me...) Fang Bao also takes up some space, but maybe it could be kept to a long side of the gym (or where-ever your event is held), or possibly even down a hall if you have enough adults for supervision?

Chinese Jump Rope - You can make your own Chinese jump robe with rubber bands or elastic cord. (WARNING: rubber bands contain latex, and are sometimes 100% latex. You may want to check for latex allergy issues before you bring this into a school community gathering.)

From Losing the games of their parents?, look how high the Chinese jump rope is in the picture!

Last Updated: September 2007

1 comment:

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