It's almost a Thanksgiving tradition – as you frantically cook, clean, ready the table and prep for company, your kids, helpful at first, inevitably get bored. Sure, you could park them in front of the TV, but parades and bowl games can hold their attention for only so long, despite all those impressive balloon floats. What to do? How about keeping your kids entertained with these children's games from around the world:
Big Snake (Ghana)
This one's great to play with a big group of cousins or neighbors in a large open space, like a basement. The kids choose one person to be the snake, which "lives" in an area marked off by tape, cones or whatever's handy.
When the game starts, the snake emerges from its home turf and tries to eat – or tag – the other players. Once a player has been tagged, he or she becomes part of the snake's body, holding the snake's hand or waist. The snake grows longer as more payers are tagged, but only the snake's head and tail are able to tag other players. If the snake's body breaks, it must return to its home turf and regroup. Free players may deliberately try to break the snake. When all players are part of the snake (or completely exhausted), the game is over. Sssssssso much fun! [More info]
Piedra, Papel o Tijeras (Mexico)
Sure, you could call it Rock, Paper, Scissors, but that wouldn't be nearly as interesting -- plus, this is a great way to introduce Spanish to kids. Whatever language kids use, the game is the same: Kids count to three and then use their hands to make a rock (a fist), paper (an open, flat hand) or scissors (two fingers out). Papel covers piedra, piedra breaks tijeras, and tijeras cuts papel. Terrific for two kids and good for your children's language skills to boot. [More info]
La Barbichette (France)
It's like a staring contest, only with a French rhyme that's easy for kids to learn. Two kids hold each other's chins, stare into each other's eyes and say, "Je te tiens, tu me tiens, par la barbichette;Le premier qui rira, aura une tapette!" (Some versions vary.) The first one to laugh gets a gentle (that part's important to emphasize to your kids) token slap from the one who was able to keep a straight face. Expect lots of giggles from your kids, which is in itself something to be thankful for. [More info]
Does your family have any favorite games from other countries or cultures? If so, please share!