Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!
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Articles about 'Games Around the World'
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I’m so excited!  I just discovered a major collection of online recordings of children’s singing games! Iona and Peter Opie are among the world’s top collectors of English nursery rhymes and kids songs.  When working on Mama Lisa’s World, I refer to their research quite a bit.  They published one of the most comprehensive collections of...
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Design Resource has a great site about children’s games in India.  The site includes instructions for indoor and outdoor games.  The indoor games include hand-clapping rhymes and games played with stones and shells.  The outdoor games include circle games and other types of games played outside. Check it out! Mama Lisa
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Duck, Duck, Goose is a game every English-speaking kindergartener knows.  In other cultures, there’s a similar game called Drop the Handkerchief.  Here’s the difference… Duck, Duck, Goose To play Duck, Duck, Goose the kids sit in a circle except for the one who’s "It".  The person who is "It" goes around tapping each child’s head saying "Duck". ...
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Bob Anderson wrote looking for help with a Swedish childhood rhyme.  Here’s his question: Do you know of a children’s verse my dad (born 1879) used to do with the grandkids?  He would bounce them on his knees, holding their hands, and at the climax, open his knees and drop them down as if to drop...
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Vanuatu is a country that consists of a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. There’s a kids game that’s played there called, "What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?"  This game is played throughout the English-speaking world. How to play "What’s the Time Mr. Wolf": The kids go around in a circle like a clock. They say: One,...
Anigur is a traditional musical game in Mauritania that’s been around for a long time.  Two people dance and duel with sticks to a beat.  The spectators play the drums or clap to encourage them on. This game is played more for amusement than anything else.  It’s played at weddings and special events too. You...
Play the Great Language Game by trying to identify some eighty languages by their sound alone. It’s very challenging.  Check it out!
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This summer we brought our kids to see "The Art of the Brick" at Discovery Times Square in New York City. It features Nathan Sawaya’s Lego artwork.   Here’s my 12 year old daughter’s assessment of the show… Nathan Sawaya’s Lego sculptures are truly works of art. They are well built and neatly sculpted brick by brick...
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Etegami is a Japanese style of drawing with a written message on it. Etegami artist Debbie created the drawing here which contains the Japanese phrase "otenki uranai".  That basically means "a trick for prophesying the weather."  Here’s what Debbie wrote about the weather trick: "When I was little, the neighborhood kids and I followed an ancient,...
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Who remembers the expression "I love you with a cherry on top"?  I remember saying it to my mother either to express love or to butter her up if I wanted something! You can make the expression even stronger, by adding more and more toppings as if your love was an ice cream sundae.  You can...
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Variations of the choosing game Rock, Paper Scissors can be found all over the world.  The Korean version is "kai, bai, bo" (sometimes pronounced "gawi, bawi, bo").  In Korean, the order is different.  It’s always: "Scissors (가위 – kai)", "Rock (바위 – bai)" and "Paper (보 – bo)".  You can see a youtube of the game...
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Laba is a Chinese festival that has traditionally started off the Chinese New Year preparations. It’s on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month. Agnes wrote about it from China: "We eat Laba Rice Porridge and Laba Garlic for the Laba Festival. Laba Porridge is made of mixed grains and corns, like peanuts, chestnuts, dates...
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One step at a time we can help change the world.  Take the example of Playpower… "People need affordable learning games.  Worldwide, 4.1 billion people earn under $3,000 per year, meaning that even a $100 computer is often out of reach for the world’s emerging middle class. Playpower is targeting a $10 platform that makes learning...
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The Ring on a String Game is a traditional game that’s played in many countries.  Sometimes it’s called Hunt the Ring.  Here’s how you play… 1. Slip a ring on a long string and tie both ends. To determine the length of the string, you need to use about 24" of string (50cm+) per player. 2....
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We’ve been without electricity, and have had only intermittent internet connections, since last Monday due to Hurricane Sandy.  There are many people in similar situations (or worse) in the areas affected by the hurricane.  This is the most we’ve been without electronical devices and computers since they became widespread in the 1990’s.  I’ve found we’re...
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Many cultures have a Peek-a-boo Game that’s played with little kids.  First you hide the child’s face behind a cloth, a hand or another object.  Then you say "Peek-a-boo!"  Next you quickly take the object away from the child’s face and say, "I see you!" A similar game called "Bo-peep" has been around since at least...
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Here’s a video of the French rhyme and hand play, J’ai deux mains (I Have Two Hands), with the French lyrics and an English translation. J’ai deux mains J’ai deux mains, Elles sont toutes propres, Elles se regardent, Se tournent...
What happens if you use a yo-yo in zero gravity? Astronaut Don Pettit demonstrates on board the International Space Station. With a physics lesson thrown in to boot! Hat tip: Kottke.org.
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I love this video! "There are all these simple little games that people play using their surroundings: don’t step on the cracks, balance beam railroad tracks (or curbs), bicycle slalom, etc." –Jason Kottke I remember being stuck at red lights and trying to shoot them so they would turn green. What games did you make up as a...
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Here’s a video Lego put out for its 80th birthday about how the company got started and how Legos came to be made.  It’s about 17 minutes long… The LEGO company is still owned by the Kirk Kristiansen family who founded it in 1932 in Denmark. Photo: Wikipedia
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