A "guaraca" is the name of a thick string that's wound around a spinning-top to make it spin.

Game Instructions

The children sit in a circle. The person who is "It" goes around the outside of the circle holding a handkerchief while all of the kids recite the rhyme. Eventually, she drops the handkerchief on a child's back or on his head. If that child notices it, she takes the handkerchief and chases the one who's "It" around the circle until the one who's "It" takes that child's spot in the circle. The second child is now "It". If the one who was "It" is caught before reaching that spot, she continues being "It".

Alternate Version

This version of the game is sometimes played with large groups.

The players stand in a circle with their arms behind their backs. The person who's "It" walks around the outside of the circle carrying a string in his hand and keeps saying the phrase, "¡Corre la guaraca, nadie mire para atrás!" ("The string runs, no one look back!"). Then he whacks the leg of anyone who doesn't obey his order not to look. Eventually, he places the string in the hand of another player without the other kids noticing. Then he keeps on walking around and finally yells for the last time: "¡Corre la guaraca!" ("The string runs!") and the kid who has the string makes himself known. He starts chasing his neighbor (on the right or the left - whichever was previously decided). If the neighbor doesn't dash out quickly enough, the kid with the string gives him a series of whacks to get him to run. [Note: If the 'neighbor' notices that the person next to him had received the string, he cannot leave his spot before the cry: "¡Corre la guaraca!".] The kid with the string chases his 'neighbor' around the circle till the neighbor reaches his former spot. Meanwhile, the one who was "It" goes to the spot of the kid he had given the string to.

The string should not be given more than once to the same player; whoever fails to follow this rule will be chased with whacks by the player who was given the string for the second time.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Translation by Monique and Lisa.