The games of the past

The group games of yesteryear, often passed down from generation to generation, have been a key part of many’s childhood. Not only did these games provide fun, but they also promoted socialization, motor coordination, and ingenuity. Here are some of the most popular traditional group games:

Tug-of-war is a traditional team game that tests participants’ strength, endurance, and teamwork. This game is widespread in many cultures and can be played on different occasions, such as parties, sports competitions, and recreational activities.

Two teams of equal number of players are formed. Usually, each team consists of 5 to 10 players, but the number can vary. A long, strong rope is used, with a central mark (usually a ribbon or handkerchief) indicating the halfway point, a line is drawn on the ground that corresponds to the center of the field. Two additional lines are drawn at equal distances from the center, one for each team. Teams stand on opposite sides of the rope, with players lined up behind each other and holding the rope with both hands. At the referee’s starting signal, both teams begin to pull the rope hard.

Objective: The goal is to pull the entire opposing team past the centerline or get the center mark of the rope past your team’s starting line. The team that manages to pull the rope so that the center mark passes over their starting line wins the round.

Generally, the game is played in a best-of-three round. Stronger and heavier players are often placed at the beginning and end of the row. The “helmsman” (player at the end of the row) plays a crucial role in coordinating efforts and maintaining balance. Players need to pull in a synchronized fashion, doing short, powerful pull-ups rather than constantly pulling. This method helps to conserve energy and increase the strength of the shot. It is important for players to have a good grip on the ground, often bending their knees slightly and tilting their body backwards for added stability. Tug-of-war teaches the importance of cooperation and communication between team members, encourages a healthy sense of competition and respect for opponents – it’s a simple yet engaging game that can be adapted to all ages and abilities, making it ideal for social, team building, and recreational events.

The handkerchief game is a classic group game that requires agility, speed, and strategy. Two teams of equal number of players are formed. Each player is assigned a unique number that corresponds to a player from the other team. You choose an open area and mark a halfway line. At some distance from the center line, the bases of the two teams are marked. Any handkerchief or cloth is used, which will be placed in the center of the halfway line. The two teams line up parallel behind their respective bases, with each player in numerical order. A referee or neutral player calls a number. The two players with that number, one for each team, run to the center to get the handkerchief. The player who manages to take the handkerchief must try to return to their base without being touched by the opponent. If it is touched by the opponent before reaching its base, it is eliminated and the point goes to the opposing team. If he manages to return to base untouched, his team earns a point.

Being fast and agile is crucial to grab the handkerchief first and to escape the opponent. Sometimes players pretend to take the handkerchief to trick the opponent and wait for the right moment to grab it. Teams need to coordinate and strategize, such as deciding who to call for each turn based on the players‘ strengths. The handkerchief game is a simple game very suitable for team building and outdoor days that promotes physical activity, team spirit and healthy competition.

The game of poison ball is a classic group game that combines skill, speed, and strategy. It is a popular activity among children, often played outdoors, in schoolyards or parks but it is also a beautiful game for adults. It is also known as “dodgeball” in English and has different variations depending on the regions. The game can be played by a minimum of 6 players up to larger groups, divided into two teams of equal number. A light ball, often made of rubber, is used that is soft enough not to cause injury. A rectangular playing field is demarcated, with a central line dividing the two sides. Each team positions itself on its own side of the field. Teams position themselves on their respective sides of the field. The ball is placed on the center line or thrown into the air to start the game. The goal is to hit the opposing players with the ball. A player hit must leave the field of play (or go to a “prison” area at the side of the field). Players can throw the ball at opponents and dodge throws from the opposing team. A player hit by a ball thrown by opponents is eliminated. If a player catches the ball thrown by the opponent on the fly, the player who threw the ball is eliminated and an eliminated teammate can re-enter the game.

Players must move continuously to avoid being easy targets. Aiming to hit distracted or less agile players can increase the chances of taking out opponents. Working together with teammates to throw multiple balls simultaneously can overwhelm opponents and increase the chances of elimination. The game of poison ball is a great aerobic exercise that improves coordination and agility, promotes cooperation and team strategy, teaching players to work together, and helps develop reflexes and the ability to make quick decisions. It can be adapted to different ages and skill levels, making it an inclusive and engaging game.

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