REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Games Peculiar to Children

Although living conditions and technological developments make it difficult for most people to devote much time to games, they still have an important place in children’s lives.

Children’s games are actually their main source of entertainment. Today, however, as a result of the changes in forms entertainment tools and advances in communications, children’s games have changed, and many old games are no longer played. Nevertheless, children’s games are still played in poor neighborhoods and in school playgrounds.

Besides their entertainment value, games also influence children’s social, psychological and physical development. Games help feelings of collaboration and mutual respect to form.

Children’s games are classified according to the place and materials used in the game and the gender by which they are played.
Hide and seek, which is played on a wide basis, is one of the best-known examples of children’s games. The game is played in an open area with at least four or five participants. The first task is to decide who is to be ‘it.’ There are also various ways of doing that. After that, the castle is chosen. This may be a wall or a tree. Whoever is ‘it’ leans against castle and starts to count while the others go off to hide. When the counting is finished, the ‘it’ says, “My front, back, left, right is free!” in order to prevent anyone hiding too close and the search begins. He announces the names of the children he has found and then returns to touch the castle. If the person who has just been found can touch the castle before the “it,” does, he is spared having to do the counting and searching next time. At the end of the game, if there is more than one candidate for the position of “it,” the candidates secretly select the names of flowers or fruit and ask “it” to chose one of them. For example, if “it” says “apple,” the child who chose the word apple assumes the role of ‘it.’ Hide and seek is played in many regions under different names.

Children split up after reciting a little verse.

A needle pierces
Hurts me
Plump bird
Run to the car
Wheel of the car
Candy of Istanbul
Hop hop hop
There’s no other game
Examples of Games Peculiar to Children:

Bezirgan Basi (Head of the Grasping Trader): This is played with at least 10 people. Two players are chosen, and these take the names “golden watch” and “golden bracelet.” These two stand face-to-face, hold and raise their hands. The others walk and pass under these two children’s hands saying:
Open the door
Head of the grasping trader
What do you give
As a deal?
What do you give?
The person behind me
Let him be a souvenir
Let him be a souvenir.

When the last sentence is recited, one of the players is captured. The two doing the catching take him and ask whether he prefers the golden watch or the golden bracelet. Depending on his answer, the boy stands behind one or other of the two. The process continues until all the players have been caught. The two groups of children then hold each other tightly by the waist. They assume a position behind a line drawn between them and engage in a contest closely resembling a tug-of-war, each group trying to pull the other over the line. The group which is pulled over the line loses the game. The game continues until everyone has grown tired of it.

Leapfrog (Long Donkey)


This is played with at least four people. Two of the players are chosen to be ‘it.’ These turn to their backs to each other, put their hands on their knees, and face away from each other. Other players come and jump over the others in turns. Anyone who falls over while jumping becomes “it” himself. The other players keep on jumping while saying, “One is one, my two is two, my three is three, my four is four....” Comic actions may also be included. For example, the seventh player may say “My seven is seven, I am kicked” and other players kick the player bending over. The eighth player says, “My eight is hopscotch and stands on one foot. Other players after him have to stand on one foot after completing their jumps. The eighth player has the right to order other players after him to stand on one foot. As soon as the ninth player says, “My nine is nine,’ all the players have to freeze. The tenth players says, “My ten is the reaping hook, cannon of the conqueror” and starts to hit the “it.”
The game continues with the choosing of a new “it.”