The game is an important moment in the life of a child, the channel through which they pass the learning, the cognitive and relational development of the individual.
To understand the degree of importance played by the game in the different phases of childhood, we simply think that playing means for a child what work represents for an adult.
The recreational activities, of whatever type they are, stimulate creativity, ingenuity, interest and contribute to the growth of the child in relation to the society of which it is a part. Each culture has its own games, specific ludic traditions that are handed down from father to son.
The game plays a fundamental role even in the poorest countries and, indeed, perhaps even more so in countries where a balloon or paper plane is a very big treasure for children.
Regardless of the type of nationality, ethnicity and culture, the meaning of the word “play” is the same for all the children of the world and it is interesting to note how the ways in which they differ from country to country, based on the resources that each individual community has available.
With the aim of drawing attention to the need to protect the right to childhood among the children of the poorest countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, ActionAid Italy presents a particular infographic that brings together some of the most unique children’s games in the world, mirror of the society to which the same children belong.
Among the many, the most common team game in Zambia seems to be The Serpent, in which two teams compete in a playground to reach, crawling, the “gazelle” or a player placed at the center of the field. In Ethiopia, however, everyone knows kukulu, a group game that recalls our hide and seek. And again, in Bangladesh, the phelhle keeps groups of children concentrated for hours in an attempt not to lose the balance within the circle of play.
The situation in which entire communities live in the world represents the total denial of the right to childhood of the children of those communities, daily forced to deal with issues greater than themselves: early marriages, malnutrition, illness, labor and child exploitation.
The data are alarming. In Zambia alone, 41% of children between the ages of 5 and 14 are forced into child labor, while the mortality rate below 5 years is 85 deaths per 1,000 live births. Numbers that scare and make clear the picture of the situation in which thousands of defenseless and frightened children live.
The right to childhood must be protected, the rights of children in the world must be respected and their games preserved. “The snake”, the “kukulu”, the “phelhle” need children who carry on their traditions and teach the rules of the game to other children.