Traditional children’s games in the Mediterranean: Analogies

Eliseo Andreu Cabrera

Abstract

Games such as marbles, knucklebones, triangle, hopscotch and ring-based games are played in modern times in Mediterranean countries, but they date back to the 5th century BC, and are mentioned by Alcibiades. Taking as a basis these interesting facts, we decided to investigate further and sought out specialist articles and books on traditional children's games. The similarity of games in Mediterranean countries would seem to be due to a shared culture, but can the analogies detected be confirmed from the perspective of social sciences and sciences of physical activity? Due to such a large body of documentation and the number of authors with specialist knowledge in games, we have selected those that we feel make the most solid epistemological contribution. We have specifically chosen researchers who could best guide us in terms of interculturality in traditional children's games, ranging from eminent classical historians to the most well-known modern-day folklorists. Analysing the factors that have led to the development of Mediterranean culture, it becomes clear that the human race is simply the product of the constant mixing of human beings. The world of play may also be the result of an individual's biological, sociomotional and contextual characteristics. In this context, interculturality means recognising the culture of the other, and the positive values of both cultures. The universal language of play is a valuable tool to foster knowledge of and respect for different cultures and languages present in society. In short, children's traditional games are an excellent instrument for intercultural development, given that many of them increase tolerance, respect and participation, and due to their content constitute a powerful resource for moral education and a unifying link between children from different cultures.


Keywords

Traditional play; Folk games; Mediterranean; Analogies

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4100/jhse.2009.43.02