Hopscotch to Craps; Traditional Greek Children’s Games

CRIPPLING: The  children  rule  a  rectangle  on  the  cement  and  using  parallel  lines , they  divide it  into 4 parts , the stairs”. The  first  3  should be equivalent to one another , but  the last one  is  about  3x  bigger  than  the  others  and  it  is   called “king”. The children number the stairs and they take it off for the turn to be determined, but every child gets to play and take a turn. The  child  who  goes first , takes  a  small  flat  stone , which is  called  the team” and  throw  it  to the first “stair”.  Then, crippling with his or her left leg he/she jumps with the right one from one “stair” to another “stair”. When he/she  reaches  the  “king” he/she can rest  or  turn , trying not to put down  the  curved  leg . Then he/she makes the  same  road  backwards crippling, and when  he/she  reaches the “stair where the  stone is , he/she  hits  it with the  edge of his/her  shoe , throwing  it  out , he/she jumps and  steps on  it . The same should he/she does with the rest “stairs”. The  child  who  is  playing , must  not  put  down his/her  “clippled” leg , step  with his/her  “good” leg  some  line  or  throw the “team” on a line. If he/she makes a mistake, he/she loses   his/her turn and the next child plays. If the child finishes with all the “stairs” without making a single mistake, he/she makes a “rubo”. The child who collects three “rubos” is the winner of the game.

Caps: This game is played outside. Two players are allowed to play this game at a time. Both players have their own cap. They sit down about 2 feet away from each other. In the middle there should be a hole 2cm deep. The players play in turns. In the beginning the first player pushes his cap towards the hole. The first player that manages to push his cap into the hole wins. This game is for ages 6 years and older.

Hopscotch: Draw 8 squares or more on the ground with the chalk. The squares must be one on the left and one on the right and show a rectangle. Put the rock in front of the first square. Then move towards the first square, jump on your leg and try to push the rock with one leg into the first square. Then, if you started from the left square, push the rock to the right and vice versa. You must push the rock into all the squares without moving it out of the square. If you push the rock out of the square that you want to move into, you lose. It is played in Greece, just as it is played here in the United States.

Visit Dino Lingo to learn more about available language learning programs for your child!

Visit Dino Lingo to learn more about available language learning programs for your child!


Great Greek Folk Tales for Kids

The Most Beautiful Child: A long time ago all the various birds had one teacher to teach all of their children.  One day the kids were being very unruly and to punish the kids, their teacher ordered them to fast. The owl took some bread and went towards the school so that it may give its’ child something to eat, and on its’ way, the owl met a partridge.  The partridge asked the owl, “Where are you going?” The owl said, “I’m taking some food to my child so that it may have something to eat.”  The partridge then said to the owl, “Please take some bread from me and give it to my child so that it may not go hungry either.”  The owl looked at the partridge and said, “I do not know your child, how will I recognize it?”  The partridge then said to the owl, “You will know my child when you see it as it is the most beautiful child.” The owl went to the school and gave its’ child some food to eat.  When the owl looked for the partridge’s child it could not recognize it, because it could not find any child more beautiful than its’ own.  The owl then returned to the partridge and said, “Take your bread as I can find no child more beautiful than my own.”  The moral is that no child is more beautiful than a mother’s own child.

The Hungry Monk: The night before the Lent fast had begun a monk in charge of a monastery gave precise and very strict orders to his monks that no one should light a fire for forty days.  However, a young monk was not able to keep fasting, and 20 days into the fast grew very hungry. The head monk sent the young monk to get eggs from the monastery chicken. While the young monk collected the eggs he placed one egg in his pocket. The young monk eagerly ran back to his compartment, and started to think of a way to cook the egg in a manner that no smoke would be made, seen, or smelled, and result in him being found out.  The young monk saw a candle and quickly placed the egg on the handle of a large church key using it to hold the egg in place while it cooked.  The monk in charge saw that the door was closed and realized something was wrong as the monks tended to leave their doors open.  He walked to the door and peered in, seeing what was happening the head monk immediately opened the door and yelled “What are you doing?” The young monk quickly replied “It is not me, but rather this is the devil’s trick.”  The Devil then appeared and said “No I did not do this  … as I could never have thought of it.”

The Tree: A long time ago near Mistra there was a mysterious and gigantic tree that looked over the plain of Sparta. This was not an ordinary tree; it was the largest tree in the whole world. Sadly it no longer exists in our day as some careless fool burnt it by accident in days long past. During the Ottoman time period there was a Governor who wanted a large dinner in his honor.  The Governor ordered that his dinner was to take place in the location that overlooked the plain.  When the food was ready and the festivities had begun, he sat down to eat.  The Governor brought with him a young Christian Sheppard boy who was to be his servant. The young servant looked from this position, and could see that the beautiful plain of Sparta was surrounded by mountains and interlinking rivers, and he sighed.  The Governor saw the boy sigh and asked him “What is it that makes you sigh?”  “What is there not to sigh about?” the Sheppard boy replied “These areas were ours once, and you have taken them from us by force.  I have hope in God that what is said will come true, that after many years and ages these areas will be ours once more.”  The Governor became extremely upset and said, “Do you see this spit that was used to cook the food I ate?”   The Governor then shoved the spit into the ground and told the boy “The same chance this spit has to become a tree and grow branches your people have to become free.. and liberate this land from us.” The next day a miracle happened, a miracle that indicated that there would be a day when the Sheppard’s people would be free.  Out of the wood that the Governor stuck into the ground sprouted an amazing tree.  The miraculous growth of the tree went against the words of the Governor, and the people now new that this tree prophesized a day when they would be free. This folktale was told to give faith to the Greek people during the era of the painful 400 years of Turkish rule.


Read more