Children will explore most popular games around the world and toys used to play. They will choose one game or toy to make on their own to play with.
NOTE: This lesson can vary in length according to how most popular game in the world and toys you’d like to explore with children. We offer several options for types of play. You can have students vote and just explore one or two options. If you’re feeling adventurous, explore them all, and place children into groups based on interest. They can then teach each other the games and share whatever toys they make.
Kids all over the world love to play! In every country, culture, and group, children make toys and games from whatever is handy. Even in places where children work alongside adults, or in places where toys are scarce, children will always find a way to play.
Some games and toys are very similar. There are games children from every culture play with variations like hide-and-seek and tag.
In this lesson, you’ll focus on finding the similarities and differences in the common games children play and the toys they use.
Begin the lesson by asking children what they like to play. Focus on games they have made up, play with other children, or use toys to play. Listen to details so you can draw the children’s attention to similarities in games from other cultures.
- Dolls Google Slideshow
- A doll, stuffed animal, or action figure for each child to spend time with before and during the lesson
If you are a classroom teacher, let families know about a week before the lesson that children will be allowed to bring in their dolls, action figures, stuffed animals, or collectibles (within reason) for a day of exploration and play. Give a specific date and supply them with any specifications you have on what will be allowed.
Have “extras” on hand for those who forget their toy or who may not have any toys at home.
If you are a homeschooling family, it might be fun to do a zoom call with friends who have doll collections or go to a nearby museum that has collections of dolls from different times in history or cultures around the world.
Be sure to take a quick inventory of the types of dolls and other toys you have access to before you begin the lesson so that any “live” examples can be illustrated personally.
Begin talking about dolls by using our Google Slides presentation on dolls from around the world and here in the United States.
As you discuss each type of doll, have a student or two come up and find the country discussed on The World Happy Map or another world map.
Be sure to stress that the word “dolls” here means anything that looks like a person or animal. Sometimes boys will be more reluctant to talk about or play with dolls, but usually, if you use “dolls”, “stuffed animals” or “stuffies”, and “action figures” throughout the lesson, boys will be more inclined to participate. Your opinion and reaction to this will set the tone for the children.
Kids of all ages and genders love making things from sticks, scraps of mate-rial, googly eyes, and string, so try to help everyone feel equally invited to the discussion and crafting time.
Begin talking about outdoor games children play by using our premade slideshow. Some of the games have links to YouTube videos so children can see how the games are played. Others either didn’t have a good example on YouTube at the time of the creation of this lesson or seemed straightforward enough that they could be played easily without a video.
As you discuss each outdoor game, have a student or two come up and find the country discussed on The World Happy Map or another world map.
Talk about each game, and let students decide if they’ve ever played any games that may be similar. Compare and contrast games you know to these examples of games children play in other parts of the world.
Anywhere and Everywhere Games
Many of these games may be pretty familiar to students. We’ve placed videos of the common versions found here in the U.S. to easily compare and contrast with games from elsewhere in the first several examples.
These games require very little equipment, although there are some necessary items—generally rocks, sticks, coins, or other easy-to-find items. They can be played inside or outside and are portable.
Encourage students to discuss the similarities and differences between the versions of each game. Ask if they know of any other versions.
The last few games do not include any comparison games, although there are certainly some traditional games we play in the U.S. with similar elements. This should foster some fun discussion, as well.
Decide on Your Favorite Type of Toys or Games
Depending on which toys and popular games you’ve presented, allow students to choose their favorite.
If you’ve presented and explored every category together, have students choose which category was their favorite.
If you only explored one category, allow children to choose from the dolls or games presented to narrow down a favorite.
Spend some time discussing the characteristics of their choice that make it the “best one” according to your child or children. Compare it to other things they enjoy doing. What aspects make these things so appealing?
All of the activities and toys described here are entertaining for children. What things do your children or students have in common with other kids in order for them to enjoy the same things? Do children have to be really similar or the same to enjoy something?
Discuss the fact that in countries with many people who have things like computers and televisions, children don’t play with dolls, outdoor games, or “any-where” games as much. Ask students why they think that is. Talk about which is better—video games or games where you can run and play with friends? You may suggest that perhaps one isn’t better than the other but that we need a healthy balance of all types of play in our lives. We even need to play when we’re adults!
If the children have selected a broad category as their favorite, continue narrowing it down to one game or type of doll. They’ll use these choices as inspiration as they make their own versions of the things they enjoy!
Encourage them to play together, make crafts, and invent games together. Remind them that although video games and television and electronics ARE fun (they are!), there are other fun things to do, too!
Show What You Know
Personalize or Create Your Doll or Game
It’s time to play!
This will be the part of the lesson your students will remember for the rest of their lives. Many times, when we do lessons like these, students learn more and bring up the memories of this lesson over and over again.
Don’t hesitate to make every part of this lesson something you do routinely—making dolls, playing new games, and inventing games from things found in nature should be encouraged. Many of our children don’t have access to these types of simple joys anymore. As educators and parents, we can help children greatly by making these kinds of things available to them.
Children should be encouraged to add their own unique style and personality to dolls or games they play. After they’ve learned to play each game they’d like to or learned how to make a doll, ask them to change at least one small thing to make the game or toy “theirs”. Kids are remarkably good at this and do it all the time when they play, but they may not know how to both follow the directions given AND change something to make it uniquely theirs, so they may need a little guidance.
Tutorials and Doll-Making Tips
- Paper (lined, copy, construc- tion, or manilla)
- Blank peg dolls
- Craft glue, glue gun (for adult use only) with appropriate glue sticks (craft glue usually works much better for many of these projects than school glue—whenever you are working with mediums other than paper, school glue has a tendency to not be sticky enough)
- Washable paint and paint brushes
- Pipe cleaners
- Crayons, markers, or map (colored) pencils
- Sharpies or other permanent markers(non-paper crafts often need this more perma- nent kind of marker, but if you don’t feel comfortable allow- ing children to use sharpies on the own, be sure to either take over this portion of the project or replace it with a more suit- able option)
- Peg doll kits
- Googly eyes
- ticks or rocks
- Fabric scraps
Nesting dolls (from paper):
- Top and bottom:
Kokeshi dolls: Amazon sells kits of these for less than $20 (at the time of this writing). In the kits there are 50 little blank peg dolls. Sometimes you can also get cloth scraps, paper, and paint, depending on the kit, style, and size of the peg dolls. Here is one example we found: Peg doll kit. Kits with just dolls are even cheaper. Remember that if you are a classroom teacher, you can put things on a wishlist for classroom friends and family to buy! You can also use recycled bottles and styrofoam or ping-pong balls.
Paper dolls, stick dolls, and “rock” dolls can all be painted, covered in scrap materials, or otherwise created with classroom materials. There are many videos about these on YouTube, and tons of Pinterest ideas if you and your students just cannot come up with any ideas. Choose your favorite style from among the choices and get creative!
The games included in the slide presentation have links to sample play or detailed instructions.
The first three games need no equipment or materials. Here are the materials required for the other games.
Il Lupe Mangiafrutta—
Fruit stickers, necklaces, or hats that tell which fruit each child represents (optional)
Playground equipment or some other way for kids to get “up” taller than the ground—some children use sidewalks or even thin drain covers or “bases”
Hit the Penny—
- Coins for each child
- Stick (can be a yard sign stick or a dowel rod as long as it has a flat surface on one end)
Anywhere and Everywhere Games
The games included in the slide presentation have links as well, for the most part. Whenever links aren’t possible or necessary, a brief explanation is provided.
Jacks and Similar Games
Jacks, marbles, pebbles, or any small circle-like objects
Small sticks, coins, unique rocks, or pebbles
Sum It Up!
Show Your Toy or Game to Others and Play Together
Students teach each other about their new favorite games or help each other make a doll. Teaching someone else your new skill is the best way to cement learning! Even though a student chose Outdoor Games as their first choice when a friend invites them to play an Anywhere and Everywhere game that the friend got to change into a new, more personalized game, children may find that they enjoy more things than they thought they would!
©2022 Whole Wide World Toys™, Inc., Hershey, PA, USA. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.