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Pinoy indoor games for kids

Rainy days mean that most kids are stuck indoors and when they have a lot of energy to expend and with no space to run it off, you’ll be dreading to hear the three words: “Mom, I’m bored…”

Though the rains have ceased a bit, the weather predictions are still wet, wet and wet until the weekend. Weather Underground shows us this radar image of the rain clouds and their movement across the country.

So what can you do with your kids when you’re stuck indoors. You can try to watch DVDs or play computer games which is the norm. However, if you would like to further enrich your kids’ cultural EQ, you may want to try these indoor activities with them.

taguan - painting by toti cerda

“Taguan” by Toti Cerda

1. Taguan and all its permutations – Taguan or hide and seek is a great indoor game to play. If your place doesn’t have enough hiding spaces then you can switch to the other forms of taguan such as taguan tsinelas. Instead of hiding yourself, you hide one of your flip-flops or slippers. If the “it” finds it, you have to beat her to the base to escape being the “it” again. When mobile phones were just starting, we’d play “taguan Cellphone” and you have to find it by locating it through sound. We would make the phone ring and attempt to locate it. Of course this game stopped being fun when the phone’s battery was on the verge of dying and you can’t find it anywhere.

old school damaSungkaanHolen o Jolen

2. Play a Pinoy “board game” – I think it’s imperative that every Pinoy house should have a sungkaan, a dama board, a bag of holen and a Game of the Generals. Sungka is a personal favorite as I grew up playing it with my great aunt. There are a lot of superstition involved with sungka. Not surprising since sungka was used by babaylans for divination purposes. Incidentally, there is a similar game played in Malaysia and Indonesia named Congkak. You can read the rules and how to play the game here.

Dama is exactly like checkers however it’s only the Philippines and Armenia that refer to the game with that name. But because we are Asian and simple Dama is too mainstream, we have created a permutation of Dama and called it Damath – a game of dama combined with mathematical operations. Think you can’t get any nerdier than that? There’s Sci-Damath.

Small Damath Wooden Board GameTHI SCIDAMA board

Game of the Generals aka Salpakan is as pinoy as pinoy can be – created and invented by Sofronio H. Pasola, Jr. This game of strategy and wit is quite similar to battleship and Stratego. You can read more about it here.

game of the generals salpakan electronic board

If all of the above fails, bring out your bag of holen and just sprawl on the floor and play. I think in this case, losing your marbles is normal.

3. Hand coordination or clapping games – You can take your pick from the clapping/counting games to Sawsaw Suka. These games teach your kids about rhythm and concentrating. Watch as this family plays the “Nanay, Tatay, gusto kong tinapay” game. It’s so cute that you can’t help but smile.

Another very famous clapping game is the “Bahay Kubo”. This one requires a bit more skill and concentration. The guys in the video didn’t sing the song but official rules state that you HAVE to sing the Bahay Kubo song while playing. Otherwise, it’s just not as fun.

4. Bahay-bahayan – A Filipino classic, the bahay-bahayan game is an ideal game to play with young children. To make a “bahay” you can throw a blanket over a table, build a fort out of the sofa pillows and mattresses and just let your imagination fly. This game of house teaches kids about roles and the actions and responsibilities that role has. It also offers parents a chance to see themselves through their kids’ eyes.

bahay-bahayan by migs villanueva

bahay-bahayan by migs villanueva

5. Pusa at Aso – An indoor version of “Guard the Flag”….sort of. The game needs about 3 or 4 players, with the “aso” or the it being inside a circle. This circle is the “dog house” and in it are items that are the aso’s “bones”. The rest of the players are the “pusa” or cats. The object of the game is to get as much “bones” from the dog house without getting caught by the “it”. If you were tagged by the dog, then you replace the dog in the dog house.

I’m pretty sure there are more games out there that we haven’t heard of in a long time. If you know of any other Pinoy indoor games, do let us know about it. We love hearing from you!



2 Comments on Pinoy indoor games for kids

  1. jepoy

    Hello Sir/Madam,
    Magandang araw po sa inyo!
    May I ask permission to use one of your pictures above? It’s the “dama with tansan” under no. 1. ‘Taguan and all its permutations’ section. If you may allow, I will use this for my creative presentation in one of my subjects now in college.

    I am hoping for you positive response.
    Thank you and God bless!

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