Traditional Games in Singapore We Used to Play
The definitive guide to old school games in Singapore.
Searching for gifts and activities to bond as a team or with your family? Just want to relive childhood memories? Traditional games are the way to go! There’s nothing like playing these old-school games and reliving shared memories to bond people together.
Most adults are familiar with are the favorite games we used to play during recess in school, with the neighbourhood kids in the void decks or in the sand filled playgrounds we used to have.
Things like kuti kuti or flag erasers were favourites of students, not to forget bottle cap soccer and the rubber band game where you jump over the rope without touching it.
Many memories were made playing these traditional games, friendships were broken and reformed through competitions, who wouldn’t miss these memories?
So, what are some old school games we used to play?
- Five Stones
- Wooden Top (Gasing)
- Pick-up Sticks
- Snakes and Ladders
To start us off, we have the favourite kampung game, five stones (similar to the game, Jacks). A traditional game that can played almost anywhere with just the stones on the ground.
To play this game, players will take turns throwing stones into the air, catching and picking up in various patterns. All you need is a flat surface, five “stones” and intense concentration. Purchase it here (link), dexterity not included.
While on the topic of classic kampong games in Singapore, how can we all forget Chapteh? A feathered shuttlecock, Chapteh is a favourite garden game played by children of yesteryears.
The objective is to keep the Chapteh from touching the ground without using your hands. To win this fun game, all you need to do is to outkick your opponents. Leg eye coordination is key in this old-school game. Get it here (link)
Wooden Top (Gasing)
Gasing, a malay word for spinning tops. Way before the age of the modern toy, Beyblades, these wooden tops were a crowd favourite.
This garden game is very simple, keep your top spinning for as long as possible. Some people would draw a circle on the ground to use as a boundary, if your top goes out of it, you lose. Get the smaller and play anywhere version here (link)
Played by children everywhere around the world, kites are a familiar sight around areas like Marina Barrage and other windy areas.
However, this traditional game used to be more competitive. Children used to coat their kite strings with powdered glass so they could cut the other’s kite and win the game.
You can feel the joy of watching your kite go higher and higher into the sky by buying it here (link), glass coated string not included. This was one of the most competitive kampung games in Singapore!
Table Top Games
For some of the favourite games that can be played on table tops, we have: pick-up sticks, tangram puzzle and snakes and ladders.
Pick-up stick is a favourite game of yesteryears, just grab a bunch of sticks let it fall naturally and some sticks land on top of others. The players then try to pick up the sticks without moving the others. This fun game was the reason for many nervous breakdowns, yet it built our dexterity and critical thinking skills.
The Tangram puzzle is one that you need creativity and a whole lot of patience. This old-school game is one where you try to place pieces of wooden blocks to various shapes (like the pyramid shape). Many of us would have played this back in our elementary school days when they were trying to develop our creativity.
Snakes and ladders, how can we forget this very traditional board game. Go up the ladder or slide down the snake, a game of chance and still fun to this day.
Why are kampong games great as gifts?
Modern day games are typically played in silos. Though consoles and PC games have multiplayer capabilities, it is unable to beat the face to face interaction that the above mentioned traditional games have.
It is a great way for parents and teachers to bond with children as they share these games and the stories that come with it.
During parties and team building activities, there is always this awkward atmosphere as strangers are put together in a room for the sole purpose of getting to know one another.
Having these old-school games as door gifts can help ease the awkwardness and help break the ice as people start to share about their experiences and stories tied to the games. You might even see people playing it right away!
Gifts for non-local friends
All these kampong games are great gifts for your non-local friends. These are perfect for them to get to know our history and culture a little better.
These are perfect to introduce the history behind Singapore. How the old kampong days were like and why Singapore is regarded as one of the leading countries for its multi-culturalism and multi-racial scene.
So where can I buy these traditional games in Singapore and even have them customised as gift bags?
One Dollar Only is Singapore’s leading value-for-money site for many toys and games as well as stationaries. The company is a supplier of customisable gift options for cheap, perfect for company events or educators who want to provide their students with educational gifts.
Head over to our website to browse the seemingly never-ending number of choices for gifts and educational supplies now!