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Traditional games in Singapore for children to play

Traditional games in Singapore for children to play

November 22

Traditional games were games played before the introduction of video game consoles and arcades.

The traditional games were typically played with family members and friends, with different options to choose from.

There are different types of traditional games for children to try and play with, with a list indicating the games children can choose from and play.

  1. Paper balls

  2. Bestman bubble balloons

  3. Kuti Kuti

  4. Country eraser

  5. Gasing

  6. Five stones

  7. Airplane chess

  8. Goli

  9. Hopscotch

  10. Chapteh

  11. Pick-up sticks

  12. Congkak

  13. Skipping

  14. Cat’s cradle

  15. Old school card games

Paper balls

Paper balls are typically found in school bookshops, which allow children to purchase one easily. To play the paper ball, all the child needs to do is to blow into the opening. The paper ball will puff up and be ready to play.

Paper ball games are not restricted by rules and limits. Children can choose different types of games to incorporate into paper ball games. For example, playing dodge ball with paper ball, play catching and finding those with the paper ball.

Paper balls can be used as a decoration for parties.

Bestman bubble balloons

Bestman bubble balloons are typically played by children from the 80s and 90s.

To play the bubble balloon, children are to squeeze the mixture from the tube into the tiny straw. Then, they may blow from the other end, gently pinching the bubble off the straw once the ideal size of the bubble is reached.

Kuti Kuti

Kuti Kuti is a game where the two players flip the plastic tokens until it is drawn close together. When the pieces are close to another, players will try to flip it on top of the opponent. The first player who manages to flip the token on top of the opponent wins the game and is able to keep two pieces of the tokens.

Country eraser

The playstyle of Country erasers and Kuti Kuti is the same. Players will try to flip their erasers on top of their opponents, those who win will keep both the erasers.

There is another way to play the Country eraser, where staples are added underneath the eraser, then players will try to spin and see how long their erasers will stay spinning. The player’s eraser that spins the longest wins the game.

Children will typically collect lots of erasers with flags of different countries to either trade with their friends or to complete the set.


Gasing is a traditional game in Singapore, dating back to the kampong days. It refers to a game where children play with a wooden top toy, making the top spin as long as possible.

To create a harder challenge, children may create parameters to indicate where they want their tops to spin in. Whoever wooden top spins out of the parameter instantly loses the game.

Five stones

Five stones is a traditional kampong game for children to improve their dexterity and sharpen their reflexes.

To play Five stones, children are to throw it on the ground.

  1. Players choose the order of their play.

  2. Each player takes turn to play the game.

  3. The player throws the 5 stones on the ground.

  4. 1 stone is thrown in the air, the player then picks up a stone from the ground and catches the 1st stone.

  5. The player continues picking up each stone in the same manner until at 5 stones are in the hand.

  6. Player will score a point once they complete step 2 to 5.

The game only ends when:

  1. The stone that is thrown in the air is not caught in time

  2. The player touches or moves the stones away from the stones that were picked up.

The player will continue on with the game from where the mistake was made. The one who is able to complete the most amount of steps is declared the winner.

Airplane chess

Airplane chess is known as Fei Xing Qi, a chinese board game played by many children in Singapore.

The goal of Airplane chess is to land all the planes in their home destinations. There can be two to four players for Airplane chess. To begin, players are to roll the dice, then move along the steps according to the number displayed on the dice. Players are to take turns rolling the dice and move to the destination.


Goli is typically played with glass marbles, with different ways of playing it. The popular way of playing Goli is placing all the marbles in the circle drawn on the ground or lining the marbles in a row.

Players will stand at the distance agreed by themselves, then hold a marble that acts like a striker. The “striker” will be used to knock as many marbles out of the circle as possible. The player who knocks the highest number of marbles out of the circle is the winner.


Hopscotch is a classic traditional game played by children in Singapore. It is easily accessible and does not require much set up.

To play hopscotch, children are to hop from one square to another while trying to balance and avoid stepping on the border.


Chapteh is a traditional game in Singapore from the kampong days. It helps children to improve their dexterity, balance and aim.

Chapteh is a rubber disc topped with brightly-coloured feathers. There are different playstyles for chapteh, but the common goal is to keep in the air for as long as possible.

Typically, players will use the heel to kick the Chapteh into the air. Those who can keep the Chapteh in the air the longest or kick the most times will be the winner.

Pick-up sticks

Pick up sticks is a game where the sticks are gathered in a bundle, then released onto the table or floor. Players will slowly take turns to remove the sticks in the pile one by one without touching or moving the other sticks.

This game relies on the creativity of the player, they must be able to concentrate and have a steady hand, similar to the game of Jenga.


Congkak is known as Mancala, an intense kampong game of logic that requires two players. The board has 14 holes with 7 on each side, one large hole on each side.

Players are to either clear out the opponents’ marble or take the opponents’ marble into their side of the board.


There are different ways to play with a skipping rope, children may either try to compete with others and see who can speed skip the most in one time frame or attempt difficult skipping tricks. For example, jump rope crosses or the double under.

Cat’s cradle

Cat cradle is a game where children make different strong patterns and figures while trying to change the position of the string from one place to another. They must follow specific loops to achieve different patterns, such as Diamond, Manger, and Two Crowns.

To play the game, children must have a long string and knowledge of the different patterns.

Old school card games

There are various types of old school card games in Singapore for children to play, for example, Old Maid, Donkey, Snap and Happy Family. However, children must be able to acknowledge their losses and have good sportsmanship. Since the card games may cause arguments and chaos if the situation is not managed well.

I hope the information available helps you to understand more about the traditional games that are found in Singapore. As this article may serve as an aid to help you introduce different types of traditional games for your child to learn and play about it.

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