Cultural and Social Dimensions of Traditional Children’s Games
Ikofan Shafiq, Algeria
Play is one of the most important pillars of socialisation for children. It helps with the acquisition of social and cultural experience based on the rules of participation and role-playing. Play, which teaches the principles of participation, commitment and cooperation, has communicative values that qualify the child for future participation in the community.
Sociologists and folklorists emphasise that traditional games play a stronger role in preserving heritage than educational institutions because folk games are passed down from one generation to the next in an interesting and entertaining way that has clear connotations. Many traditional games have survived for decades despite the changes they have undergone.
When children were not playing on their iPads and PlayStations and adults were not preoccupied with mobile devices, traditional group games for people of all ages generated enthusiasm and increased social cohesion. These games reflect the social identities of peoples and nations.
Who among us cannot remember hide-and-seek, tag, the traditionally-made ball, seven tiles, the pots game and other folk games that children of this generation have replaced with electronic games? Simple games that children usually play outdoors, they rely on physical skill, intelligence, speed and wits. There were many children’s games in different parts of the Arab world and they were often similar, although their names may have differed from one country to another.
This study examines the educational value of toys and investigates how a child benefits from them in terms of developing his or her social personality.
The study aims to highlight the psychological dimensions of play, and identify its most important educational values as a social behaviour. It also aims to highlight the role that traditional games play in teaching social values, and to identify the characteristics of these values that have led to the continuing presence of these games and their wide social acceptance. The study also seeks to highlight the relationship between traditional games and cultural heritage.