Games Children Play Around the World 

At present we are developing a new storybook title that focusses on ‘Girls in Sport’. One of the things we have been researching are games that children play in their free time or on the playground and we came up with quite a list! Here are three games we like. Do send us more games – we may be able to include them in the new book!

AMPE (Ghana)

This is a game best played with a group of four or more, but just two people will do, too. It’s an active game, with so much clapping, singing, and jumping involved that it almost looks like a dance. It’s a game that’s been passed down from generation to generation.
  1. A leader is chosen and the rest of the group either stand in a semicircle or split into groups of two.
  2. The leader and another player jump at the same time, clap and thrust one foot forward when they land.
  3. If they both have the same foot forward (left or right) the leader wins a point. If they have opposite feet forwards the leader’s opponent becomes leader.
  4. If they players are in a circle, the leader role moves along the inside of the circle playing against others in turn. If they’re in a line, the leader moves down the line.
  5. Everyone gets a chance to be the leader and usually the first person to reach 10 points wins!

Mbube, Mbube

(Pronounced Mboo-bay Mboo-bay) This is a popular game in African countries where children are helping the lion (mbube) find and capture the impala (a southern African buck). All ages can play, but it is best in large (6+) groups. You’ll need two blindfolds to play. Each round takes 2-3 minutes. The aim of the game is to help the lion catch the impala:
  1. Everyone forms a large circle.
  2. Choose two players; one to be the lion and the other the impala.
  3. Place a blindfold on each player and spin them around several times.
  4. Staying inside the circle, the lion then moves around hunting for the impala. The impala can move around too.
  5. The children who have formed the circle begin calling out to the lion, “Mbube, mbube”. As the lion gets closer to the impala, the chanting gets louder and faster. However, if the lion moves away the chanting gets softer and slower.
  6. If the lion doesn’t catch the impala within one or two minutes, a new lion must be chosen. If the impala is caught by the lion then another child is chosen to be the impala. You might like to use a stopwatch to ensure the timing is fair.


This is a popular game played by children in African countries. All ages can play, but it is best with a large group of 10 or more people. Each round lasts 5-10 minutes. The aim of the game is to be the last player caught by the snake.
  1. Mark out an area for play and set boundaries. Everyone must stay within the boundaries or they are out for the remainder of that round.
  2. Choose one player to be the mamba (snake).
  3. The snake runs around the marked area trying to catch others. When a player is caught he becomes part of the snake’s body by joining onto its tail. He joins the snake by holding onto the shoulders or waist of the player in front of him.
  4. Only the first player (the snake’s head) can catch other people. However, its body (the other players joined to him) can help by not allowing players to get past. Players are not allowed to pass through the snake’s body.
The game continues until all the players have been caught. The winner is the last player left and becomes the head of the new snake.


Here is a list of more games played around the world. We have a collection of games and closing activities too. Do you have a favourite game that you play (or used to play!), let us know about it.