Children’s play: what it is, main characteristics, types and more


What is a children’s game?

We can define children’s games as a type of literary composition aimed at carrying out a fun activity that does not necessarily have a purpose other than to entertain the target audience, in this case children, although it is mainly characterized for being one of the most important resources for the development of boys and girls.

The children’s game is part of the types of oral literature, precisely because it is a creation that has a diffusion that is transmitted through the voice or speech, and that is mainly used in this way. This composition gives rise to a series of ludic practices used in the first stages of life with varied themes interested in capturing the child’s attention and entertaining him/her.

Main characteristics of children’s play

It is time to look at the most important characteristics of this type of composition, which has undergone transformations over time and new adaptations for each new generation:

Importance of fun

In general terms, we are talking about a composition that is aimed at entertainment and that is sung, in many cases, for the activity of children. It is a moment of fun and joy that excites children, above all, because of the activities or movements that are proposed while the children’s game is recited.

Possibility of participation

Another important element of children’s play is related to the possibility of generating a space for participation in which it offers freedom as well as direction and an invitation to the children to participate. During the course of the game, the child can put himself in the position of representing a character and perform a series of activities around fun and entertainment with others.

Predominance of action

A fundamental feature of children’s play in its composition and following the necessary participation, is connected with the predominance that exists in the action. The children’s game, in its composition, describes a series of actions that determine the actions that are generated within the game for its execution. There are also other implications in the instructions for the final objective of the game, imagination, teamwork, among other elements.

Presence of fiction

Children’s games are also characterized because in their letter and direction, children have the possibility of representing what is not present. Thus, in their letter we can find instructions that are directed to a fantasy or fictional character in which the children personify him/her to develop the activity. It is also possible to start from elements or items, where the objects themselves are transformed in such a way that they can symbolize those that are not present and to which the game refers.

Use of language

It is important to consider that these games, when focused on children, must have terms and words that allow them to recognize different topics, whether they are about nature, the city, the family, etc. That is why in the use of language we find words that can be related in the course of the game, relating them to their experiences and memories, a key element for the development of this aspect.

What is a children's game

Types of children’s games

We can identify several types of games according to their composition or intention, in this way, we find the following:

Symbolic play

These games are generally aimed at the youngest children. They are characterized because they simulate situations that can be imaginary or real in which fantasy characters are imitated. This type of children’s games allow an understanding of the environment, learning aspects of life or human behavior, development of imagination, language and creativity.

Rules game

It is characterized for being a type of game with a social character in which a series of simple rules that children must follow and respect for the execution of the activity are implemented. These rules can be the following of the activity by turns, establishment of previous rules about what is allowed and what is not allowed, among others. They facilitate the development of language and memory, as well as interaction among children.

Construction games

Consists of a type of play that is developed in the company of another or in preparation for a later activity. They are known for facilitating interaction, improving understanding, development of processes such as analysis, coordination, generosity, teamwork, creativity, among others.

Example of children’s play

During our childhood, it is possible that we still keep in our memory a great variety of activities in which we enjoyed children’s games that were already common among all children of our age. One of them that you surely know is “La gallinita ciega” (The little blind hen).

The little blind hen

This game consists of blindfolding one of the participants so that he/she catches at least one of the assistants and in this way, changes the role in the search process. In this way, each child found will have to put himself in the position of the “Little Blind Hen” he is looking for.

The practice of the game is accompanied by verbal expressions, among them one of the best known is: “Blind hen that you have lost a needle and a thimble, go around 5 times and you will find it”. This is because before starting the search, the blindfolded child must undergo this number of turns before starting to catch his companions.

How to write a children’s game

Now then, let’s move on to look at some key guidelines for creating a children’s game from scratch, applying all the elements we saw above. Let’s see:

Analyze children’s games

A great way to start is by taking a look at children’s games that already exist. This will be an important source of inspiration to start our own construction. In this way you will be able to observe all the possibilities we can find in terms of practicing a dynamic in the company of an oral expression.

Search for the activity

Now that you may have already come up with several ideas, it is time to identify the specific activity, challenge or task that you will have to do as a group or individually. This activity may consist of finding a particular item, catching another partner under some posture, for example, and so on. This physical activity will be key to follow through.

Consider the rules

Although this is an optional element, you can consider it for this moment. According to the conditions of the game you can determine what is allowed and what is forbidden to make the activity much more fun.

Build the verbal expression

Once you have the activity you are going to indicate and the conditions of participation for the development of the game, it is time to build the oral expression that will accompany the action of the game. To do so, you can use the conditions you have determined, give a character to the person in charge of developing a specific role, among other possibilities. Here you can directly come up with the title or name of the children’s game.

Now that you have it, it will be a matter of putting it into practice. You may want to add some conditions, establish modifications or changes to improve it. It is time to do it.

As we have seen, children’s games are one of the practices that are still in force today due to the adaptations they have had, the modifications and reconstructions by the communities. That is why they are one of the most important elements of oral literature. If you want to know more about this world, remember that in our section you can find much more information.