Child’s Play

led by Ricarda Vidal, Maria-José Blanco and Carolin Huth 

Is there a difference between Hopscotch, ‘Rayuela’ and ‘Himmel und Hölle’? Do Chinese children play Cops and Robbers? Do English children know a ball game that involves eating cherries? What do ‘Statues’ have to do with ‘Grandmother’s Footsteps’? When Venezuelan children play ‘Pollito Inglés’ (little English chick), Spanish children play ‘Escondite inglés’ (English Hide and Seek) and children in the Dominican Republic play  ‘Mariposita es’ (Little butterfly it is), do they all play the same game?

Children play games across the world. Often those games follow similar rules across different cultures, but not always and when they do, there are often subtle differences. 

We will create an international archive of child’s play based on the multi-cultural microcosm of King’s College London. Between April and September we will collect memories of games played by British and international students and staff when they were children. The names and rules of the games will be archived and translated into English, both literally and by finding equivalent games. We will also conduct a series of interviews and ‘game sessions’, which will be recorded and edited into a film. The film and the archive will be published on this website.

On 14th October, we will present the results of our research at the 2016 AHRI festival at King’s College. We will play selected games in multiple languages and also devise a new multilingual game for the festival.

Call for Participants

If you would like to share your memories of your favourite children’s games, please email us at
and answer the following questions:

Q1: Please send us the names of the games you remember – if your first language is not English, then please provide the name in the original language together with a literal translation into English.

Q2: Give a short summary of the aim of the game and its rules.

Q3: If the game includes rhymes or spoken (shouted) instructions, please provide these in the original language as well as with a literal translation into English.

And finally a couple of questions about yourself:

Q4: What is your country of origin and where did you grow up?

Q5: When were you born?


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