Book launch: Reliving the experience of traditional games in the playground

The book aims to promote cultural understanding between Pakistan and Norway.

Myra Iqbal February 23, 2012


In an effort to promote cultural understanding, the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Lok Virsa launched the book “Folk and Traditional Children Games” on Wednesday.

The book is an endeavour on the part of the Pak-Norway Joint Institutional Cooperation Programme to preserve folk and traditional games of both countries. It aims to carry the universal message that the innocence of children and their love for games is the same everywhere in the world.

“We are not so different after all,” said Cecilie Landsverk, the Ambassador of Norway. “Grownups need to be reminded that children need space to have fun.”

The book contains six Norwegian games including Kick the Tin (hide ‘n seek) and Paradise (hopscotch), with 24 games from different regions of Pakistan, such as Kokla Chapaki (hide the whip) and Gulli Danda (spindle ‘n stick).

It is also accompanied by a DVD version that narrates the step-by-step methods of each game.

There are many similarities between the games documented, the most important being that these games encourage human interaction and develop self-confidence and discipline in playgrounds among children.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Social Welfare and Special Education, Samina Khalid Ghurki, stressed on the importance of games and playgrounds in children’s character building.

“Human contact is dwindling in today’s age of technology and cell phones and computers are replacing people,” she said, adding that these gadgets cannot replace what one learns through other people’s company.

Junaid Iqbal, one of the pioneers of Lok Virsa, said such a book was indeed the need of the hour as the historical use of playgrounds as breeding spaces for creativity, energy and discipline needs to be revitalised.

“Playing is not just an expression of a child’s innocence; it is also essential in maintaining health and discipline,” he said.

Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid Javed expressed his goal to translate the book in different regional languages so it can be used in schools across the country.

The ambassador appreciated the idea and assured to share the book with children in Norway to strengthen cultural understanding between the two countries. “I used to love playing hide ‘n seek,” she remarked.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2012.


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