Even though seeing multiple changes along the history, the Vietnamese are well-known for our traditions. As traditional people, Vietnamese adults used numerous games to pass on the traditions to their kids. There are some cultural differences in how Vietnamese children are raised, and one of which is the games that they play.
Most of the games used to educate Vietnamese children have been invented, played, and preserved for centuries and so have become traditions themselves. As Vietnamese even introduced several games to the rest of the world, some of which may seem familiar to you. These games not only help Vietnamese children learn about mathematics, logic, and nature but also give you an interesting insight into another country and is an excellent way of extending your studies on our mysterious culture on your Vietnam all-inclusive packages.
Shuttlecock (đá cầu)
While the term “shuttlecock” usually refers to the heavily weighted feather-covered toy, it also refers to a traditional Asian game in which players use their feet and other parts of the body like knees, shoulders, chest, and even head (but not hands) to keep the feather ball from touching the ground. Even though going by many different names such as đá cầu in Vietnam or jianzi in China, it is the same game — a kind of foot badminton that is played all around the world.
Đá cầu in Vietnam has evolved into a formal sport of its own. It can be played with the rules based on a court similar to badminton and volleyball (if volleyball was played primarily with feet) or be played artistically, among a circle of players in a street or park, with the objective to pass the weighted hacky-sack shuttlecock from foot to foot in the air and show off skills.
From schoolchildren playing in the schoolyard to the senior citizens consider it as a way to keep their limbs active, this simple pastime has won the hearts of millions. Head to parks near town centers early in the morning, or around dusk, then you will easily find several groups of the young and the elderly playing the game. Most are more than happy to let you join for fun. Even if you are very bad at keeping the game going, just be ready to challenge yourself. Playing đá cầu with Vietnamese will definitely be an exciting experience recommended by your Vietnam local guides.
Not only played around Hoan Kiem Lake at the intersection of Le Thai To and Hang Trong Streets or in Thong Nhat Park, shuttlecock – one of Vietnam’s healthiest obsessions has gained a formal following in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere in recent years.
Jump Rope or skip rope (nhảy dây)
Vietnamese game of jump-rope knitted from a chain of small elastic (a rope is a string of rubber bands) has been a favorite in schoolyards around Vietnam for years. However, it was invented by Vietnamese several centuries ago.
On your Vietnam all-inclusive packages, you can play the game with a group of 3, but the more players, the funnier it is. 2 players hold the yellow thin piece of elastic jump rope and the other jump over the rope. After each successive jump, the rope will be raised a little higher. One general rule holds true for all: Never touch the rope. As the game involves some cardio, except for kids in schoolyards, you will rarely see people playing it during the hot, midday hours.
Catch the Dragon Tail (Rồng rắn lên mây)
Catch the dragon’s tail
Another Vietnamese traditional game is rồng rắn lên mây. Although you can use a smaller number, the more the merrier! The 10 kids at any age all form a line with their hands on the waist of the child in front to form the body of the dragon-snake. The first in line is the head of the dragon-snake and the last in line is its tail. There is one person sitting in a position above the other players playing the role of a doctor.
The doctor aims to catch the dragon’s tail. When the doctor flies into a rage, the head has to maneuver the line around so that he cannot tag the last player. All the players in the middle do their best to hinder the doctor. Don’t let the line break! When the doctor catches the tail, the entire group loses the game! If you are offered, don’t miss a chance to play rồng rắn lên mây on your Vietnam culture tour!
While iPads, Playstations, and Gameboys are all the rage now, a lot of folk games like jumping rope, catching the dragon tail, or kicking the shuttlecock are still popular, especially among kids and teenagers in many rural districts. So, what games do kids and children in Vietnam play in their spare time? We hope with our Vietnam travel review, you can find the most comprehensive information about the culture of Vietnam and its traditional games. Learn Vietnamese traditional children’s games both as a way to understand Vietnamese culture and a source of new inspiration for your own playtime.