Brazilian children's games

Brazil is the largest country of South America. As in any other place in the world, children there love to play games at home, in their school playgrounds and in the streets. Some of their games are universal: hide-and-seek, hopscotch, tag--while other games are traditional to Brazil.

Indoor Game: "Vivo ou morto"

"Vivo ou morto" (Portuguese for "Dead or alive") is a game in which a chief must be chosen amongst all the children. The other children must remain absolutely still in front of the chief and look at him at all times. The chief must then give instructions that everyone must follow. When he shouts, "Vivo!" (Portuguese for "Alive!"), all the children must stay standing. When he shouts, "Morto!" (Portuguese for "Dead"), everyone must crouch straightaway. Whoever gets it wrong leaves the game. To make the game slightly more difficult, and funnier, the chief can give his instructions quickly, interchanging the two words. The last child standing in front of the chief is the winner. He becomes the chief of the next round.

Outdoor Game: "O pulo da chegada"

If you have ever wanted to become a kangaroo, it's time to play "O pulo da chegada" (Portuguese for "Jump to the finish line"). In this game the objective is to make your team cross the finishing line first. To start with, draw two lines on the floor; one will be the starting line, the other the finishing line. Choose a judge whose job it will be to shout or whistle when the game starts. Ask all the children to form two rows with the same number of players behind the starting line. Each child must then hold the belt of the child in front of her very tightly. Both rows of children must jump forward toward the finishing line, to see which team wins. The chains cannot break in any circumstances.

Beach Game: "Jogo da bexiga"

You can play "Jogo da bexiga" (Portuguese for "The balloon game") on the beach or wherever you can drop water on the floor. Fill small party balloons with water and ask all the children to form a circle. Each of them must give the balloon quickly and carefully to his friend on the right, before it bursts. The winner is the last child remaining in the game.


Brazilian children also play video games, board games such as "Monopoly," "Pop-Up Pirate!" and other games that are very popular throughout the world, but they mainly enjoy playing soccer in the street, on a pitch or on the beach. Not coincidentally, Brazil has the only national team in the world to have five times won the most prestigious soccer competition, the FIFA World Cup, which Brazil will host in 2014.

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About the Author

Currently based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, J.N. Paquet has been writing op-eds and articles for various publications since 1993. These include "BrooWaha," "Agoravox," and "Ground Report." He took courses in international studies at the Open University and is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Committee of Concerned Journalists.