Traditional Turkish Children's Games

Written by rachel schwartz
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Traditional Turkish Children's Games
Turkey's culture includes games children have played for generations. (drapeau turc image by dead_account from

Every region of Turkey has different a different history of cultural games the children have played, but similarities exist between the games in different regions. Some games have a history throughout Turkey and even into other countries. Children's games can involve objects, such as sticks, pebbles, balls or knucklebones. The game may be an active game, with jumping and running, or be a riddle, rhyme or game accompanied by a song.

Korebe: Blind Goat

Korebe looks similar to the American game of Tag. The main difference involves the person who is "it" wearing a blindfold. All other children in the game run away from the child playing "it" and the game continues until that child tags another. The child tagged is now "it," and the game begins again.

In different regions of Turkey, Korebe has slightly different names. In Ankara and Mugla it is called, "Kor Cebis," while in Kirklareli it has the name "Kor Capar." Kor Cebis means blind goat, while the meaning of Kor Capar translates as "blind dog." One traditional explanation for the blind goat name refers to the "it" as a goat with hair hanging over the eyes.

Uzun Essek: Long Donkey

In American culture, Leap Frog has the most similarities to Long Donkey. But, instead of jumping over the other players as in Leap Frog, Long Donkey players jump on top of the other players' backs. Long Donkey involves two teams. Both teams form lines in which each person leans over and holds onto the person in front of them, forming one long line of backs facing upward. People from the other team jump on top of this line, attempting to knock it over. The team that remains standing with the largest number of people from the other team on top of it wins the game of Long Donkey.

Asik: Knuckle Bones

Many different games involving knuckle bones have traditionally been played in Turkey. In most games, players throw the bones like dice. Some games use a larger or heavier knuckle bone (one that has been hollowed out and filled with lead) to hit other knuckle bones out of a boundary. Other games use the knuckle bones as a type of fortune telling device, by attributing meanings to different knuckle bone landing positions. Knuckle bones may also be used in gambling games.

Ball Games

Many traditional Turkish games involve balls. One game uses a ball in a race, much like passing a baton in a relay. In one girl's game, the ball gets thrown in the air and the player must recite a rhyme or perform an action before catching the ball again. Many games involve throwing a ball into a hole or hitting some sort of target or goal, such as a stone. Other games involve hitting balls with sticks, bats or mallets similar to the bats and clubs in the American cultural games of golf or baseball.

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