Children's Games in Ghana

Written by kristen marquette
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Children's Games in Ghana
Ghanaian games give young children an informal education. (kids playing in the dirt image by Tammy Mobley from

In Ghana, parents pass down the games they played as children to their own kids. These games help preserve Ghanaian culture as well as educating, socialising and entertaining children. Children often play games after dinner with other children from their town or village. Some games are only played by one gender.

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Played only by boys, Antoakyire resembles the game Duck, Duck Goose and can incorporate up to 20 players. Before beginning the game, boys choose one "safe" place or object, such as a nearby tree, and one of the boys volunteers to be the leader. Next, all the boys except the leader sit in a circle--in chairs or on the ground. Each child then holds a piece of cloth with a knot tied in one end. The boys remain seated as the leader runs behind them and leads them in a song. While running, he discreetly places his cloth on the ground behind one of the boys. This part of the game teaches the leader to be inconspicuous and the boys in the circle to be aware of their surroundings.

If the chosen boy notices the cloth behind him, he must leave his position in the circle and chase the leader. If the boy tags the leader, he may reclaim his position in the circle. If the leader runs one full circle around the boys without getting tagged, he claims the chosen boy's position in the circle. The chosen boy then becomes the leader.

If the chosen boy does not realise the cloth has been placed on the ground behind him and the first player runs all the way around the circle without being chased, all the other players leave the circle and begin hitting the chosen boy until he runs to the designated safe place. Once he reaches the safe place, the boys begin a new game with the boy who got hit as the leader.

Kwaiara Franga

Similar to Tic Tac Toe, in Kwaiara Franga---also called Sunday's Flag---two players draw a rectangle on the ground using chalk. Two diagonal lines cut through the rectangle to connect the corners. The players use 12 rocks or marbles as game pieces and alternate turns. Let's say one player uses red marbles and the other player uses blue marbles. Player 1 puts one of her red marbles in one of the four triangles inside the rectangle. To win, player one needs to gets three of her red marbles into one of the triangles. Each triangle cannot contain more than three marbles. Player two needs to place three of her marbles into one of the triangles to win as well, but she also needs to prevent player one from winning. So during her turn, she can either block the first player by placing one blue marble in the same triangle as the red marble or she can set her marble down in a different triangle to try to win. The two players continue to alternate turns, placing one marble at a time until someone wins or each player has used her 12 marbles. The game can end in two ways: one player wins with three of her marbles in one triangle or a stalemate in which neither player gets three of her coloured marbles in one triangle.


Children play Pombo using seven stones. In this Ghanaian version of American jacks, a child tosses one of the stones in the air while trying to pick up one of the rocks on the ground. She must pick up the stone and catch the other stone before it hits the ground. The next time she must throw the stone and pick up two rocks from the ground before catching the falling stone. She continues to do this until she has picked up all the stones.

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