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Children around the world engage in games that improves their mental and physical skills. There are several games in France that may not sound familiar, but the games are variations of games that American children play. These games are common throughout France and require one to 20 players.
Exchange is typically played by French children ranging in ages nine to 12 years old. The game requires at least 10 children or more. Children sit in a circle of chairs and are each assigned a number. One child stands in the middle of the chairs blindfolded, and calls out two of the assigned numbers. The children whose numbers are called must exchange places while the blindfolded child tries to take one of the empty seats. Whoever is left without a chair is the next child to be blindfolded in the middle. No player may leave the circle at any time throughout the game.
Escargot, which means snail in English, is a French variation of hopscotch. Children use small rocks or sidewalk chalk to draw a snail-shaped play area with lines about 12 inches apart in 15 to 20 squares. The squares are numbered from the inside out so that "1" is in the centre. Using a flat stone, the scotch, each player tosses the scotch to the number "1" square. All players hop on one foot through all of the numbers in numerical order to the middle, ensuring they do not touch any lines. Once in the middle, they can rest on both feet, pick up their scotch and then hop out the same way they entered. If the play is successfully completed, the player chooses a square to initial which then becomes that player's rest spot, in addition to the centre "1" square. Other players must jump over all initialled squares that are not their squares. The game continues until it is impossible for players to complete their turn. The player with the most initialled squares wins the game.
French children play the game of bilboquet by throwing a tethered object into the air, and catch it in a cup. Only one player can play at a time. This game is commonly referred to as; catch the ball in the cup, in the U.S. Some children perform tricks using the bilboquet game, similar to tricks performed with a yo-yo.
Boules, also known as Pétanque, is very similar to Italian bocce. French children throw metallic balls toward a cochonnet (small target ball), one player at a time. A player's ball may be knocked out of the way by another player at any time. After all of the players have completed their toss, the player whose ball is closest to the target ball wins the round.
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