30 Kids Games that will take the boredom out of school holidays - Go Native with Indigenous Games
School Holidays are challenging for parents one way to connect your with their culture is to introduce them to traditional aboriginal games and activities. Having children play traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait games will also allow the continuity of the culture that was set by our indigenous ancestors.
Let’s look at some of these traditional aboriginal games and activities that you can share with your kids.
This game was played by the Juwalarai people of the Naran River. The Juwalarai are an indigenous tribe from New South Wales. It is similar to rope skipping but with a twist. While skipping, players are also performing activities until he/she makes a mistake. Examples of the actions taken while skipping rope are taking thorns of their feet, digging in the ground, or hopping like a kangaroo.
It is a type of throwing game that is played outdoors. The goal of the game is to hit the target by throwing a ball with a spear. To play the game, the players would need a ball, a spear or a 1 meter stick with a cup at the end and a target mark at the other end. The Battendi was played by the indigenous peoples in the Lake Murray, Lake Alexandria and Lake Albert areas of Southern Australia. Battendi literally means “to throw a spear.”
Draw the starting line and place the target marks at some distance (traditionally 20 meters away). Allow a 10 meter area to throw and run up. If various players use the same target, it is recommended to use different colored balls.
The players stand at the starting line with the spear
At first, the game is distance throwing contest. 3 attempt are given to each player. A method of measuring is made from the throwing line and in a direct line to where the ball lands. The winner is the player that throws the ball the furthest.
Secondly, there is a target contest, which consists in throwing the ball at a target (traditionally representing a kangaroo 20 meters away). The distance to the target however depends on the age of the players. A round of 20 attempts is allowed and the ball must fully hit the target to count. The winner is the player that hits the most targets.
The boogalah is another game that was played by the Juwalarai group of New South Wales. The boogalah is another type of throwing and catching game. When the indigenous kids played it, they used a ball that was made from a sewn-up kangaroo skin. Then, the ball is thrown in the air and whoever catches the ball goes with all of their totem group into the group in the middle with the others are circling around. The ball is thrown into the air until one of the circle outside catches it. Then both groups change positions. The totem keeping the boogalah in play wins.
The game Bubberah means “come back”. The game is played using a boomerang. Each player will have the chance to throw their respective boomerang. Once they have thrown the boomerang they can’t leave their spot. The boomerang that returns closest to the thrower is the winner. Catching the boomerang is even better but you can’t move out of your spot to catch the boomerang. To catch the boomerang, it’s best done between flat hands. An injury to the fingers may happen if the player is caught with only one hand.
To play the game, you would need cones or any object to mark out the area and a ball, the ball traditional made from kangaroo skin stuffed with grass but any ball will do. This type of ball game is played by the Kabi-kabi people of Southern Queensland. The game observers used to mark their cheers by calling out ‘Ei, ei!” This game is a running and ball passing game. Much like basketball or football, the goal is for one player to run with the buroinjin or the ball and fully cross over the score line at the other end of the field to score a touchdown. The game is started or resumed after a goal with a pass by a team from behind their own score line. The player scores a point if they are able to run over the score line with the buroinjin, without being touched by an opponent.
This game is a great Boorah-time entertainment. This game is a traditional wrestling played by family clan against another family clan. Before they start the wrestling match, players’ bodies are greased to make them more slippery. One player will go into a ring and plant a painted stick with a bunch of feathers at the top. The other player will run in the ring and try to make off with the stick. The first player will grapple him and the wrestling match begins. Into the ring, others will join in to for their wrestling turn. The side that finally throws the most men wins.
This traditional game is also called “bowl-ball” and was a common game played by people from Western Australia and Victoria. The goal of the game is to hit the moving object using a ball or spear from a distance. Successful players who hit the moving target will help score points for their team. Efficiency and speed in throwing the spear were quickly learn