Something old, for something new

Seetha Anand Vaidyam and Usha Raman

Play has always been considered an important aspect of life. Hence the proverbial Jack becomes a dull boy if he is does not play. Free play in the early years, imitative play in the later years and instructive play for young adults has been shown to foster creativity and self-learning. The need for play continues into adulthood as an important way to channelize our creative energies and to relax, or sometimes to stimulate. Games, which represent one kind of playful activity, have evolved through the centuries and represent the variety of ways in which cultures across the world have amused and engaged themselves. Every region, every culture and sub-culture, has its own storehouse of games of different kinds — outdoor, indoor, single-player, multi-player, mind games, board games, and so on. In other words, games provide an important way of learning about society and culture. Studying games has always been a favourite anthropological activity. So why not encourage your students to become anthropologists for a short while and investigate the “cultural archive” that traditional games represent?

This project lays out some ways in which we can engage with traditional games, enjoy them and learn from them. The theme can work well across grade levels, and can be adapted to work within a variety of teaching units. While social studies may be the most obvious subject area to accommodate a project on games, there are aspects of science, math and language that also come in when playing or studying games.

Seetha Anand Vaidyam is an Early Childhood Curriculum Developer, Trainer, and Remedial Therapist. She works through Ananda, a Foundation for holistic and healthy learning and living. She can be reached at

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