Traditional Filipino Games [Benefits]

Traditional Filipino games have been shown to benefit kids’ cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development.

traditional filipino games
Photo credit: Mi Pham on Unsplash

Hence, it is distressing to see most children miss out on these benefits associated with traditional games. You can blame it on the gadgets kids have at home.

They spend most of their time staring at screens for hours on end instead of playing games with their peers. Thus, rather than learning the value of sportsmanship, honesty, friendship, and cooperation from traditional games, children are learning distorted values online.

They are often exposed to harmful content, adversely impacting their attitudes and behaviors.

Additionally, children don’t get as much physical activity as they used to. We must be reminded that children living sedentary lives are at high risk of suffering from poor blood circulation. The result can be a host of health issues.

Hence, if we wish to raise healthy and responsible children or unspoil an overindulged child, we must limit their access to gadgets by engaging them in nostalgic childhood games we used to play when we were kids.

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The Benefits of Traditional Filipino Games

The virtue of sportsmanship

With conventional Filipino games, children develop the virtue of sportsmanship, as they will learn to accept responsibilities when called out.

Thus, playing traditional games with peers will train them to control their impulses when under pressure and display patience, respect, and cooperation with playmates.

Traditional Filipino games promote social interaction.

According to a study, children today lack social skills compared to previous generations.

Children who are cooped up at home with their gadgets have fewer opportunities for social interaction. As a consequence, kids become socially inept and have difficulty conversing with others.

Playing games with peers, however, forces children to interact and mingle, enhancing their social skills as a result.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle for kids

Sedentary lifestyles that keep kids glued to screens for hours can damage their health. Playing with siblings or peers will keep them physically active and healthy.

Through games, children learn honesty and integrity.

Playing traditional games with peers involves following the rules of the game. Children are required to admit blunders and take responsibility when making mistakes.

Develop children’s sense of responsibility, teamwork, and cooperation

Traditional Filipino games require each player to contribute to the team’s success. As a result, a sense of responsibility, teamwork, and cooperation is developed at an early age.

They will also learn what it means to follow directions and adhere to guidelines, enabling them to practice the discipline of following the rules.

Considering all the behavioral issues children face today, let’s make traditional games part of their daily routine to shape them into the person we aspire them to be.

filipino children
Photo credit: Robert Collins on Unsplash

Examples of Filipino Traditional Games for Kids 

  1. Jackstone

You will need a small rubber ball and a set of stones or jacks to play this game.

The rules of the game are as follows:

  • Spread the jacks around on the surface and then toss the ball into the air as you grab one jack or stone. 
  • Catch the ball after it bounces once on the surface. 
  • Continually repeat this process until all the jacks and stones are collected. 

Fouls are called if the player fails to pick up the stone on time or the ball bounces twice.

Each player starts with a set of stones or jacks, and as the game progresses, additional actions are used to increase the challenge.

Caution: toddlers should not play this game unattended as they may swallow the small items.

  1. Luksong tinik

You will see a group of boys and girls gathered in a long line, waiting for their turn to jump over the “tinik.” To make the tinik higher, the kids alternately place their feet and hands on top of each other.

The player should jump higher when the height of the tinik is raised further to avoid touching it.

  • Two teams of equal number of players participate in the game. For each team, the Nanay is the leader, whereas the Anak are the players. 
  • Those who play the “Nanay” role are generally the ones who can leap the highest. A player sits on the ground while other players jump over the “tinik” as the game proceeds.

Overcoming the tinik [ fingers – referred to as tinik or thorns] requires jumping over them and crossing to the other side untouched.

  1. Chinese Garter

A popular game played primarily by grade school children, Chinese Garter is a game that calls for a great deal of agility, balance, and coordination. 

Here is a brief description of how the game works.


  • Two people must hold both ends of the horizontally stretched garter.
  • Once the garter is in place, the opposing players jump over it to reach the other side. 
  • The main objective is for the player to cross the garter without getting tripped up.

    Every time a new round is completed, the height of the garter increases by one inch.

    The garter is usually put on at ankle level, then moved up to knee level, and so on, until it reaches the head.

In the higher rounds of the game, agility is crucial for players. 

As a rule, the Chinese Garter game is set at 10 levels. However, you are not required to cover all levels, as players can choose how many tiers to play. 

The different levels are:

Level 1 – The garter is held on the feet, close to the ground.

Level 2 – Knee-high

Level 3 – Hip height

Level 4 – Waist high

Level 5 – chest high

Level 6 – Over the shoulder

Level 7 – Head High

Level 8 – Tip of the head

Level 9 – Just above the head

Level 10 – The kids raise their arms up into the air holding the garter.

Caution: please don’t let your child play the higher levels of the game. It may be risky. Even kids with good physical agility and reflexes struggle to get through the 9th level.

  1. Hide and Seek

Quite self-explanatory, as you’re quite familiar with how this works. Just a word of caution though.

Always check the safety of hiding spots. There may be broken glasses or snakes or what have you lurking in the yard or even inside the home. I remember seeing a snake behind our living room couch when I was a kid. 

Good thing I wasn’t bitten as the snake was rolled into a coil with its head inside. Thank goodness, I managed to flee unnoticed.

  1. Sipa

Two teams of players play the game with a small ball, usually, a bunch of rubber bands bound into a ball.

Steps on how to play Sipa

  • The Sipa is tossed upwards using only the leg, specifically from the foot up to the knee area.
  • The player must prevent the Sipa from touching the ground by hitting it multiple times. Every hit counts.
  • The player who kicks the Sipa the most wins. 
  1. Patintero

Patintero is an outdoor game played by teams with an equal number of players.

In this game, the objective is to gain access to the opposing team’s base without being tackled by their guards.

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Played on a rectangular court, two teams line up on opposite sides. One team scores points if they cross the dividing line without being tagged by the other team. 

There is a three-minute limit on the team crossing the boundary.

Players from opposing teams generally form a human barrier to prevent their opponents from crossing the lines.

And as they patrol the territory, they also need to tap their opponents’ shirts to keep them from crossing over. 

The team scores points and switches positions if one of their teammates gets to tap an opponent’s shirt.

The winning team will then attempt to cross the boundaries while the opposing team will form a barrier to prevent them from crossing the marked lines.

Here is a link to a video on how kids can play patintero.

Make Time for Outdoor Play

If you live in an unsafe neighborhood and must confine your child indoors for safety reasons, set up playdates for your child with your friends’ kids.

In addition to keeping a close eye on your kids, you can also monitor their activities while bonding with your friends.

Important Note:

It’s crucial to note that children should only engage in activities appropriate to their age and developmental level. Providing age-appropriate activities in all stages of development helps children develop to their full potential.


If your child is suffering from a medical condition that prohibits him from engaging in strenuous activities, you may want to consult a doctor before letting him play games with other kids.

Also, children who are not used to participating in games that require a great deal of physical effort tend to be accident-prone. Thus, we should have our children warm up before playing any game that involves a lot of physical exertion.