Youth

How traditional activities & games helped develop Kids for lifetime of Physical Activities

Anirudh Singh - 14 Apr 2022 11:35


I was a very active child during my childhood. Full of energy and enthusiasm to participate in any and every activity. While I used to play a lot of structured sports such as cricket, football, badminton, TT or tennis as the season we used to be in, there were a lot of unstructured activities involved as well. Obviously, one can only play cricket or football while the daylight was optimum and when the sun used to set we moved on to other activities. The games and activities I used to play and participate in (I think many of you 80’s & 90’s kids can also relate to) were Pitthu Fod, Kabbadi, Kho kho, Gulli Danda, Langdi Taang, etc. Many of the activities we indulged in depended on the resources we had at hand. For example if we did not have the bat and only the ball then we used to play Pitthu Fod.

Actually, my idea of writing this article is to not to give you information about something you already know but to enlighten you about the long lasting Physical health benefits of these activities we participated in. Someone who has played these games during their formative years (5 to 15) would have highly developed physical Literacy Skills. You don’t believe me ? Let me explain

Lets take one game at a time.

Note: The name of the activity might differ from region to region but most activities were played all across India in various forms


Pitthu Fod

During the 80's & 90’s, unlike today where almost every middle class child would have all the sports gear, not everyone used to have a cricket bat. So, we shared the responsibility, if one person would have had the bat then the others shared the responsibility of getting the ball on a turn to turn basis. Further, on days the “Bat’ guy would not come then the next team game to play was “Pitthu Fod’. It was always fun. To play this game you not only need a good target skill and catching skill but you also need great agility and body control to avoid being hit by a ball. Plus it helped us increase our awareness and increase our ability to multitask as you would try to pile the stones up while trying to avoid the ball. An added life skill we learnt was the value of teamwork

Skills : Upper Body Object Control, Agility, Power

Check Pitthu Fod on Wikipedia

Gilli Danda

One game for which I got a lot of scolding from my mom was Gulli Danda (this story for another day). Always considered to be poor man’s cricket (at least during our childhood). However, it is quite a skillful game to play. Around our native village there used to be an Inter-village tournament during the Dussehra fair. It was hugely popular. To play this game well one needs excellent Upper Body object control and good hand eye coordination. Furthermore, many kids in the village used to learn counting while playing this game

Skills:Upper Body Object Control, Hand Eye Coordination

Check Gilli Danda on Wikipedia

Kabbadi

Inarguably my most favourite desi sport till date (Proud to call it a sport now) . This was a sport we used to play as a show of strength around our neighbourhood. We used to organise an inter-block tournament from which whatever money we used to win would go into sports equipment fund. While for Gulli Danda my mom scolded me, Kabbadi led her to beat me up many times. All thanks to a lot of torn shirts. You know, this sport helps in improving the most important Musculoskeletal Function of our body, the Grip Strength. A Good grip strength is attributed to long and injury free life (Study). Other functions included, overall strength, lower & upper body strength, agility and many more

Skill: Grip Strength, upper body strength, Agility


Kho Kho

My second favourite desi team sport after kabbadi. This was the only game where we used to compete with girls of our neighbourhood. This game played a huge part in improving my agility as you needed to change directions at a fast pace. It improved Power: one needed a burst of power to take off for a fast sprint to avoid being caught. Power is attributed to longevity of lower limb function. Study

Skill: Agility, Endurance, Coordination, power


Kanche

One of the most skillful games one can play. This game needed a small space and this is one of the games you can enjoy as a spectator as well. I always enjoyed this game. We used to play this whenever we could not play any other sport due to our ground being taken over by a wedding or a religious function. This game helps in improving fine motor skill and hand eye coordination

Skill: Fine motor Skills, hand eye coordination

Check Kanche here

Landi Taang

This is the activity which has transcended generations. Now it has a modern name:Hopscotch. It used to be one of our favourite indoor sports during summer holidays when the sun used to beat down heavily. What we needed were squares on the floor and a flat piece of stone and our hours would pass in a blink of an eye. This game helped us improve our lower body strength, Balance & stability and overall body coordination.

Skill: Balance, Stability, lower body strength


These were some games we used to play in our childhood and I bet many of my excellent physical skills are a direct result of my participation in these games. I ended up playing a lot of sports (many I took up there only) in my college thanks to the skills I gained during my formative years. I only wish that our current generation could have enjoyed these sports. Nowadays their unstructured activities are very refined and far less physical.

Let me know what you think, in your comments.

So what was your favourite game ?


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