Are you old enough to remember playing with dolls, splashing in puddles and climbing trees or walls when you were a child?
The simple pleasures that defined childhood for generations in Malta appear to be dying out as an increasing number of kids today stay indoors and surf the internet instead.
Skipping, hide and seek and ‘tag it’ are the playground games most of us aged over 40 will remember most fondly from our school days.
Games such as cat’s cradle and hopscotch were far more popular with girls, while marbles, rounders, conkers and British Bulldog were the favoured activities for boys.
Hide and seek, kiss chase and tag were popular with all schoolchildren at break-time.
Other traditional Maltese games you might remember are:
Mainly played by boys and possibly still popular today, the game challenges participants to launch a marble ball from a distance at a row of other marbles.
The name of this game translates to ‘the blind chicken’, the titular player being blindfolded and then sent to chase the other players, who would tempt the blindfolded player into catching them over the others. Whoever is caught by the ‘blind chicken’ takes up the role in the next round.
Kids would launch differently coloured beads in a hole in the ground. The last one to successfully throw their bead into the hole would take home the entire set of beads.
A child hits a small piece of wood with a larger plank. As it’s launched in the air, the other players would run to catch it, and whoever succeeds will be the one hitting it once the game starts up again.
A player sits on the floor pretending to stir a pot of boiling water. The other players take turns to ask, “Lupu, Lupu x’inti tagħmel?”, ‘Oh fox, oh fox, what are you doing?’. The ‘fox’ answers that they are boiling a pot of water. They eventually get up and begin to chase the other players – the one who’s caught plays the role of the ‘fox’ in the next round.