Children’s games in ancient China

During ancient times, children didn’t have smart phones, ipads or computers to entertain them. Instead, they came up with interesting games to play in their childhood. Let’s take a look.

In my country it’s a time when people of all ages can take a break from their everyday, dress up in full costume and dance in the street!

This is carnival in Greece and my grandson Tom is Chinese child for this year!

Let’s see the games that Chinese children used to play!!!

Stone balls

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), kicking a stone ball around was a popular sport in the northern part of China, and it was often played in the winter to keep warm. Stones were carved into small balls and kicked along with feet.

In 1999, the sport was included in the competition item in the 6th National Ethnic Group Traditional Sports Meeting held in Beijing.

Flying kites

Kites have quite a long history. The earliest kites were made of wood, instead of paper. Nowadays, the three most famous kites are the Beijing kite, Tianjin kite and Weifang kite, which each has distinctive features. The swallow-shaped kite is a well-known Beijing style.


Hide-and-seek is a traditional game for children, popular around the nation. There are two ways to play: covering a child’s eyes while other kids run around to tease him or, more commonly, participants hide and one child must try to find them.

Watching shadow plays

The closest thing to watching a film or television for entertainment during ancient times was going to see a shadow play. Folk artists manipulate puppets behind the screen, narrating stories and accompanyied by music. During the Qing Dynasty, shadow play art reached its peak, and was staged for each major occasion.

Shadow play was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2006, and was added to the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list in 2011.

Playing diabolo

Diabolo is always made of wood or bamboo and is hollow in the center. By juggling diabolo on ropes, the high-speed rotating diabolo will make a sound.

Playing diabolo is a very interesting folk game, especially popular in North China. Through many changes, it has become an item in Chinese traditional acrobatics. Playing diabolo was also included in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage in 2006.


Firecrackers have a history of more than 2,000 years. It is said that there was a beast named Nian in ancient China, and to scare off the beast, people burnt bamboo joints to make it blast. After gunpowder was invented, it gradually replaced the bamboo joint cracker. Crackers are still set off during Spring Festival to symbolize auspiciousness.

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28 comments on “Children’s games in ancient China

    • I think there is something important about these traditional games that cannot simply be dismissed as rose-tinted, sepia-toned nostalgia. And I think the time is right to revisit these games and breathe new life into them.

      Thank you for your kind words Anitha!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Υπέροχη ιδέα να ντυθεί ο Θωμάκος “αρχαίο” Κινεζάκι… όσο για τα τότε παιχνίδια πολλές ιδέες μπορούν να προκύψουν! 😛

    ΑΦιλάκια τρυφερά και καλή μας βδομάδα! 🙂


    • Το 1560 ο Βέλγος ζωγράφος Pieter Bruegel ζωγράφισε έναν πίνακα γεμάτο παιδιά που παίζουν, τον ονόμασε “παιδικά παιχνίδια”….το 1984 ο Σταμάτης Κραουνάκης και η Λίνα Νικολακοπούλου έκαναν τα παιδικά παιχνίδια τραγούδι. ,με το Γιώργο Μαρίνο.

      Φιλάκια πολλά καλή εβδομάδα!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG!! Efi!! He is soooo adorable!!! Look at him and his sweet outfit! I love it! Something tells me he had a blast!! ❤️😍

    Flying kites, hide and seek… those games bring back memories. Things were so simple back then, but man was it fun! I wish people did that more now. Less technology, more simple fun!


  3. Γλυκύτατος ο εγγονός! Βάζω στοίχημα οτι η δημιουργική καλλιτέχνισσα γιαγιά του είναι εκείνη που έφτειαξε τα υπέροχα ρουχαλάκια του, τα κινέζικα…Είναι και πολύ ταλαντούχα και εμπνευσμένη η γιαγιά Έφη μου! Να τον χαίρεστε!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Xaxa!!! Καλημέρα Βεατρίκη μου!!! Αν μπορούσα να φτιάχνω τέτοια ρούχα θα ήμουν ευτυχής…

      Όχι είναι από ένα ταξίδι της θείας του πριν χρόνια στην Κίνα και τα είχε πάρει για το δικό της παιδί…. πέρσυ ήταν μωρό και του ήταν μεγάλα .. φέτος του ήρθαν “κουτί”!!!!

      Σε ευχαριστώ για τα καλά σου λόγια πάντως και σε φιλώ !!!!!!!


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