Games played by children in Jamaica (Jamaica)




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Jamaican Culture

Games played by children in Jamaica

Published May 1, 2002

The games played by children in Jamaica is a mix of some old-fashioned games with some unique innovations that make them Jamaican. The names of some may be different but they are similar to games played around the world. Some of the most popular games played by children in Jamaica are: "Brown girl in the ring", "Dandy Shandy", "What can you do, Puncienella likkle fella?", "Simon says", "stucky freezy, "stucky ketchy", "mother may I", "1 and 20", "sitings", and "Capture de base". Below is a description of some of these games.

Dandy Shandy
This is a ball game consisting of 3 players (and maybe 4 if possible to be more exciting). This game must be played outdoors in a big/wide open area, preferably on a grass field. For the experts, a bare ground will do.

There are 2 pitchers, each standing on either end and the 3rd player is standing in the middle.

A ball is used for pitching/throwing at speeds up to 120 miles per hour at the player standing in the middle. The "ball" is usually a stuffed 1-pint juice box, stuffed fully with newspaper and the four corners are rounded off.

Dandy Shandy is a very exciting game as the ball is thrown at speeds up to 90 miles per hour by the pitchers towards the 3rd player standing in the middle. This player must do all kinds of gymnastic style airborn jumps and leaps to prevent the ball from hitting her. Also, ducking and side jumping the missile. The game gets extremely exciting as the player in the middle does these acrobatic jumps! You'll usually hear the onlookers shouting out SALAD! as the player in the middle leaps off her feet, legs splayed and skirt flowering up over hear waist.

Dandy Shandy is considered a girls game but boys will often play ~ which makes the game a must see.

(Dandy Shandy is the same as dodge ball only difference is we made our ball out of a oj or milk box stuffed with paper(some of the paper you had to wet it so it would stuff properly)real good for flinging, can you tell I was responsible fi meking de ball.)

Hand Ball
This game bears just some similarity to league Baseball games played in the US but the hands are used in place of a bat.

The game is played with any amount of players and one pitcher.

The ball is usually a newspaper stuffed 1-pint juice rounded off at the four corners. The bases are any immovable object, such as trees, building, a rock stone on the ground or just a visibly marked spot on the ground.

How the game is played --

The Batters are stand in a line. The Pitcher is standing any distance between 5ft to 8ft from first Batter. There are about 3 or 4 infielders who work for the Pitcher.

The Batter throws the ball up in the air and gives it a hefty wack with palm of hand. Once as the ball is out of the Batter's hand, the batter then races to the 1st ... 2nd ... 3rd ... 4th and more bases before making it back to home base (which is the lineup of Batters).

The Pitcher and Infielders make a rush to grab the ball after the Batter hits it his/her hand and pitching/throwing it at the Batter. If the ball hits the Batter before s/he reaches a base, then s/he the Batter is out of the game.

Handball is a team game as the Batters are all on one team and the Pitcher and his Infielders are the other team.

Brown Girl in the Ring
This is a Ring game (no doubt adapted from England).

Players form a ring holding hand, one girl goes into the middle of the ring and starts skipping around to the beat of this little tune -

There's a brown girl in the ring
cha la la la lah
There's a brown girl in the ring
cha la la la lah
There's a brown girl in the ring
cha la la la lah
She looks like a sugar in a plum -- PLUM PLUM

the girl will start doing her favourite bump adn grind dance during this song segment
Show me your motion
cha la la la lah
show me your motion
cha la la lah
show me your motion
cha la la la lah
She looks like a sugar in a plum -- PLUM PLUM

during this segment the girl will pick her partner/friend to join her in the ring

Show me your partner(?)
cha la la la lah
show me your motion
cha la la lah
show me your motion
cha la la la lah
She looks like a sugar in a plum -- PLUM PLUM

Bull Inna Pen
This is a tense, rough and super exciting game, much loved by every child (and adults) in Jamaica.

This game is basically a story of a mother hen and her chicken, a bull in the pen and a hawk.

The mother hen is protecting her brood who are tightly lined up behind her, each little chick clutching tightly onto each other and in step with every move that mother hen does.

The Bull is standing a couple feet in front of mother hen, taunting and jeering, making noise, and trying everything to reach behind Mother Hen to grab one of her precious chicks. The game has a song and little play to hit ... here goes-

BULL: Chick, chick, chick?!
Mother Hen: Mi nuh waan nuh corn!
BULL: Chick, chick, chick?!
Mi nuh waan nuh corn!
BULL: Look pon dah peel head one dey!
Mother Hen: Mek him 'tan' (leave him alone)!
BULL: Look pan dah cross yeye one dey
Mother Hen: Mek him 'tan!
BULL: Look pon dah knock knee one dey!
Mother Hen: Mek him 'tan!

Chick chick chick
Mi nuh waan nuh chick

After the bull exhaust his efforts in grabbing one of Mother Hen's chick, a warning is let out that Bredda Hawk is zooming down to grab one


This game is most fun with upwards of 5 or so children. Sit/stand in a circle with arms comfortably outstretched. Each child should lay there right hand on the upturned palm of the child to their right. (This only sounds complicated )

While spelling s-t-o-p each child uses his right hand to hit the hand of the child on their left. It'll end up in a chain reaction. Naturally it just doesn't go around spelling stop After you spell the word, the next child in line to receive a hand slap (B) will be out if the child whose to do the hitting (A) can succesfully make a hit.

This is where the fun is because child B can move his palm to dodge the hit... the only restriction is that child B's hand must rest on A's left palm. Umm we used to disallow child A from faking a hit... and like child B could only dodge around 3 times before being out. If child A misses three times they're out, and naturally if child B gets hit then they're out.


Special thank to these Community Bulletin Board members who provided the information for this article: Sandif missgoodygoody_69, DC, voyeurman2, devrae
, bulacake, slybabyk, Miss Jacko, bkshottess, britisha, Ms.Laedy, BaggaBoo, missbev

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2 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

craig williams
Sep 23, 2010 7:48pm [ 1 ]

i would like to see a list of jamaican children games

Carleen Stanley
Feb 5, 2011 6:32pm [ 2 ]

Jamaican traditional ring games

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