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8 Most Popular Childhood Games You Stopped Playing

On January 14th it’s the occasion of ‘Makar Sankranti’. It identifies a period of enlightenment, peace, prosperity and happiness followed by a period of darkness, ignorance and viciousness with immense sorrow. The six months of northern movement of the sun is followed by six months of southern movement.

It is celebrated with pomp in south India as Pongal, and in Punjab as Maghi, whereas in Gujarat, the celebrations are even bigger and known as Uttarayan.

People offer their colorful oblations to the Sun in the form of beautiful kites. In the rural and coastal areas, cock fight is held and is a prominent event of the festival.

Swimming down the memory lanes on the games, we enjoyed to play as kids. From quiet some time we observed that these Indian traditional festivals and games are losing their significance as we are adopting the western culture in the name of technology.

Sadly, though this generation has lack of time, or the place to play these games. Their time is spent in front of television, video game or probably surfing internet. In their favor, most of the vacant spots are also taken up by buildings, malls or parks.

I guess, many of the terms or name of the game that I use may not be the same in other parts of India but more or less, I am sure that all our readers can relate to them one way or the other.

Let us read about and try to identify, how many of these games and celebrations are still around us.

Some of these are almost extinct games.

Lattu (Spinning Top)

spinning-topimage credit

Spinning top or Lattu was once the most popular street game of India. It is still played in some of the inner colonies of old city area of Udaipur, lattu is a part of life for children in Indian villages. The game involves spinning a lattu (top) – a solid ‘turnip shaped’ wooden toy with a grooved lower half with two nails dug at the top and the bottom. A cotton string is wrapped around the lower half of the ‘lattu’ to make it spin.


Gilli –Danda

gilli-dandaimage credit

Playing cricket or baseball with sticks instead of bat or ball is exactly what Gilli Danda is all about. It is called ‘Dānggőli’ in Bangla, ‘Vhinni-dandu’ in Kannada, ‘Viti-dandu’ in Marathi, ‘Kitti-pullu’ in Tamil, and ‘Gootibilla’ in Telugu. This sport is generally played in the rural and small towns of India. The game is played with a gilli and danda, which are both wooden sticks. The danda is longer (suitably handmade by the player) which one can swing easily. The gilli is smaller and is tapered on both sides. There is no standard length defined for the danda or gilli. Usually, however, the gilli is 3 to 6 inches long. This is a very popular game among boys in villages of India. It is similar to the most popular game cricket .The game replaces the cricket ball by gilli. The objective of the sport is to use the danda (used like a baseball bat) to strike the gilli (similar to striking a ball in the game cricket) and flew it in the ground.


Kite Flying


image credit

Kite flying is one of the most popular and romantic games of India as well in Asia. Kites, known as ‘patang’ in India and the thread used is called ‘Manjha’, a glass coated line, and each flier attempts to cut every other kite out of the sky. The kite flying festival is celebrated on the eve of ‘Makar Shankranti’ in Jaipur as well as Gujarat state of India. Best in rest of India this game is struggling to save its long and historic existence.



satoliyaimage credit

This game is loved by the maximum number boys and girls; it is a funny simple and inexpensive game. It needs seven small flat stones; every stone size should be less than the other stone. Put these stones over another in decreasing order its looks like a small tower then hit it by cloths made hand ball form a fixed distance. Any number of people can play it. This game is also known as Pithoo in some regions of India.


Kancha (Goti)

goti-kanchaimage credit

Once famous as a Gully sport, kancha was favorite of many young boys in town and villages nearby. It has its own modus operandi; it is played using marbles called ‘Kancha’. The players are to hit the selected target ‘kancha’ using their own marble ball. The winner takes all Kanchas of rest of the players.




‘Kabbadi’ is an ancient traditional game played 4,000 years ago. To play this game, 12 people are needed on each opposing team in a play area of around 12.5m x 10m.  There are no actual records of its origin, but historians strongly believe that this game was developed to help Indian soldiers to improve their self-defense skills. Each team occupies opposite halves of the field. It is basically a combative sport, with seven players on the field at a time, while the other five are reserves. However Kabbadi has been recognized as an international sport but still it lacks that charm it was carrying years before.


Chupa Chuppi


image credit

This game is also known as hide-n-seek. This however needed all the participants to be caught. The moment one guy is caught he joins and try to catch the other hidden participants. Each caught participant   joins and the chain gets longer.




A famous dialogue in a movie says “Carrom ramvanu, juice pivanu, majja nee life” means it is a jolly game. But a sport has to stand on its own feet. Carrom was a popular indoor game few years back. It is more similar to marbles. The game is believed to have originated hundreds of years ago, although the precise region where carrom originated is unknown, but still it is believed that it was first played in either India or nearby country. Carrom is a game that requires hand skill, practice and confidence. It can be played with a team of two or even single player.


Isn’t it nostalgic and Lovable? Although we are in 21st century but we must spare some time for all round development of the human personality. As we know, present competitive age is not offering a family to sit together and to come close to each other, getting a chance to visit some garden or play some childhood game. This is leading to yet another potential threat to society, but present topic is not for the society but of us. I am sure after reading this; many of you would have gone down to those memory lanes and recalled those beautiful moments again.

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  1. Manoj Mohanani says

    Oh dear friend Abrar,
    You took me down the memory lane with all the same emotions and feelings. Alas we can’t return there for things to be enjoyed are meant only for once. But one thing is sure that these memories are going to linger forever. In one sense ‘we’ the generation may be viewed by the today’s generation as engaging in prehistoric games but ‘we’ only know the simplicity, cost effectiveness and hence omnipresence of these games that literally brought children from all the classes together on the field because these games were so simple and so down to earth that even today the mere mention of ‘gili-danda’ reminds me of the aroma of the soil that came out as we dug the soil to mark the start point.

    Gone are the days of being in touch with the ‘maati’ and gone are the true secular days with the demise of these games. Todays games are individualistic and designed as per economic class’ needs which fail to bind siblings and peers and hence incapable of called as games. ‘Our games’ brought awareness about special traits and abilities of our peers and we subconsciously respected who really excelled in a particular game and that in turn encouraged us to enter into a really positive competition with that excellent peers. Thats why whenever we recall a particular game based event we recall all the peers associated with that game, the leaders, the challengers and those innocent little cheatings that did result in some quarrels but these quarrels themselves are now the spice and flavor of those memories.

    Alas! todays generations have been deprived of all this fun and sporty brotherhood. I wish today’s generations shall at least enjoy these games once even at the cost of tagging us ‘prehistoric players’ and we will still be happy for that nostalgic winding down the memory lane.

  2. Ashish says

    playing these type of games was real fun which you cant get on video games or playstations…the present generation kids are caught with cartoons on TV or video games… which is not at all helping them to develop their personality – physically & mentally.

  3. says

    Dear friend manoj…although we have not met…but you have given me thetrue reward of writing .My aim was to touch ..and recall a feeling ..for some nostalgic moments. and it seems that you proved me..thank s from the bottom of my heart.
    thank you

    • Katya says

      thank you very much for the article! I am sure it is much more than nostalgic moments, it is a collective memory and heritage.
      I am an artist from Russia and I do a research about children games all over the world which explore landscape. I would like to invite people to collaborate in this project and all together we will create a big resource of forgotten, but very important games.
      Contemporary world forgot how to live in piece with nature, that’s why we have to remember how to be responsible.
      If you have some games to talk about please don’t hesitate to contact me. Here is my site and contacts http://craftsova.com/art.html

  4. Puneet Sahalot says

    I am lucky that I played all of these games.
    My dad taught me how to spin a “lattu” :)

  5. says

    Dear Abrar,
    Nice article with a nice subject. Brings back my childhood memories of hide and seek which you can play on growing up but people may doubt your sanity. Kite flying is a passion.
    But you made a small mistake there.
    The image you are using for sitoliya is showing more then 7 stones.
    I hope next time you will select images carefully.

  6. nishant jha says

    dear abrar
    really you have done a great work.You took me to the times when there was no pressure.Those were the days when we use to play gilli danda a lot.Once i got hurt with gilli.After reading your articles it seems like again all the memories are revived and again i want to play chuppa chuppi,gilli dandakancha and other childhood games.I agree with manoj that today games are made as per economic class which fails to unite children.They fail to make a forever friendship bond.

  7. Manoj Kumar says

    Yes, Abrar You have done a fabulous job to recollect all the traditional games.Some of them are still in vogue in rural areas but not in urban. I hope that you will keep on writing about these kind of issues. best of luck for next time.

  8. Kavita Pal says

    Hi Abrar,
    I came across your blog while I was doing some research to present a talk about India to my 7 year old sons class. It brought back memories from my childhood and I remembered playing a game Gitthi I think. Where we had to pick up flat stones, flick them and catch them on the back of our hand. The person who could flick the most amount of stones won.
    Thanks a lot, made my morning.
    Good Luck


  9. jazzleen says

    u have wrote many things . I really thank u but plz explain it how it plays !!!!!

  10. Viral Raval says


    I liked all the valuable information and interest of all. I am a Ph.d student and have taken up “Fusion of Yoga And Bharatiya Games” as my topic. If any knowledge regarding this you have you can mail me.


  11. Parmanand says

    Do you what is the name of that game in this game we throw stone in the water and it jumps more than three times
    if you know it’s name please write somthing about that

    Parmanand from chhindwara MP

  12. Lakshmi says

    thanks for this blog!!
    i have grown up playing these games…
    presently searching…just to remind my brother….how we grew playing….enjoying…fighting…consoling…caring for each other….
    but then i realised…
    these days….
    i’v been stopping my son from playing all these games….
    and how stupid i’v been doing that….
    for i am depriving my child of the happiness….that we once felt…and could feel that even today…when i am 37!!
    thanks for…reminding me and making me realize…the true happiness :-)

  13. says

    Dear Abrar,
    You made us to remember our old time simple inexpensive games we used to play.Allmost all of them
    Thank you so much

  14. Rajesh Bisht says

    Abrar Bhai, In games ko dekh ker aisa laga jaise bohut saalo ke baad koi bachpan ka dost mila ho. I played all these game even may more. Thanks a lot.

  15. narasimha murthy kalluri says

    thanks a lot for posting such helpful items .even i have recollected the games and guided to my kid timely.



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