This blog is a story about traditional sports, games and plays (TSG)

gry tradycyjne dla dzieci

The values of traditional games

Playing games, having fun together has always been something special. The greatest civilizations attributed huge importance to games. They have inspired philosophers, thinkers, poets and have accompanied the mankind at every stage of history.

Their richness on our planet is amazing. Probably, there has never been and will never be any human community that would not be fascinated by the world of sports, games and plays.

Is their value still so high today? What can they give us?

In the next articles I will be answering these questions and I will be bringing you closer to this exciting world of traditional games.

Here, I would like to show a couple of their important values.

Traditional games are fun!

Let’s start with this. Why have fun? Just for fun! This, apparently obvious, truth is sometimes missing in our thinking about traditional games. We focus on specific values and practical applications of sports, games and plays. We ask – what they can give us.

These are of course the right questions – I am going to write about it, because it is really important. However, we should start from the simplest things:

Traditional sports, games and plays (TSG) are just a good fun.

TSG give us:

  • a lot of joy, laugh, physical movement as a natural human need,
  • a smile on the faces of children and adults,
  • the most beautiful emotions.

People have experienced it many times during my practical activities from traditional games for children and adults.

Children enjoy playing, which is at least as important today as it was in the past. It seems to be even more significant now.

 dzieci graja w pierscieniowke

Joy, laugh and fun – that’s what traditional games are about

Sports, games and plays are a great way of spending valuable and active time together

In the current world – the era of technology, computers, the Internet and so on we are threatened by a sedentary lifestyle. This is a problem for all of us, but especially for children. The consequences may be disastrous.

Meanwhile, thanks to the simple games and plays, you can spend your time in an active, interesting and creative way, both in the open air as well as inside – playing indoor, at many sport centres or even at home.

Education through play

Traditional sports, games and plays are a real school of life. They teach import social skills:

  • good cooperation in a group,
  • healthy competition,
  • responsibility for other participants of play etc.
  • preparation for positive dealing with failures and problems and drawing conclusions from them,
  • proper interpersonal communication etc.

They educate people to understand better how important is to be active for their physical, mental an social health.

Moreover, thanks to experiencing games from different cultures, children and adults learn tolerance, respect for the others and simply get to know the world.

Dzieci skladaja przysiege przed zawodami w bretonskich zapasach

Traditional sport teaches good habits – 
children are taking an oath of loyalty and honesty before their competitions in Gouren (wrestling) in French Brittany

Traditional games and their role in family and peer integration

Thanks to TSG, people can integrate. This applies to:

  • the integration of parents with children,
  • children with each other,
  • the older generations with the younger ones,
  • people with disabilities with the able-bodied
  • many other participants or groups with each other
Integracja miedzypokoleniowa na igrzyskach sportow tradycyjnych w Szkocji

Intergenerational integration at the Highland Games and Gatherings in Scotland

Parents and grandparents, who remember “the old days” when they were running around the backyard, playing simple games, can show now their children how important it was and still is for their development, health and just fun. Play is a joy for everyone.

Pierscieniowka - swietna rozrywka rodzinna

Polish Ringnetball – a great game for families

sporty tradycyjne sa swietne dla osob starszych

Traditional sports are also good for seniors!

Games are healthy!

Scientific research, conducted among others in Poland and Spain, has proven that traditional games have a positive impact on various aspects of health.

improve eye-hand coordination, strength, agility and the overall physical fitness. This applies to children and the elderly, as well as to special target groups, e.g. women after mastectomy. It has been proven that traditional games can increase the level of their physical activity.

When it comes to children, research conducted by the Catalan scientist Pere Lavega has shown that these children, who had a special, regular programme of physical activity with traditional games, have achieved a real improvement of important health factors, including the reduction of excessive body weight and the decrease of the so-called “bad” cholesterol.

• TSG can also improve mental health. It has been proven that they positively develop the emotional dimension of human life.

They help you learn more about your strengths and weaknesses, control your emotions, overcome life difficulties and better identify your physical abilities and limitations,. They are just positive emotions!

These games also help build social bonds, dialogue between people, interpersonal relationships and integration of different age and gender groups.

gry tradycyjne to wspaniala rozrywka rodzinna

Family integration – traditional games are wonderful for everyone

You can see that at the various events, festivals, fiestas, holidays etc. These games are an integral part of them all around the world. The examples are festivals in Italy, Scotland, the Basque Country, Denmark, Spain, France, Brittany, Russia or Poland (and much more), which I will be describing in the subsequent articles. Here, the game is an integral part of festivals or fiestas, enriching them with cultural sports experience.

TSG have a significant impact on intercultural dialogue and integration. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the world’s cultural diversity. I am going to write more about it in the articles about World Sport for All Games and I European Sport for All Games in which I took an active part in Lithuania (2012) and the Netherlands (2018).

integracja międzykulturowa na igrzyskach sportow tradycyjnych - Litwa, 2012

Intercultural integration at the World Sport for All Games – Lithuania, 2012

Plays, games and sports are a tourist attraction

Traditional sports, games and plays create also many interesting opportunities for the development of tourism – especially cultural and sports tourism.

When you visit some countries and take part in local festivals and other cultural events, you can sometimes experience them in practice. Thanks to that, you can get to know better with this important element of culture of a given community, region or country.

TSG are a very interesting and attractive element of such a tourist experience. Tourists learn more about sport cultural traditions.

Traditional sports are a new quality

Traditional sports, games and plays are better and better “fitting” to the needs of the contemporary world.

Nowadays, when the importance of spontaneous, physical play is growing again, traditional sports and games are a solution to the problem of the exclusiveness of the elite sport, which, in an active form, is only available to a small group of professional players.

Meanwhile, traditional games are for everyone.

TSG is a model of sport for the future – an important alternative to the modern, professional sport, focused on competition and results.

Traditional sports are a cultural heritage, a source of positive experiences and emotions through an active participation of all people in play. They also build a mutual, interpersonal respect.

At the same time, traditional sports and games are not just a “museum relict”, not a regression, but a progression – a new quality: sport for everyone, more inclusive and integrative.

To sum up, these sports and games have many important functions and satisfy several human needs – such as:

  • taking care of many aspects of health,
  • social integration and inclusion,
  • cultural experience,
  • education,
  • having fun, experience joy and happiness,
  • building respect of each other,
  • cooperation between different people and many others.

Traditional sports and games are vivid!, valuable and practical

The entire world is appreciating them more and more again. It is the right time for it!

In the following articles, I am going to continue the descriptions and presentations of their positive values and various dimensions of their practical functioning and implications in the current world.


The author of this blog, playing Breton type of skittles at the festival of traditional sports in Brittany