El Fuerte – an extraordinary Museum of Traditional Games in Spain

Project OPPORTUNITY – traditional games for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and gender equality

In November 2022, in the Spanish town of Almunia de Dona Godina, I participated as an expert in traditional sports of the Institute for the Development of Sport and Education (IRSiE) in a meeting as part of the OPPORTUNITY project.

We discussed the most important issues, regarding the created results of the project, especially the MOOC – a comprehensive online course on traditional sports and games.

The course is now available for everyone FOR FREE at: https://cooperation.inefc.es/

We also took part in very interesting practical classes:

  • in the first part we were instructors of various traditional games involving teams of Salesian youth and people with intellectual disabilities who were playing together. I have run such games as Molkky, Sjoelbak, 7 and a half and la Rana,
  • in the second part, people with intellectual disabilities acted as instructors, showing us a few traditional games.

Valuable materials on the practical aspects of using traditional sports and games for social inclusion and gender equality in sport are already done and available as a part of a MOOC course: https://cooperation.inefc.es/

International team of the Opportunity Project
A meeting in the Traditional Games Museum El Fuerte
Traditional games’ workshops with people with intellectual disabilities
Integration of able-bodied people and people with intellectual disabilities through traditional games
We are playing together in Finnish skittles
We are playing together in a Dutch game Sjoelbak
Traditional game “Seven and a half”
Fernando Maestro is presenting traditional games in El Fuerte museum
A meeting in a City Hall in La Almunia de Dona Godina

Museum of Traditional Games

At the meeting in Almunia, we also visited a unique institution – the Museum of Traditional Games El Fuerte.

It is the largest museum of this type in Europe, presenting about 500 traditional games. It was created thanks to the donation of the private collections, done by its Director – Fernando Maestro.

In the museum’s collection we can see e.g.:

  • children’s plays and games with the simplest equipment,
  • countless modalities of bowling, including varieties played only by women,
  • many variations of pelota – one of the most popular traditional games in Spain,
  • traditional wrestling, such as Breton Gouren, Italian S’istrumpa, Scottish Backhold and others,
  • great figures of Gigantes y Cabezudas (Giants and Big Heads) – representing various cultural regions of Spain and taking part in processions during ethnic fiestas, such as Aste Nagusia (Holy Week) in the Basque Country,
  • throwing games like la Rana (the frog), a popular game for everyone in Spain and in other countries,
  • many other, traditional games, plays and sports.
Simple but ingenious – traditional children’s toys
Pelota – one of the most popular traditional sports in the Basque Country, other parts of Spain and South America.
Chistera – a racket for Basque pelota – a traditional Basque sport
Bittles – a modality of skittles, played by women
The number of varieties of skittles around the world is hard to count
Traditional giant puppets, during the processions at Spanish folk festivals
Equipment for Basque pelota
Spanish throwing game – la Rana
Equipment for Italian sport – Ruzzolone and similar sports
Sticks and bats for team games, such as Irish hurling
A shirt and trousers for Breton traditional wrestling – le Gouren
Traditions of spending free time by women
Plays and games are a very important element of children’s education
Traditional, children’s puppets
“Pistols” from clips
Children’s toys
Pieter Bruegel’s famous painting: “Children’s Games” in El Fuerte Museum

A globe in the shape of a spinning top – one of the most popular toys in the history of the world

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