Matatenas - Jacks

It doesn't seize to amaze me, how regardless of where we grew up in the world, as kids we played very similar games. Granted, maybe we named them differently but they brought happiness and laughter all the same.

If you are travelling to Mexico and you are bringing your children along, you will have to be able to tell them what a game is called, you need to know their Mexican name so they can play it with newly made friends, and who knows, maybe by doing so you'll remember some happy times yourself.

Here are a few:

1. Matatenas - Jacks
The word matatena comes from the Nahuatl that means to fill your hand with stones, and originally that's how the game was played. Now, they are made out of metal, plastic, wood and they come in a wide variety of colours. It was a great game for training eye-hand coordination and reflexes. Sort of like the x-box :) Also known in other countries as Payana and Yaquis.

2. Avioncito -Hopscotch
I guess you can say that it does have the shape of a small plane...Oh, the possibilities, so many sidewalks to conquer!  In other countries, it is known as rayuela.

3. Quemados - Dodgeball.
Yes, in Mexico you are burned (or burnt, depending on where you are from) when the ball touches you! I was burnt a few times myself and badly burnt many others as well... In other countries, balón prisionero.

4. Timbiriche - Dots and boxes
How many napkins did we leave in restaurants full of dots, boxes and initials? It was one of my favourite games as a child and played it many times with my son when he was younger. In Mexico, we even had a musical group named after the game.

5. Gato - Tic-Tac-Toe
How is it that we kept and keep playing a game that will not have a winner? Well, as kids anything is possible, and, War Games would not have existed without that game and my life would not have been the same without Joshua! Also known as tres en raya (Spain) triqui (Colombia)

6. Escondidillas - Hide and seek
Sometimes we also called it jugar a las escondidas. Every family had an expert and the always incredibly predictable cousin right?  I think I was an average participant, never the first and sometimes the last to be found; proud moments! Also known in other countries as jugar al escondite.

These are just a few, you can always contact me if you need to know any other ones.

 Happy playing!

Note: There may be other names around the world for these games, by no means the names I included for the other countries are the only ones.



Deborah G.