A Vietnamese Game

Truyen-Truyen (Grace Norman/Asia Society)
Sometimes, Vietnamese children use a small piece of fruit in place of a ball. (Grace Norman/Asia Society)

This game of jacks teaches counting and hand-eye coordination skills … and it's good for lots of laughs!

Have the class go to the playground or play in a large open space. Divide the class into groups of three. Give each group a rubber ball or tennis ball and ten chopsticks. Each child in the group will have a turn. Demonstrate how the game is played:

  • The first child in the group will take the bundle of 10 chopsticks and spread them on the ground. Sitting down in front of the group of sticks, throw the ball up (not too high). Quickly pick up one chopstick and then catch the ball, allowing the ball to bounce just once. Continue the game until all the sticks are retrieved one at a time. If the person cannot pick up the chopstick or misses the ball, his/her turn is ended. If the person successfully picks up the ten sticks he/she goes on to the next step.
  • The next step is picking up chopsticks by twos. Then picking up chopsticks by threes, then by fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, and all ten.
  • After all these steps have been completed, the player will hold all ten chopsticks in one hand and tap them on the ground three times while the ball bounces once.
  • The first player to complete all these steps wins the game!

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