Playground Games for Polish Children - Klasy, Chlopek & Zoska

Here is the description of a couple of games which I remember from my childhood. The games are very simple, easy to prepare and learn and lots of fun. Of course, in the present time it seems that all the outdoor social games are replaced by either computer or the cable TV. But maybe it is a good idea from time to time to encourage the kids to play outdoors as we did it when we did not have any idea about personal computers - in late 60-es and early 70-es.

To play the first two games: klasy and chlopek one need just a bit of the pavement or sidewalk somewhere out of the way, a piece of chalk and a small rock or stone. These games are similar to American game called hopscotch.

KLASY

this rectangual game is called klasy, which can be translated as sections or classes.

The participant starts by throwing a rock into the field with name "1" - then she/he jumps with one leg and picks the rock up; continue jumping on the same one leg through all the sections keeping the balance, making sure that the leg does not touch the line. If the participant would make this fault - the next person starts and she/he need to repeat it after waiting for her/his tour again. After a participant finish a tour succesfully, she/he can continue by throwing the rock into the field number "2" and repeating the same thing until she/he succesfully finish all 6 rounds. The first one who finish the all rounds wins.
The game can be modified - if the paricipant would throw the rock in the halfcircle niebo (heaven) instead of section "3" he would have one extra round, if he would throw the ball into pieklo (hell) instead of "6" he would lose one round.

CHŁOPEK

The shape of the figure resembles a boy, so the name is chlopek - in literal trabslation it means farmer boy.

The game is similar than the previous one - the participant jumps on one leg through the blocks "1", "2", "3", then she/he may rest by putting her/his both legs on the pavement - the left on number "4" and the right on "5" , then jumps on "6" and "7" + "8" with both legs, then she/he flips the legs turning 180 degrees and repeats it again.

There are some variations of these two games - the participant can jump in more difficult verions with only left leg or with the crossed legs.

These two games described above were mainly for girls up to 7-8 years old usually, the one below is for boys, even up to 14 years old.

ZOŚKA

Zoska is the abbreviation of the name Sophie, in Polish Zofia.

Boys play with the "ball" called "zoska" which is either a sack full of barley or sand, or it has a small rock on one site and a piece of wool on the other. Each boy stands inside one circle ~1 m radius. Boys throw the ball by use of every part of the body except hands out of the circle - the most used parts are usually feet and knees.
The fault is if:
  • the ball touch the pavement inside your circle - you need to manouver so that you would either throw the ball out or hold it on the top of your shoe for instance.
  • you would cross your circle playing with the ball
  • you would should the ball so that it would not reach the circle of the other boy

    I remember this game a lot since it was favorite among all the boys from the neighborhood.

    Štext and drawings by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, article #267

    Check more articles about children games: The Old Bear - a Nice Children's Play for Christmas, the games which help teach Polish language. Check also games and quizzes in Polish culture.

    Help Polish Children through giving just a little of your free time by participation in The Wooden Puppet Program.


    The book below (its recent edition) contains the chapter devoted to children pasttimes in Poland. I recommend it!

    Polish Customs, Tradition and Folklore written by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab




    I recommend also a book below for both - young and older readers:

    Polish Fables: Bilingual
    , by Ignacy Krasicki, Gerard T. Kapolka (Translator), Barbara Swiozinska (Illustrator)



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