Ghana Month Special: Unleashing the Fun of Traditional Games!

Traditional games in Ghana hold a significant part of the country’s cultural heritage. These games have been played for generations, often enjoyed by both children and adults as a form of entertainment, bringing people together in communal spaces. The evolution of technology has changed the way children play today, resulting in fewer kids engaging in these traditional games compared to the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. However, these local games have been passed down through generations, preserving their cultural significance. Let me take you through a journey down memory lane of some of these local games.

Pilolo: This is one of the games enjoyed by many Ghanaians. Pilolo, a word derived from the Ga language, means “one, two, three.” The game is essentially a form of hide-and-seek where one participant, known as the “owner” or “seeker,” hides an object while the others cover their eyes. The rest of the players, called “searchers,” then embark on a thrilling journey to find the hidden treasure, using clues provided by the seeker. Pilolo serves as more than just a recreational activity; it fosters a sense of community and strengthens bonds of friendship and understanding.

Antoakyire: This is an Alan folk game where children sit in a circular fashion. One child is then chosen to carry a cloth and run around them singing a song. The song goes like this: “anto akyire o anto akyire o,” and the other children respond with “yie yie yie!” If a seated child fails to realize the cloth has been placed behind them when the song ends, they receive a light tap on the back. The game continues in turns, adding an element of suspense and laughter.

Pampanaa: This exciting game involves using stick-like guns to shoot at opponents while hiding. Players are given time to find hiding spots where they can’t be caught, relying on their wits and stealth to avoid being shot by their opponents.

Zanzama: This game, though cruel, is intriguing. Players must say the word “Zanzama” before sitting down. If they forget, they risk receiving a heavy knock on the head from another player. It’s all about memory and quick thinking, adding an extra layer of challenge to the game.

Oware: Another must-play game in Ghana, Oware is a strategic game played with seeds or stones on a board with shallow pits. The objective is to capture your opponent’s seeds by strategically moving them around the board. Originally played using palm kernels, Oware is now carved out of wood and remains a popular board game across many African countries, including Ghana.

Ampe: Ampe is a traditional outdoor game played by two or more people, usually only girls. It involves rhythmic clapping, jumping, and quick reflexes. Players take turns performing specific movements and clapping patterns. This game originated in Ghana but is now also played in other African countries.

Chaskele: Chaskele is regarded as “Ghana’s cricket”. The game requires a bat, usually in the form of a stick, flattened cans such as milk cans used as a ball, and a car tire as a goal post. A minimum of two players are needed to play this game. The aim of this game is for a player to successfully toss the flattened object into the hole in the tire, while the players with the sticks have to prevent that from happening.

Ludo: Ludo is one of the most popular traditional board games in Ghana. It can be played with not more than 4 players and involves moving colored tokens around the board based on the roll of a die. The objective is to get all your tokens to the center of the board before your opponents do. It is so popular that now, it has even been digitized and can be downloaded as a game on your phone.

Chem Pe: This is a funny game but could also be dangerous for those who love their food and do not like to share. “Chem Pe” means, “to share equally”. The rule of the game is that whenever a player has food and doesn’t exclaim “no chem pe” to the other players, they risk splitting their meal equally. This can get interesting when there are a lot of players!

Alikoto:Alikoto requires the cover of a pen and the cover of size D batteries. By combining these two, you can create a simple toy that can be spun (called “alikoto”). The idea is that players spin the “alikoto” and try to turn it flat in its head by hitting its bottom with the side of their palm. Whoever fails to turn the “alikoto” on its head will be hit with it on the hand by the other player(s) who successfully managed to do it.

Kpitinge: A heap of sand and a pointed object is required to play this game. The aim is for players to get the pointed object to stick into the sand from various positions. A player who fails to get the pointed object to stick into the sand will be hit on the hand with the object by the other players who successfully did.

African Cloth Parachutes: Feel the breeze as you play African Cloth Parachutes. Tie colorful African cloth around your waist and hold the ends above your head. Running with these makeshift parachutes made from our mothers’ traditional clothes was always a highlight of our days.


Tumatu: Discover the Ghanaian version of hopscotch with Tumatu. Jump strategically to outsmart your opponents on a grid. Try to make them fail at challenging jumps by claiming spaces. It’s all about agility and tactics in this classic game.

These are just a few examples of the many traditional Ghanaian games that have been enjoyed by generations. Not only do they provide entertainment, but they also promote social interaction, physical activity, and the preservation of cultural traditions. Share with us how these games shaped your childhood.

2 thoughts on “Ghana Month Special: Unleashing the Fun of Traditional Games!

  1. Reading this reminds me of how fun it was being a child in a promising Gold Coast just turned Ghana. Many wild dreams that kept crushing at each political turn. Mercy! Hmmm

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