Jamaican children play games that get them moving and laughing just like children everywhere. While the names of their games sound more exotic than the names of the games other children play, it’s easy to imagine the children’s playful antics. Playing “Dandy Shandy,” “Punchinella Little Fella” and “Brown Girl in the Ring” keep Jamaican children active, happy and singing their favorite songs.
- Dandy Shandy probably originated in England and is basically Dodge Ball played with a small juice box. Jamaicans.com offers the rules. The game is played with three players. The kids fill two juice boxes with newspapers and round off the corners of the boxes. The child on each end throws his juice box at the child in the middle. The center child attempts to dodge the juice boxes. Kids on the sidelines are entertained by the middle child’s gymnastics as she tries to avoid getting hit by a juice box. Kids watching shout, “Salad!” when the child jumps up with legs spread. ]
Punchinella Little Fella
- Jamaican kids play Punchinella little Fella with five to ten kids. According to Jamaicans.com, the kids surround one kid in a ring. The kids in the ring sing the Punchinella Little Fella song, which includes lines, such as “What can you do punchinella little fella?” and “What can you do punchinella little dear?” With each line, the child in the middle responds with any dance moves she likes. The kids forming the circle have to copy her moves. The kids decide who is next in the middle and the game continues with children singing as the kids change places.
Brown Girl in the Ring
- Kids play the Brown Girl in the Ring by skipping to the tune of the song by the same name as the game. Kids form a ring around one child who skips around to the song. Words fro the song include, “There’s a brown girl in the ring
cha la la la lah, There’s a brown girl in the ring, cha la la la lah, She looks like a sugar in a plum –plum plum.” The words in the song go on to encourage the child. “Show me your motion, cha la la la lah, show me your motion, cha la la lah, show me your motion, cha la la la lah, She looks like a sugar in a plum — plum, plum!” When the song ends, the child in the middle chooses a friend to join her in the middle of the circle. The kids surround the two continue their song, now including the “partner” in the lyrics.