Games Index

Multicultural, Cross-cultural & Intercultural Games & Activities

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Descriptions of Multicultural, Cross-cultural & Intercultural Games & Activities

Hello in Different Languages

This is a fun, warm-up, cross-cultural activity.  The group tries to come up the word(s) for "hello" in as many different languages as possible.

The Story of My Name

Where does your name come from?  Share the story of where your name comes from and what your name means.  Helps to build intercultural respect and understanding.

Have You Ever?

Active, fun group activity to explore and celebrate the rich diversity of people's past experiences.  Works well with large groups.

World Meal

A World Meal consists of a limited amount of rice and beans.  This is the average meal for the average person on the planet.  Cook this for a group of others and encourage them in turn to cook a World Meal for others.

Cross-cultural IQ Tests

This activity helps students become aware that so-called  "intelligence" is culturally-bound and culturally defined.  Attempt short IQ tests for mainstream US/Australian culture, Black-Rap 1960's culture, Australian Aboriginal culture.  Ideal for class-room based education about psychology and culture, suited to older adolescents and adults.  The tests are written in good humor.

Cross-cultural Activities             

Descriptions of Multicultural, Cross-cultural & Intercultural Games & Activities (other sites)

Bafa Bafa

A cross-cultural simulation activity.  Involves two groups being given different sets of cultural rules to role play, then having to work out ways to communicate and solve tasks using their different cultural norms.  Simulation Training Systems claims copyright.

Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes

Racial discrimination simulation activity, developed in the late 1960s by Jane Elliot (US).  Divide group (school class or corporate group) into blue and brown eyes, then treat the groups with radically different privileges/punishments.  Designed to illustrate that racism is learnt and conditioned.  Jane Elliot is well-known as an "aggressive" facilitator who challenges participants' assumptions and behaviors to bring deeply-held prejudice to light.  Interview with Jane Elliot.  For more info, see her videos.

Beyond Survival

Design a development project to meet the needs of a poor community. (Ross Farley & Ben Thurley, Incite, 34)

Research and Present a Physical Game from another Culture

Students are required to find and research a physical activity/game from another culture, then play the game and discuss its background with the rest of the class.

Children's Folk Games

100+ traditional and modern games for kids from many different countries and cultures.  Descriptions are in several languages.  Includes game philosophy.

Multicultural Experiential Exercises

15+ role play, case study scenario, interactive discussion type activities which can be used for exploring self and multiculturalism.

Games & Activities for Teaching ESL

100+ activities which can be used with adults and children who are learning a second language.

Multi-cultural Supersite
(Paul Gorski, McGraw-Hill)

9 activities for multicultural education courses for teachers, designed to address issues such as oppression, prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination.

Multicultural Games

50+ fun traditional and ethnically diverse games played around the world.

International Games

13 games kids play in different countries of the world.

Group Activities for Teaching ESL Children

7 group activities for young ESL students: Cultural Charades, Word Association, Description Groups, Pass the Question, Memory Momentum, Holiday Fun, Telling Tales

Multiculturalism: Children's games

Useful guide to multicultural game description sites; focuses on multicultural games for children, teaches and classrooms.

Multicultural Counting Games

11 games from different cultures to help kids have fun with counting and maths.

Preschool activities for a multicultural theme

10+ lesson plans for preschool multicultural activities, including World Passport, Native American Symbols, The "Talking Stone",
Hinamatursi Day, I Am Different, Multicultural Puppet, Multicultural Book, Chop Stix Pick-up, and Multicultural Music Activities.

Mathematical Games with a Cross-cultural Flavor

Describes ancient mathematical/strategy games from different cultures: Sixteen Soldiers, Nine Men's Morris, Unknown Game, Pachisi, Alquerque.

White Identity Group Exercises

5 exercises to explore white racial self-identity and to identify and discuss issues of racism.

Excell Intercultural Skills Programme

An experiential, cognitive and behavioral cross-cultural social skills training package which helps people to skills for succeeding in unfamiliar societies.  Learning strategies include alliance building and assessment, cultural mapping,  demonstrating, role play, coaching and practical homework exercises.  Also see this article.

Indigenous Games & Activities

Traditional group games and activities played in indigenous societies.

Peace Education Experiential Activities

Experiential activities which help promote peace and for learning conflict resolution skills.

Online Guide to Traditional Games

Focuses on history and description of 40+ traditional (common) games from around the world; UK emphasis.

Culture & Outdoor Education

Explores how culture affects outdoor education and cross-cultural differences to consider.

Multicultural Games: A Bibliography
[.1 MB; pdf]

20+ multicultural games books are listed, plus a few websites.  From Children's Museum in Boston, US.

Diversity Activities

A google search for "diversity activities".



Books with Descriptions of Multicultural, Cross-cultural & Intercultural Games & Activities

Barbarash, L. (1999). Multicultural Games. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Press, 1999. 75 games from 43 countries or cultures.

Bell, R. C. (1979). Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations (Rev. ed). New York: Dover. 182 board and tabletop games.

Bernier-Grand, C. T. (2002). Shake it, Morena! and other folklore from Puerto Rico. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook. Traditional songs, games, riddles, recipes, and stories.

Braman, A. N. (2002). Kids Around The World Play! The Best Fun and Games From Many Lands. New York: Wiley. Crafts, activities and games.

Compass Point Books (2001, 2002). Games Around the World. Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point Books. 8 books, on Dominoes, Hopscotch, Jacks, Marbles, Magic Tricks, Yo-Yo Tricks, Card Tricks and Juggling, with variations and how the game is played in different countries.

Corbett, D., Cheffers, J., Sullivan, E. C. (2001). Unique Games and Sports Around the World: A Reference Guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

Devoogt, A., & Russ, L. (1999). The Complete Mancala Games Book: How to Play the World's Oldest Board Games. New York: Marlowe. Rules for an array of different Mancala games.

Fletcher, A. C. (1994). Indian Games and Dances With Native Songs: Arranged from American Indian Ceremonials and Sports. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Fowler, S. M., & Mumford, M. G. (1995). Intercultural Sourcebook: Cross-cultural Training Methods. Interactional methods of role plays, cultural contrast, and simulation games, and the cognitive methods of critical incidents, cultural assimilators and case studies.

Gust, J., & McChesney, J. M. (1995). Learning About Cultures: Literature, Celebrations, Games and Art Activities. Carthage, IL: Teaching & Learning Company.

Hamilton, L. (1996). Child's Play Around the World: 170 Crafts, Games, and Projects for Two-To-Six-Year-Olds. New York: Berkeley Group/Perigee.

Jones, B. (1987). Step It Down: Games, Plays, Songs and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

Kimble-Ellis, S. (2002). Traditional African American Arts and Activities. New York: Wiley.

Kirchner, G. (2000). Children's Games from Around the World (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Lankford, M. D. (1996). Hopscotch Around the World. New York: Beech Tree Books.

Milord, S. (1999). Hands Around The World: 365 Creative Ways to Build Cultural Awareness and Global Respect. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens.

Murphy, S. (n.d.) The Teacherís Handbook of Multicultural Games Children Play. Ann Arbor, MI: Robbie Dean Press. 45 games from all over the world, with lessons plans for the classroom.

Nelson, W. E., Glass, H. (1992). International Playtime: Classroom Games and Dances from Around the World. Carthage, IL: Fearon Teacher Aids.

Onyefulu, I. (1999). Ebele's Favourite: A Book of African Games. London: Frances Lincoln.

Orlando, L. (1999). The Multicultural Game Book (Grades 1-6); New York: Scholastic. 70 traditional games from 30 countries.

Pilger, M. A. (2002). Multicultural Projects Index: Things to Make and Do to Celebrate Festivals, Cultures, and Holidays Around The World. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

Powell, D., Hopson, D. S., & Clavin, T. (1996). Juba This and Juba That: 100 African-American Games for Children. New York: Simon & Schuster/Fireside.

Sierra, J. (1995). Children's Traditional Games: Games from 137 Countries and Cultures. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press.

Zaslavsky, C. (1998). Math Games and Activities From Around the World. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.

Last updated:
11 Feb 2006