Spend Days at Home with Traditional Games

by Isabel Bang

Gong gi (Korean Jacks)


Back in the old Joseon times, kids used to play this game with pebbles on the streets. These days, the pebbles are replaced by colorful plastic weights made especially for this game called Gong gi. The way to play is quite similar to playing jacks but without the bouncy ball. You scatter the gong-gi and go through five rounds that each give you 1 to 5 points. Normally the one who hits 20 points first wins the game, but when you’re all experts the game could go on till hundreds of points! As someone with tiny and slow hands I wasn’t exactly the champion of Gong gi, but my sister was pretty good! As a kid, and I remember being super proud of my sister's Gong gi skills 😂 Here’s a video tutorial on how to play the game.

Yut Nori 

Channel Korean News

This is a traditional Korean board game that has been around for hundreds of years! Dices are replaced by wooden sticks called ‘yut,’ that are rounded on one side and flat on the other. You throw these sticks that tells you to move up to five steps forward or one step back. Two teams get four counters each, and the team that gets all counters back home to the finish line wins! My memory of the Chuseok holidays, would always include all the cousins gathered around playing this game in teams of each family group 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👨‍👧‍👦👩‍👩‍👦 There are a few simple rules that make the game pretty unpredictable and enjoyable, so watch this video of the Kpop group Enhypen teaching you how to play Yut Nori!

Ddakji Chiji


I remember folding up Ddakjis (folded paper tiles) with newspapers or colourful origami papers decorated with stickers. The thicker and harder your Ddakji was, the easier it was to win! So, kids would make their own Ddakjis at home with the excitement that theirs would be the strongest. The famous Korean TV show Running Man has featured this game a lot in different episodes, so international fans are quite aware of it - they even had a “ddakji race” episode for a Chuseok special episode 😂 The rule of this traditional game is fairly simple, players take turns slamming on each other’s ddakjis with their own to make them flip! When the ddakji flips, the winner gets to keep the loser’s ddakji. Kids would play this until they run out of all their handmade paper tiles and one would return home with a pocket full of them. Try making your own ddakji by watching this video tutorial!

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