Toys around the world

My daughter just had her fourth birthday and, with Christmas only a few months away, there has been a lot of talk in my house about toys! Faced with the barrage of options available to us, it can be refreshing to see how kids in other parts of the world have fun, no matter their circumstances.

This is Christabel and Haggi from Ghana. Haggi really wanted a talking doll, but her parents couldn’t afford a gift. Christabel wanted a teddy bear, but her mom thought she was too old for one, so instead she and her friend enjoy playing Oware together.

Children's Toys Photo Essay

Oware is type of mancala game and is popular across West Africa. Each player has seeds or stones in six pits or “houses” and on each turn, players move stones to different houses. The object of the game is to capture the most stones.

Children's Toys Photo Essay

12-year-olds, Michael and Emmanuel, like playing checkers. They don’t have toys at home, but most people in their community would think they’re too old for toys anyway. Checkers are popular with men in Ghana, and some boys like to play too.

12-year-olds, Michael and Emmanuel, like playing checkers

Many Compassion children in Sri Lanka don’t have toys, so they make their own. One little girl made this scale. She uses it to weigh things in her garden and play shop with her neighbours.

Little girl made this toy scale

This little boy in Sri Lanka made his own push cart using an old water jug.

This little boy in Sri Lanka made his own push cart using an old water jug

Instead of playing with toys, this little girl in Sri Lanka likes to collect sea shells.

Toys Children Play With

Both of Kenfor’s parents work seven days a week as fruit sellers in Honduras. He likes to play with a yo-yo. “At the beginning, the rope used to jam and I could not balance the yo-yo, but then I became a professional.”

Traditional Toys and Games

Children in rural villages in Myanmar* don’t have store-bought toys to play with, but make their own fun. These boys like to play a form of dodgeball using a ball made out of plastic sacks.

Kids in Burma

These girls in Myanmar like to collect rocks in the stream. Sometimes they use the rocks to play jacks, tossing a rock in the air, then trying to pick up the rocks on the ground before the first rock hits the ground.

Kids in Burma

This girl in Myanmar’s favourite game is to play with this hula-hoop made from bamboo and chicken wire. It’s not hers alone; it belongs to her group of friends.

Kids in Burma

When you were a child, what was your favourite game to play?

*Compassion does not have any sponsored children in Myanmar, but is active in mobilizing churches here to reach out to children in need.

Field reporting by Vera Mensah-Bediako, Compassion Ghana, Ruwanthi Sarjeevram, Compassion Sri Lanka, Juana Ordonez, Compassion Honduras, and Jonathan L.Suwaratana, Compassion Thailand

Written by: Amber Van Schooneveld

Amber Van Schooneveld is the Managing Editor of Compassion International's blog.