Fun and games the Liberian way

You can forget your PlayStation, Xbox and Wii, here are the top 10 games for schoolchildren in Liberia. 

Back to all stories | Posted on 18 Mar 2019 in Blog

Whether it’s organised sport or homemade games, the children of Liberia love to play – and with the energy Mary’s Meals gives them every day, they are well equipped to do just that. Here are 10 of the most popular playtime activities: 

1. Football 

From the current President (and ex-AC Milan star) George Weah to children kicking balls made from plastic bags, you can’t miss the beautiful game – unless you’ve got your eyes closed!  

2. Lapa 

As one girl arranges a pile of shoes into pairs, two others throw a small ball at her. If she’s hit she’s out, and a friend replaces her.  

3. Hopscotch 

You can see hopscotch grids scratched into the sand all over Liberia. Both boys and girls play, and they’ve learned to jump and throw with great speed and accuracy.  

4. Kickball 

This schoolyard favourite is a bit like rounders or baseball. Players run round bases and score points for reaching ‘home’ without being tagged. The main difference is that you start by kicking a ball as far as you can.

5. Ee-Zee-Zah!  

Up to four players jump back and forth across different segments of a quartered circle without touching the lines. All the while they chant “Ee-Zee-Zah!” to help them keep time. 

6. Pick up sticks 

First you collect several hundred used lolly sticks – not a bad way to start any game! These are split between two players who throw their sticks in turn. If you land on another player’s stick, you pick them all up. The aim is to collect all the sticks and leave your friend with none.

7. Hoop rolling 

You need the hub from a bicycle wheel or an old tire, and a stick, and you’re all set. Whip the hoop with your stick to get it going and follow wherever it leads.  

8. Skipping 

Skipping – or jumping rope, as it is known in Liberia – is massively popular. The jumper matches their jumps to the words of a song being chanted in time to the swish and thwack of the rope. 

9. Knockfoot 

Everyone stands in a circle clapping, while one player steps into the middle and sticks out (or ‘throws’) a foot in time with the claps. If the person opposite ‘throws’ the same foot, she replaces her friend in the middle. If not, the original player scores a point. This video shows how it’s done.  

10. Homemade table football 

Bottle tops, flip-flops and a marble can form a simple and effective table football game, with the flip-flops as the goals, the plastic caps as players and the marble as a ball.  

Thank you for helping to feed 121,283 children in classrooms across Liberia every school day. Nutritious meals fill their tummies, giving them plenty of energy to learn – and play.