Some of the Games we play with the Zambian Children during "Safe Parks"

By Chelsea Christensen - POL volunteer in Zambia, Summer of 2012

Every Saturday afternoon, Power of Love's staff gathers together to play games and help children with homework in Lusaka, Zambia. This afternoon activity is only one of the several pieces of our pediatric HIV/AIDS care program and is open to all children in the community of Matero, in Lusaka, Zambia. The children interact with their by playing games, participating in learning activities, and strengthening relationships with our staff. An afternoon of fun and games or "Safe Parks" was created so that the children have a comfortable and open place to play normally, and reinforce our value of living positive, while giving our health care workers a chance to provide additional counseling when necessary. To date, more than 600 children have participated in "Safe Parks' since its inception in June 2011, and every week about 80 children come and play with us.

Some of our favorite games that we play with the children are:
Mulilo Kulupili (Fire on the Mountain): This simple game teaches problem solving by turning to peers, parents, teachers, care workers, or others around you for help.
How To Play: Allow the children to run freely in a small area. As the children are running, one of the leaders continues to shout “Mulilo-Kulupili.” The children respond “Mulilo!” and then the leader announces a number, say 3 and the children and leaders must form a group of three.

Land Rover (Red Rover): This popular game teaches children that when facing obstacles, you must stay strong and work together.
How To Play: Split the children into two even groups, each forming a line opposite each other (approximately 15 meters or more), with each line joining hands. One group yells “Land Rover, Land Rover, send [insert child’s name from opposite group] right over!” The child who has been called must then run towards the opposite group and try and break through the line. If they succeed, they choose one person from this group and bring them back to their original group. If the child is caught in the line, without it breaking, they must stay with this group. Each group alternates until one group has all the children on its side.

Ship Ship Come Home: This is a problem-solving game, in which children learn that they can rely on friends around them to help solve problems. It helps children build resilience.
How To Play: Divide the children into two groups. One group shouts to the other group “Ship ship come home!” and the opposite group will run to catch friends from the other side. The children who are caught will join the group which caught them.

10 to 1 Game: This game develops counting skills, and provides great exercise as well!
How To Play: First pump your left arm 10x, followed by right arm 10x, then your left leg 10x, followed by your right leg 10x, counting out lead. Repeat by pumping each arm and leg 9x, then 8x, and so on.

Chili go go go Chilipaliwe: This game teaches children to assist each other when a friend or relative runs into a problem and needs help.
How To Play: The children form a circle, with each child sitting facing the middle. Each child holds a small stone, and everyone starts chanting “go, go na go go” while passing a stone around to the next friend. The stones keep moving in the rhythm of the chant as it continues.