Games children play
Aug 6 2013

Games children play in Guatemala

Summer is a great time to go outside and just have fun!

Children around the world have shared some of their favorite games with us, and today we bring you games from Guatemala!

Learn how to play an old street soccer game, marbles and jump rope — Guatemala style!

Chamuscas [street soccer]
Chamuscas is a street soccer game, which originated in Guatemala in the 1900s.

At the time, street lights did not exist in rural Guatemalan cities, so players would douse the ball in kerosene and set it on fire so that the ball was visible!

That’s where the term “Chamuscas,” meaning “burned,” was coined.

Although the game was dangerous, especially for the goalies, this never stopped the players.

Today, Chamuscas is played with no referee, no uniforms and with no prize but bragging rights.

Oh, and no fireball.


“I love Chamuscas because I love kicking the ball and scoring goals,” said Cristian, left, an Unbound sponsored child.

Guatemalan games

“I like Chamuscas because I like to dance with the ball; I am good at shaking off defenders,” said Josue, pictured above, an Unbound sponsored child.

All you need is a few friends, a street or a dirt field, a few stones to mark the goals and a ball.

Chamuscas can be played with a soccer ball, a plastic bottle, balls made with paper or cloth, or plastic balls.

1. Teams can be all male, all female or mixed consisting of 4 to 7 players and one goalkeeper.
2. Teams agree how long they will play.
3. The match starts at center court when the ball is thrown into the court by any player. When a goal is scored, the team that has conceded the goal receives the ball and the goalkeeper is allowed to bring the ball back into play.
4. A penalty for the opposing team is given when: A player other than the goalkeeper picks up the ball with his hands, or a foul is committed in front of the goal area.

The team that scores the most goals wins.

Cincos [Marbles]
Guatemalan games
“Marbles are the best; I could play all day if it weren’t for my mom,” said Andres, a Unbound sponsored child in Guatemala.

Guatemalan children play a variety of games in their free time, including Cincos, a marble game.

In Guatemala, Cincos is played mostly by boys and requires two or more participants.

The objective of the game is to knock the other players’ marbles outside the boundary lines. Each player gets to keep the marbles he or she knocks out of the boundary lines.

“I like the game because I get to keep the marbles when I win,” said Unbound sponsored child Juan in Guatemala, pictured in the first photo, second from left.

Number of players
Two or more.

How to play
To determine who will shoot first in Cincos, the players draw a line on the ground, also called “mica,” and then throw their marble from a distance of about six steps from the mica.

The player with the marble closest to the mica shoots first.

The players then draw a triangle on the ground and each player places a marble inside the triangle. The objective of the game is to knock all of the marbles out of the triangle.

The players will try to knock out the marbles shooting from the “mica” line on their first turn. Following turns are made from the spot where the shooter marble stopped on the last shot.

If a player knocks out a marble from the triangle and his/her shooter marble stays inside the triangle, the player is allowed to take another turn.

If a player knocks another marble outside the triangle and the shooter marble rolls outside the triangle, he/she cannot take another turn until the rest of the players have shot.

If a player misses, and the shooter marble is still inside the triangle, the player is not allowed to remove the shooter marble until his/her next turn. The shooter marble then becomes a target for the other players. On his/her next turn, the player can then pick up the shooter marble if it has not been hit outside the triangle.

Players get to keep the marbles that are knocked out of the triangle.

Cincos is played until all of the marbles are knocked out of the triangle.

Cuerda [Jump rope]

Cuerda, or jump rope, is a fun playground game as well as a great way to get some exercise and impress your friends with your jumping abilities.

Number of players
You need at least three people to play: Two rope turners and one jumper.

How to play
While the rope is being turned, the jumpers must run into the turning rope (one at a time) and jump the rope once without touching it.

On the jumper’s second turn he/she must jump twice, three times on the third round, and so on.

The number of jumps continues to increase until the player who makes the most jumps without touching the rope wins.

Guatemalan games

Mary, an Unbound sponsored child, plays Cuerda!

“This is the first game that I learned to play with my sisters,” said Mary, an Unbound sponsored child.

Related links:
Games children play in Africa: Bano (Swahili for marbles)
Games children play in Colombia
Sponsor a child in Guatemala

7 thoughts on “Games children play in Guatemala”

  1. I am touched, moved, and inspired. I love that CFCA is able to bring to people the opportunity to contribute and to receive, all in the name of Goodness and love. I am so happy to look at these pictures!

  2. It gives me joy to see the happy faces of these children. Nice to see children being able to be just children -having a fun summer – knowing the challenges that they and their families face. It does make one pause and give thanks to God. Thanks for the article and your efforts.

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