arranca cebolla- Pull the onion children's game
Dec 20 2013

Games children play in El Salvador

Kids are always finding ways to keep themselves entertained. One of the best sources for new games is other kids, like these three games played by children in El Salvador.

Arranca cebolla (pull the onion)

Arranca cebolla can be played just about anywhere, though you might want to look for a location with a soft landing. This game takes six to seven players and can be fun to watch as well.


The strongest person (the onion) in the group grabs hold of a tree (or lamppost, pole, etc.) and hangs on tight. The rest of the players line up in order of size, with the smallest person on the end.

“The onion” tries to hold onto the tree while the rest of the players link their arms around each other’s waists and pull as hard as they can. The object of the game is to pull “the onion” off of the tree.

Tons of laughs after successfully removing Willian, otherwise known as "the onion," from the tree!

Tons of laughs follow the successful removal of Willian, otherwise known as “the onion,” from the tree!

The best part of Arranca Cebolla? When everyone topples to the ground on top of one another!

Arranca Cebolla tip: Tickle “the onion” to get him/her to let go of the tree!

Tripa Chuca (Dirty Guts)

You may be familiar with this numbers game, but if not, it’s easy to play. Tripa Chuca or Dirty Guts is a great stationary game to play and always a great idea when you’re stuck indoors.

Tripa Chuca is played with two people. Players will need a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.


Take your sheet of paper and write two sets of numbers 1-20 all over the piece of paper in random order, like this:


Flip a coin to determine who will go first.

Player 1 will draw a line from number 1 to the other number 1 without touching any other numbers or lines.

Player 2 will then draw a line from number 2 to the other number 2 without touching any other numbers or lines.

The game continues with each player taking a turn to connect the numbers. It may sound easy at first, but once you get to numbers 4 and 5, lines are everywhere. Hence the name, dirty guts!



Another game often played by young children in El Salvador uses a toy called a capirucho. It is a bell or barrel shaped toy made of wood or plastic connected by a string to a wooden or plastic handle.

The object of the game is to catch the “capirucho” or bell-shaped piece onto the handle. The game has a variation called “Güimbia,” in which you must get the “capirucho” onto the wood stick a set amount of times in a row.

A capirucho costs less than a dollar to purchase. In El Salvador, kids buy capiruchos at small, community stores or markets.

Unbound sponsored children in El Salvador play with their Capirucho toy

Unbound sponsored children in El Salvador play with their capirucho toy

7 thoughts on “Games children play in El Salvador”

  1. I’m Salvadorean, I have played all those games as a child…Great article. very proud of my Pulgarcito de Centro America!!

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