8 Games Filled with Nostalgia: Childhood Pastimes in Singapore

October 13, 2023

Before the era of arcades and video game consoles, our childhoods were defined by traditional games played with friends and family. While these traditional games in Singapore may be a thing of the past, they still hold a special charm. If you're yearning for a nostalgic trip down memory lane, consider revisiting these games with friends or introducing them to the younger generation so they can also appreciate the timeless joy of old-school play.

1. Paper Ball

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Paper balls, an iconic part of Singaporean childhoods, were affordable treasures available at school bookshops. Blowing into the opening would magically inflate the paper ball. The possibilities for games with paper balls were limited only by your creativity. You could play catch with friends or challenge each other to see who could keep their paper ball in the air the longest. As a bonus, paper balls also make charming decorations for a 90's-themed birthday party.

2. Bestman Balloon Bubble Blow

Bestman Balloons were a beloved gem from the 80s and 90s. These balloons came in large boxes for just a dollar. Squeeze the plastic mixture from the tube onto the tiny plastic straw, blow from the other end, and, once you achieved your desired size, pinch it off the straw to seal it. Gather your friends and see who can create the biggest bubble in this classic childhood game.

3. Kuti Kuti

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Kuti kuti, a simple game using plastic tokens, was at the heart of cherished traditional play in Singapore. Two players would flip their tokens until they drew close together, and then attempt to flip their token on top of their opponent's. The first player to succeed would claim both tokens and be crowned the winner of Kuti kuti.

4. Country Eraser

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Country Eraser followed in the footsteps of Kuti Kuti. Players used country flag erasers and tried to flip their erasers on top of each other. The winner would collect both erasers at the end of each round. Part of the fun was amassing a vast collection of erasers with flags from various countries, often trading duplicates with friends to complete the set. These erasers also served as functional erasers when needed.

5. Gasing

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If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, you likely had a wooden spinning top at home. These tops were used for Gasing, a traditional kampong game in Singapore. To add an extra challenge, you could mark out a spinning area for the Wooden Top. The goal was to keep the top within the boundaries, and if it spun out, you lost. If you find a wooden top at home, give it a whirl and see how you fare in this nostalgic Singaporean childhood game.

6. Five Stones

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Five stones is one of the first traditional kampong games that come to mind when discussing childhood games in Singapore. Originally played with actual stones, it has evolved into the version we know today. Besides being fun, it's a fantastic game for people of all ages in Singapore to enhance their dexterity and reflexes.

7. Zero-Point

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Creating the rope for zero-point requires effort and love. It involves tying together a series of rubber bands to form a long rope. Zero-point is a game that resembles reverse limbo. Starting from ankle height, players must cross over the rope without touching it. With each round, the height of the rubber band rope increases, raising the level of difficulty. It's an excellent game for practicing your high jump skills.

8. Goli

Goli is traditionally played with glass marbles, and there are various ways to play the game. The most popular version in Singapore involves placing all the players' marbles in a circle drawn on the ground or lining them up in a row. Players stand at an agreed distance from the marbles and use one marble as their 'striker' to knock as many marbles as possible out of the circle. The player who knocks the most marbles is declared the winner!

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