Playing outside – Italian games for children (Part 1)

Italian games

If you move to Italy and have children, sooner or later you’ll see them playing with some Italian children.

Playing outside is very important for children. It promotes physical, cognitive, social and emotional well-being.

Indeed, playing outside allows children to exercise, reducing the risk of obesity.

It also allows children to socialize with other children, so they can learn to share, cooperate and solve conflicts.

Moreover, playing outside, promotes creativity since children always find a way to create new games.

Finally, playing outside is also a way to take risks and enjoy the nature. I know what you’re thinking: Taking risks? Are you crazy? How can that be good?

Taking risks allows children to realize what they can do and what they still can’t, to accept failure, to be brave enough to try again, and to be more confident and learn to help each other.

There are many Italian games children can play outside. However, in this article I’d like to focus on three “old”, but evergreen, Italian games children can play outside.


Campana is one of the many Italian games you can play alone or with other people.

All you need to play campana is a chalk and one marker for each player.

To play this game, you’ve to draw a rectangle-shaped pattern on the ground first. In it, you draw at least 10 linear squares, numbered, starting from 1 to ten.

The first player tosses his marker on square number 1. He then hops in each square, in numerical order, skipping only the square with the marker in it. Once he gets to square ten, he turns and hops back until he gets to square 2 – the square before the one in which his marker is. There he pauses to pick up the marker, and finally hops in square one and out of the pattern.

When it’s his turn again, he tosses his marker on square 2 and follows the same procedure.

Hopping has to be done always on one foot, unless the pattern drawn is such that two squares are designed side-by-side.

A player is out of the game when the marker fails to land in the right square, when he hops in a square where his marker is, when he puts a hand down or two feet in a single square, and when he steps on a line.


Strega comanda colore is one of those Italian games that can be played only with other people.

Players must be at least 3.

Before starting the game, you need to chose who will play the witch. You do so by singing a counting rhyme.

When the game starts, the witch calls out a color saying “strega comanda color…bianco/verde/giallo, etc”, and the players have to run to touch an object of that color.

The witch tries to catch at least one player before he touches an object of the right color.

If the player is caught, he becomes the witch for the next round.


Another multi-player game is un due tre stella.

The game starts by choosing who will play the curator by singing a counting rhyme.

The curator will stand in front of a tree or in front of a wall, turning his back to all the other players.

The other players, instead, will stand behind a line, at some distance from the curator.

The aim of the game is for the players to tag the curator, without being seen. Indeed, as long as the curator is turning his back to them, the players can move in his direction freely but as soon as the curator says “Un due tre…stella” and turns towards the players, the players has to freeze in position and hold the position for as long as the curator is turned towards them.

If one of the players is caught moving, he’s sent back to the starting line.

When a player tags the curator, he becomes the curator and so the game is reset.

Have you ever played to one of these games? Can you guess the English equivalent of each one of these games?


Original image by USAGI_POST

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