Childcare & Learning
These Are The 6 Best Traditional Malaysian Games For Children To Play At Home
8 min read | Updated on 12-08-2021 by HappyPreggie
Malaysia is a country that is full and rich with culture. From food, celebrations, and even the smallest things like children’s games, each of these has its own specialty that can only be experienced by true Malaysians while growing up.

 traditional Malaysian games for children
(Image credits to OhBulan)

Traditional Malaysian games are not something that is completely uncommon to the communities in today’s generation. Even if a lot of kids does not practice it anymore, there will still be plenty of people talking about it from reminiscing on their good, old childhood days. Here are the 6 most popular traditional Malaysian games that are commonly played inside and outside of the house.


#1 Congkak


Congkak is a two-player game that is believed to originate from Southeast Asia by Indian or Arab traders in the 15th century. The boards are normally made of mahogany or teak wood decorated with beautiful and majestic carvings on the sides of floral adornments.


Traditional Malaysian games for children - Congkak(Image credits to TripCarte)

Shaped like a boat with 14 circular holes in the centre and 2 bigger holes at each end, the congkak requires small beads like marbles, saga seeds or cowrie shells in order for it to be playable. The rules of the game is simple; players need to move the beads inside their smaller holes at the same time aiming for the bigger hole known as the ‘home’ that they have claimed before the game. They can also capture or ‘steal’ their opponent’s marbles if they could come up with a good strategy. Players with the most amount of beads inside their ‘home’ at the end win the round.


#2 Batu Seremban


Made of 5 stones, this traditional game involves tossing pebbles in the air and capturing them before they land of the ground. The name Seremban refers to the state located in the west coast of Malaysia where the game was brought up from and it is also known as Batu Serembat or Selambut in certain regions.


Traditional Malaysian games for children - Batu Seremban(Image credits to VSCO)

As the years pass by, many children don’t really use stones or pebbles anymore due to the sharp edges that can cause injuries and instead have turned to small, little pouches filled with rice or red beans, usually made by their own mothers. This traditional game is generally played inside the house with 2 to 5 players of all ages and consists of many versions with different amount of stages.


#3 Guli


Guli is a traditional game that is played with marbles made of glass, clay or limestone. It is a game that is specifically designed to train children’s eye and hands’ coordination where they are required to aim and hit the other players’ marbles in a circle in order to claim them and win.


Traditional Malaysian games for children - Guli(Image credits to MStar)

Played in a group of not more than five kids, the chosen leader will get the opportunity to draw or make the circle anywhere they like. The rest of the players will then get to take turns hitting each other’s marbles inside the circle. The game ends once there are no more marbles left inside the circle anymore and the winner usually gets to keep all of the won marbles for himself.


#4 Gasing


Also known as spinning tops, Gasing is a game that has been played by most of the grown-ups today. The tops are made of strong wood or hard fruit, iron and lead where it can be set into motion by winding a string around its axis and pulling it quickly. However, a lot of the production today have simply turned to plastics and have made the tops easier to spin without any use of string or fast hands.


Traditional Malaysian games for children - Gasing(Image credits to Flickr)

Basically, Gasing is toys that are designed to spin rapidly on the ground while precisely balanced on its tip. The game ends when a player is able to make his Gasing spin on the ground for the longest amount of time. These types of games are technically known for their hard test on the player’s creativity and wit in order to make the best top that can spin longer than others.



#5 Ceper


Ceper is a traditional Malaysian game made up of five bottle caps also known as ceper that originated from the late 1970s for two players or more. These bottle caps are also easily accessible from any bottle with steel caps like a soy sauce or a Coca Cola.


Traditional Malaysian games for children - Ceper(Image credits to TallyPress)

The game starts by determining who to begin first and placing all five bottle caps on the palm. The caps are then tossed into the air and the player is required to catch as many as they can use the back of their hand. One ceper represents two marks and the player with the most number of caps gets to start first. After that, spin the caps and choose which ceper that will be used as a ‘shooter’. The opponent will then pick one of the leftovers in the middle and the player will have to hit it with the cap that they have chosen earlier. If their try is successful, they will get a point.



#6 Layang-layang & Wau


Layang-layang and Wau are two of the most popular traditional games in Malaysia played hundreds of years ago. Layang-layang, also known as a kite is a square-shaped piece of the sheet while the Wau consists of authentic Malay motifs that can be seen in the form of patterns and decorations.


Traditional Malaysian games for children - layang-layang and wau(Image credits to Globe International)

There are three types of Wau. The first is Wau Bulan which is named for its crescent-like tail shape. The second is Wau Jala Budi or known as a woman’s kite which takes the curves of a woman while the other one is Wau Kucing, named after a shape resembling a cat that is sitting from the rear corner. Both of these games can be played in an open space near the house where the person is required to fly it up in the air by tugging at its strings. The game can also be played as a competition where the person who flies their kite or Wau the highest gets to win.


Playing traditional games can boost a child’s critical thinking skills where they have to practice their brain’s ability to memorize and calculate. This is because each of the traditional games has its own advantages and needed strategies in order for the players to win, which is why they are such a great form of entertainment for all children alike. As the years go by and technology advances, many kids don’t really get the opportunity to learn or experience this type of culture due to the exposure of digital diversions such as online games and Youtube videos. Hence, it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their kids this particular piece of Malaysian tradition in order to liven it up for the future generation.

Want to read more? Check out some of the family-friendly movies you can watch with your kids and also how you can stop your child's gadget addiction.
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