Keep the kids happy with Thai-themed games

Whether you’re braving the weather at home, or are travelling away with the kids this summer, keeping little hands and minds busy is a constant challenge.

We’ve had a look at some great games – both traditional and electronic that just might come in handy for your little ones. And, best of all, there are some games and apps that just might help your children to get a taste of Thai culture.

Let’s go fly a kite

Colourful kites outside the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand.

Kite flying is very popular in Thailand and can be competitive too with people trying to outdo each other not just in kite-fighting but in the fabulous colours and designs of their kites.

So, why not get the kids out on a breezy day and fly a kite? You can even have a go at making your own kites.

Keepie uppie vs. sepak takraw

Every football fan will be familiar with the art of keepie uppie – where you juggle a football using your feet, lower legs, knees, chest, shoulders and head.

In Thailand, and across South-East Asia, there’s a traditional game called sepak takraw, or kick volleyball, which is very similar to keepie uppie.

Players form a loose circle and acrobatically pass a woven rattan ball to each other, trying to keep it airborne, and eventually kick it into a basket suspended above their heads.

Traditional games for all the family

Western & Oriental, the independent, luxury tour operator has joined forces with Josie Curran, expert author on screen-free games, activities and fun things to do, to produce the W&O Holiday Playbook, which is free to download here.

The Playbook is packed with a huge range of games for the whole family to enjoy together – there are games for the beach, by the pool, for the plane journey, and even for rainy days.

Dern Kala – a traditional Thai game – is great to play on any beach. Photo credit:

There’s even a section on traditional games from around the world, including Dern Kala – from Thailand – which involves racing with coconut shells for shoes! Here is Josie Curran’s instructions on how to play Dern Kala:

• Get hold of a coconut – fresh or an ice-cream filled shell. Drink the milk and enjoy the coconut flesh or ice-cream and then give it a good clean out.
• Next you need to make a hole into the top of each coconut so that you can thread some string through and tie the two shells at either end. This should be done so the flat cut of the shell is facing down. You might want to ask the hotel staff or the coconut man to help you with making the hole.
• Get your players lined up at the starting line with their coconut shell shoes on, and on the word ‘go’ it’s a race to the finishing line.


E-fun with the Smile Land apps

Playing together is great but sometimes it’s nice to have some quiet time with your favourite electronic device – especially when it rains – and this is where Smile Land should come in handy.

Smile Land is a range of free game apps developed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to bring a little bit of Thai culture to Facebook, Android smartphones, iPhone and iPad. All apps can be downloaded from the Smile Land website, an Apple store or Android apps store.

The games include: Tuk Tuk Racing; Somtam Sukjai, where you compete with other chefs to select ingredients; Siam Tempo, where you practise playing the Thai Sabat Chai drum; and Muay Thai, where you compete to be the strongest Thai boxer.


So, there are some traditional and modern ideas to keep the whole family occupied. Happy holidays everyone!