A traditional Swedish game for all the family

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For the last couple of weeks we’ve been reading as many Swedish picture books as we could get hold of. Sitting and reading is LOTS of fun, of course, but sometimes getting up, throwing things and bringing out a little bit of the competitive spirit can also be very enjoyable – and thus the Swedish game called Kubb has been something we’ve also been getting up to.

From these full instructions you’ll see that traditionally it’s an outdoor game with wooden pieces, where there are two teams and the aim is to knock down all the pieces on the opposite half of the field from your team, and then finally to knock down the “king”, a large central piece. Here’s a video clip to get a better idea:

As it’s the middle of winter here we opted to amend the game to suit smaller people playing indoors. We made the set of pieces out of card and used a bedsheet to define the field boundaries.

This game was a HUGE hit! What kid doesn’t enjoy being encourage to throw things indoors, usually such a forbidden activity?!

A physical game that encourages developing an accurate throw, this made a great change to playing a board game round the table.

In fact we enjoyed the game so much that I think we’ll make a wooden set to play in the garden in the summer – a couple of fence post and broom handles sawn into short lengths should suffice (and I think M could even handle doing a little bit of the sawing of the broom handles). If you don’t have a saw you can buy Kubb sets online.

Alongside playing Kubb and reading Pancakes for Findus and When Findus was Little and Disappeared we’ve been listening to:

  • The band Kubb! Amazing what you discover when researching a blog post. Not kiddie music but they did appear on TOTP once upon a time (For non Brits Top of The Pops was a classic music programme playing the top selling pop records each week – an almost essential part of growing up for Brits of a certain age)

  • Blueberry Pancakes by Frances England

  • Old MacDonald Zulu Style by Ladysmith Black Mambazo – do listen to this it’s amazing (and free!) And if you like it you might want to check out Songs from a Zulu Farm – their latest album. It’s due out anytime now and “it’s essentially a kids music album — stories in songs from the youth of the group’s members.” (via Zooglobble)

  • Instead of (or as well as) playing Kubb you could try out these activities if you wanted a Swedish activity to go with the books we’ve been reading:

  • Make Swedish paper hearts – a tutorial from Maggy at Red Ted Art guestposting at non other than The Guardian! Go Maggy!

  • Watch some Pettson and Findus clips on You Tube. Four Pettson and Findus films have been made based on the books and whilst the YouTube clips are mostly in Swedish, some in German, whatever language they’re in, they are fun.

  • Eat some Swedish pancakes – they sound delicious and light-textured, and could be fun to compare with the Finnish pancakes we tried a couple of weeks ago!

  • And now over to you: Have you ever been to Sweden? What’s your favourite physical game for all the family?

    4 Responses

    1. Zoe

      Hi Maggy, it was just perfect for being active indoors – definitely recommended!

    2. Darcy

      Wow, I just discovered your blog through Artful Parent and I’m still going through the archives, what a wealth of information you have. I’ve already put the book about the butterfly woman on my amazon wishlist. I also have a blog where I discuss our favorite children’s books, here’s a link to the archives – http://bedtimemonsters.blogspot.com/p/things-to-read.html incase you are interested. Anyways, great to meet you and discover your blog!

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