Samoan Games and Toys


Samoan boys and girls usually play with toys they make themselves. Perhaps you could have fun making and playing with some of the same things they do.

SAPO (jackstones)

Make up hand motions to do while a small stone is tossed into the air. Then catch the stone before it reaches the ground.

TAUPEGA (swing) and TAFUE (jump rope)

Make these items out of braided fibers or vines.

TAPALEGA (watergame)

This game is often played in shallow water. Each player has a stick for a bat. A small, light piece of wood is dropped on the water. A player hits the water beside it to make it fly up and, while the wood is in the air, the player hits it toward the goal. When the wooden piece reaches the goal it is returned.

PE‘APE‘A (windmill)

Weave strips of dry coconut leaves or paper together. Tuck the ends in to hold and fasten to a stick for a windmill. When you run with it, the pe‘ape‘a will turn like a windmill.

LAGO MUMU (roarer)

Attach a rectangular strip of leaf about 1 1/2″ x 8″ (or thin piece of wood such as a lath) to one end of a stick like a flag. A piece of fiber or twine is tied through the leaf near each end, leaving a loose loop along the leaf. When you whirl the stick in the air you hear a whirring roar from the leaf and fiber.

MOA (top)

Glue a short piece of a dowel or a straight stick inside the pointed end of a coconut shell.

TAGATI‘A (darts)

Whittle a smooth, straight stick so that it is thinner at one end. Hold the tagati‘a with thumb and middle finger at the thin end and throw underhand. It must strike and glance off a small, stamped-down mound of dirt first. The longest throw wins.

SE‘EVAE IPU (foot clompers)

Drill two holes near the ends of two coconut shell halves or two tin cans. Run cords through them to make a long loop. Hold the clompers on your feet by the long loops as you go clomping along.

lago mumu—lahng-oh-moomoo

moa—moh-a

pe‘ape‘a—pey-apey-ah

sapo—sah-po

se‘evae ipu—seh-eh-vye-ee-poo

tagati‘a—tahng-a-tee-a

tapalega—tah-pah-lehng-a

taupega—tau-pehng-a

[illustration] Illustrated by Carol Anderson