Category Archives: Children’s games


Back in the early 1990s I bought a book by leading Norwegian ethnobotanist Ove Arbo Høeg (and Helga Hjort) “Barkebåt og kongleku”, all about games children played with plants…at least one of these games I remember teaching my kids…using the flowering stems of Plantago major (Greater plantain / storblad or kjempe)…and the same game turned up in Japan!!

From the Norwegian book on childrens’ games using plants, “Barkebåt og Kongleku”, an illustration of two games using the flowering stems of Plantago major! The top one I taught my own kids, Robin Arne Barstow and Avellana Wood…hook the stems over one another and pull…the winner continues.. The game below is called “slå kjempe” (beat the giant) and here the idea is to knock the top off the opponent’s stalk….this has given the name to the plant, kjempe in Norwegian..
…and in Nagoya, Japan I met Kevin Cameron and his daughter Mona who had a great little book to learn wild plants and here we see exactly the same game :)