Games

Pastimes in nature, the games through which kids entertain in playful relationships with plants, herbs and flowers, are the first form of knowledge of local biodiversity.

Every game is the expression of the common creativity with the surrounding environment .

Squitàcc

Avano

It is a “musket” made with an elderberry branch freed from the marrow where another branch is inserted, which will act as a trigger to shoot hemp balls. The peculiarity of the musket documented in Valvarrone is that the balls are two: one well stuck in the upper part of the pierced wood and the other at the end. The thrust of the wood inside the groove not only "shoots" the ball but, creating an inner tube in the branch, it produces a real burst.

games with flowers

Canneto Pavese

In primavera gli spazi verdi diventano campi di gioco, dove ogni fiore, con le caratteristiche che gli sono proprie, diventa occasione di passatempo. Soffiare la sfera lanuginosa che segue la fioritura del tarassaco, dispersa in innumerevoli piccoli paracadute con i semi, è di buon auspicio per la realizzazione dei propri desideri. Il suo gambo cavo consente di cimentarsi nell’uso della trombetta. I segreti nascosti in alcuni fiori come i boccioli di papavero, consentono ai bambini e bambine di sfidarsi in pratiche divinatorie: sarà un gallo, una gallina o un pulcino? Sarà un prete, una suora o un chierichetto?

BOW AND ARROWS

Barbianello

The arc is traditionally built an hazel branch. The flexibility of hazel branches allows their curvature and can be kept in tension by a string that connects their two extremes. The arrows can be made with thin and straight branches that can be easily found at the feet of shrubs and plants during spring or summer. To make this game less dangerous, paper balls were applied, tied with a piece of cloth, to the sharp point of the arrow.

BASKET WITH WILD GRASS

Bovegno

This game is made in Val Trompia using herbaceous plants like plantain that invade fields, meadows and any green space during late spring and summer. The flexible and resistant nature of the stems makes these plants particularly suitable for games that involve weaving, as in the case of small baskets. Filled with flowers, the baskets were sold by children along the roads to passing vacationers.

THE CARDINAL

Barbianello

Il cardinale è un gioco di maggio, legato alla fugace ma diffusa presenza dei papaveri nei prati come nelle aree dismesse, in vigna come in parchi pubblici o tra le fessure dei marciapiedi. Il cardinale è una miniatura della figura ecclesiastica realizzata incastrando tra di loro due parti del papavero. Il bocciolo prima della fioritura diventa una tunica rossa su cui viene innestato il frutto del papavero, una capsula ovoidale che contiene i semi del fiore, che diviene la testa del cardinale.

THE COWS

Cimmo

In Val Trompia, a Cimmo, la maggior parte delle famiglie aveva una “cascina”, a pochi km di distanza dalle abitazioni, dove si tenevano le mucche. In primavera ed estate i bambini che seguivano i genitori nel lavoro di accudimento delle mucche si costruivano delle piccole mandrie in miniatura utilizzando dei rami di frassino.

LA SCIGUéTA

Castione Andevenno

The game of the sciguéta, as the name suggests, produces a very strong sound similar to that of the owl. It is the typical game connected to a seasonal agricultural work: it is made with a piece of vine shoot (from bud to bud) cut during winter pruning. The fathers and the grandparents did the sciguète while they were pruning and gave them to the children who challenged each other in sound battles for the loudest screech.

TRUMPET WITH THE STEM OF A COURGETTE

Esino Lario

The hollow stem of the courgette, once engraved, is used to "play the trumpet". By making holes, the sound can be modulated to create simple compositions.

BLOWGUN WITH ELDER

Valle Scuropasso

The blowgun is one of the most popular games, used above all for battles "to the last berry". In fact, the berries of plants and shrubs were used as projectiles, such as unripe grape berries or, even better, the berries that "make ink", such as those of privet or elderflower. "Place that you go, plants and blowguns you find": while in the Mantuan plain to make the blowgun is mostly used the widespread marsh reed, on the clay hills of Oltrepò are preferred the hollow branches of the eld.

MEADOWS GAMES

Bovegno

The daisy is one of the flowers that are most used to play in the meadows in late spring. In Bovegno we documented the creation of a simple “umbrella” from this common flower. Another pastime, shared with the rest of Lombardy and beyond, is to play a thread of grass (who has never tried it?). Finally, the dandelion stem is used to create floral curls that, when applied to the ears, become showy earrings.

CORN-HUSK DOLL

Barbianello

Questo gioco veniva praticato quando ci si riuniva nelle aie per scartocciare il granoturco. Si trattava di un lavoro collettivo e che rinsaldava le reti di collaborazione attraverso la condivisione di gesti leggeri e ripetitivi accompagnati da racconti. La pannocchia diventava il gioco che teneva occupati i più piccoli: togliendo qualche chicco, la meliga diventava una piccola bambola dalle molteplici sembianze.

THE TRUMPET AND THE "ORGNE"

Valvarrone

The trumpet it is the simplest wind instrument that can be made with the bark of a chestnut sucker. In fact, after removing the bark from a small chestnut branch and slightly hulled at the mouth, blowing inside becomes a real trumpet. It could be inserted into the "orgne" (the horn) and replaced when it had become dry and no longer sounded. "L’orgne" is è uno strumento a fiato realizzato con la corteccia di un pollone di castagno, incisa a spirale e riavvolta su se stessa fino a fare da cassa di risonanza a forma di cono. Era uno strumento usato quando si andava a pascolare per mandarsi richiami o messaggi in codice da una parte all’altra della vallata. L’orgne funziona fino a quando la corteccia è umida, oppure aggiungendo all’imboccatura, di volta in volta, una nuova trombetta. Grazie alla trombetta il corno poteva essere utilizzato per più tempo, diventando un po’ meno effimero.

SIOLéT

Valvarrone

The chestnut shoots, the one-year-old branches that grow at the base of the plant and are usually cut during the summer pruning, were used for the construction of whistles which, with the addition of a couple of holes, could become small flutes. It was a game made mostly by children who took their cattle to graze and who therefore spent long days alone.

THE FLYWHEEL

Canneto sull’Oglio

Il volano veniva fatto nel momento della sgranatura delle pannocchie, anche questo un lavoro condiviso nelle aie tra famigliari, conoscenti e vicinato. I bambini usavano il tutolo, ciò che resta dopo la sgranatura della pannocchia che, equipaggiata di tre penne di piccione, diventava un perfetto volano per sfidarsi in gare di lancio o per osservare le sue evoluzioni circolari nell’aria.

Indian headdress

Esino Lario

The woods became the places where to continue the western adventures that began to be seen in comics and films. The chestnut leaves, with large laminae that reach 20 centimeters and 10 wide, sharpened at the apex and serrated at the edge, became perfect feathers that, "sewn" together with thin sticks, made possible to create a true Indian headdress.

BOWGUN AND BUBBLES WITH CANE

Canneto sull'Oglio

Common or marsh reeds, with their long, hollow and robust stem, become a privileged tool for games that require the passage of air. All it takes is a thin wood to free them completely from the filaments that remain attached to the internal walls of the stem. The hollow stem makes these plants suitable for launching berries-bullets and for creating bubbles with soap.