World Culture Activity Video: Philippines Game

Play the traditional Filipino game of tapatan!

Activity best for children age 3 and up

At the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum we love learning about new cultures from around the world and today we are going to explore the Philippines. The Philippines is an archipelago, a group, of over 7,100 islands, in southeastern Asia between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The climate of the Philippines is very hot, humid and tropical. Rainforests cover the islands and many diverse animals and plants live in the Philippines and in the waters around it. This wet tropical climate is great for growing rice. Indeginous people created the famous Banaue rice terraces thousands of years ago and rice is still grown there today. In the Philippines rice is eaten everyday and one of the traditional food dishes that is eaten with rice is adobo. Many Filipinos consider adobo to be the national dish of the Philippines.

In my family we like to play games like hopscotch and tic tac toe. What is your favorite game to play?  Did you know that many of these same games are played in the Philippines? One of those traditional games is called Tapatan and it is played by many Filipino children. Tapatan is a strategic game of getting your game pieces to be three in a row, sort of like tic tac toe. Come join me as we learn how to make our own tapatan game board and play this fun and exciting Filipino board game!

Materials You’ll Need:

Square piece of paper

Marker or crayon

Bottle tops, pennies, buttons or extra game pieces from a checkers game


On a square piece of paper draw  a plus sign and an X to create intersecting lines.

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Gather 6 game pieces. 3 of the same kind for each player. Tip for grown-ups: these pieces can be bottle tops, pennies, buttons or other game pieces like from checkers. They should be different colors or different pieces for each of the 2 players.

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Start the game by placing one of your game pieces on a point on the board. (A point is anywhere where two lines meet.) Place 1 game piece on a point, then let your partner place one of their pieces! Continue taking turns to get 3 pieces in a row. You can only move to an empty point next to where your piece is. You can only move from 1 point to 1 point.

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The first player who gets 3 pieces in a row wins. You can make your 3 in row horizontally, vertically or diagonally. You can not jump over the piece.

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