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2022 started with heavy rainfalls, thunderstorms, and a drop to 23 degrees Celsius. Singapore’s yearly Northeast Monsoon Season – December to early March – has begun to shift from its wet phase (Dec – early Jan) to dry phase (late Jan to early March). This means that more people will be planning for a day out while the sky remains clear.

No doubt, one of these ‘days out’ would be to visit the beaches located at the east side of Singapore. This is the perfect time to enjoy a short vacation from our daily responsibilities and gather in a place where people unwind. 

Some people will be there to sunbathe and achieve that sun-kissed look, while others prefer to take a leisurely stroll along the beach, read a book while listening to the sea, go in for a cool swim or enjoy an outdoor picnic together. But for those who go to the beach with a group of friends or family,  what better way to bond than to play a few rounds of games at the beach?

Covid measures to take note of

Before you start packing up your swimsuit and sunblock into your bag, you should first check the latest covid measures implemented for outdoor activities at the beach. This is to ensure that you’ll be able to have an enjoyable day at the beach without getting into any sort of unexpected trouble with the safety ambassadors. As of now, the measures are:

  • Social gatherings are still limited to 5 people per group with no intermingling between different groups.
  • Masks must always be on unless you are consuming food, drink or medication, or engaged in strenuous exercises.

Due to the different measures each beach might have, please take note of the following: 

(There will be a queue to enter the beach everyday due to maximum capacity available but bookings are only required during peak periods: Saturdays, Sundays, and Public Holidays.)

It is also a good habit to look out for the latest covid measures. Depending on the present situation, there will be changes made to the current measures.

4 Old School Beach Games

Now that we are fully prepared to visit the beach, it’s time to slap on a ton of sunblock and dive into nostalgic old-school games (each with its unique twist to it) that we used to play when we were young (but let’s be honest, we are still young). Volleyball and frisbee may be the popular sports to play at the beach but they require a good amount of skill to play. With old-school Singaporean games, we need only to recall some rules before slipping into motion. Plus, each of these games have their own variations, so if you have your preferred rules in mind, go ahead and play them in your way!

1. Mountain sand twig

This is a game that takes up the least amount of energy. You could play this sitting down. The game’s objective is to prevent the twig from falling. 

  • Build a mountain of sand around a twig placed upright in the centre  (you can find a small, thin twig that has fallen off a tree or bush). 
  • Each player takes turns to remove a part of the mountain with their hands without causing the twig to fall. If the twig falls during your turn, you will lose while the rest wins.

2. Pepsi Cola 1-2-3

Contrary to the title, this game isn’t about drinking Pepsi. The objective of the game is to eliminate the other players by stepping on their foot (lightly) and become the last surviving player. 

  • It is best to play this with a limitation on the distance used so draw a circle or a square as a boundary (the size of the shape should be comfortable enough for each player to move around within jumping distance). 
  • First, decide on the order of the players to start first. Then all players join their hands in a circle and shout “Pepsi Cola! 1, 2, 3!” as they jump three steps backwards, as far as they can go, letting go of their hands as they jump. 
  • Taking turns, each player will have three moves per turn. They can either walk or jump. Every step counts as one move. If you jump with both feet, it is also counted as one move. At the end of the 3 moves, it is another player’s turn.
  • Each player will try to strategically step on another player’s foot within 3 moves. For every move that the player takes, they MUST count the number 1 to 3 or else the move would be considered invalid. The opponent targeted can react and move away only when the player makes a move and counts. This means that the opponent cannot move if the player has not done so, and the opponent can only move once for every count. 
  • Anyone who gets stepped on is out of the game and the last person standing is the winner.

3. A-E-I-O-U

This is similar to the famous game from Squid Game, ‘Red Light Green Light’, but with a Singaporean twist to it. There are two different goals here. First, the player called the “catcher” is aiming to catch the other players, whereas the rest of the players aim to tap and escape from the catcher. 

  • A catcher will be randomly chosen to stand in one spot at a running distance from the other players with her back turned away. The other players will all stand before the starting line (remember to draw a straight line to indicate the starting line) and wait for the catcher to start. 
  • The catcher, with her back turned away from the players, will shout “A-E-I-O-U” letter by letter, at her own pace (the fun part is that the catcher can shout it slowly or quickly to throw the players off guard.) At the same time, the players will only begin to move towards the catcher when she shouts out the letter “A.”
  • When the catcher ends at “U”, she will turn around and face the player’s direction. All the players are required to freeze in their position before she turns. If she catches anyone moving, she has the right to call out the moving player back to the starting line and that particular player/s will have to start all over again while the rest remain in their position.
  • The player’s goal is to touch the back of the catcher while she is shouting out “A-E-I-O-U” before she turns around. Just one player is needed to tap the back of the catcher and when that happens, all of the players will make a run towards the starting line. A player who is caught before the line will be the next catcher. If no one is caught, the catcher will continue with her role.
  • However, if the catcher manages to turn around and grab a player within her reach before they tap her back, that player(s) will be “imprisoned” by the catcher. Imprisoned players are required to hold on to the arms or shoulder of the catcher while facing the starting line. 
  • The game will continue until a surviving player tapped the back of the catcher. The imprisoned players will be freed and all of the players have to run back to the starting line. Again, a player who is caught will become the next catcher.

4. Kick the Can

This is a game that requires more energy and one that might be unfamiliar to some locals. Kick the Can is a team game where a player is chosen to be It and the rest of the players must cooperate as a team to win against It. The objective of It is to catch at least 3 players while the other players’ goal is to ensure that their teammates are not captured by It by the end of the time limit.

  •  The game has a time limit of 5 -10 minutes (you can decide on how long you want it to be) and an object is required to be placed upright onto the sand (it can be an empty can, bottle, stick).
  • Due to the covid distance measure, it is advisable to limit the boundaries of the game area so that no one will risk running into another group by accident.
  • Place the can onto the sand (do not stick it into the sand.) Draw a square sized “jail” a few feet away from the can.
  • A player is chosen to be It and will stand next to the can.
  • It will start counting down from 10 and the other players will move to a space to stand on.
  • Once It finishes counting, she will try to tag each of the players. The rest of the players will try to not be tagged by It. 
  • Players who are tagged are sent to jail and will remain there until the other players save them. In order to do so, the other players must attempt to kick the can to free their teammates without being tagged at the same time.
  • Players will win if they are all freed (out of the jail) and It will win if a minimum of 3 players are imprisoned in jail by the end of the time limit. 3 players are required to be in jail for It to win if there are 5 people playing in total; 2 players are the minimum if there are 4 people playing.

These are the 4 beach games that you can consider playing in a group setting to get your body moving and heart pumping. If you feel like adding more thrill to it, you can include an individual point system, increase the stakes with a reward and punishment system for the winner and loser, or have the loser do a truth-or-dare. Be creative!

In the upcoming days when you are planning to go to the beach with your friends or family, try out some of these bonding activities. And don’t be embarrassed to play because of the onlookers at the beach, you are there to have fun with your companions and to create memories with them. Who knows, maybe other people will be inspired by what you are doing and play it with their group too. After all, these games are familiar to most Singaporeans!

andrea leong

Nanyang Tech '22

Constantly tired, could lie in bed all day and still be tired. If someone is to write a story about her, she would like to be identified as a pebble size rock. And her friends would be the protagonist of the story, carrying her around in their pockets while they travel around the world. – Inspired by Suga & V's conversation
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