Faculty of Education, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskisehir, Turkey.
Statement of the Problem: Children are constantly stimulated in different developmental areas through playing games with other children or adults. Play can provide a context wherein children achieve deep learning through the integration of intellectual, physical, moral, and spiritual values and commit themselves to learning, developing, and growing. While playing games, children learn a wide range of social skills. In addition to being contexts in which most learning related to children’s lives occurs, games also provide children with contexts to learn about their own cultures and cultural values. Whereas values may show cultural differences, they can also be shared universally. Examining the role of children’s games played in Turkey is significant in teaching universal values (achievement, benevolence, conformity, hedonism, power, security, self–direction, stimulation, tradition, and universalism).
Purpose of the Study: This study was designed to determine the roles of traditional children’s games played in Turkey in teaching ten universal values.
Method: This study was designed as a qualitative study based on content analysis using a deductive analysis method. Pre-defined categories were identified, and these categories were identified in the texts describing the games. The present study’s evaluation includes 421 games found among the traditional games played in Turkey and analysed in previous scientific studies.
Findings: The analysis revealed that all games included the value of Hedonism. Almost all games emphasized achievement as well in the form of achieving pre-defined competitive tasks masterly before rival(s) could achieve them. In third place, the value of power was emphasized in the games, and this value always occurred along with achievement. According to the analysis, power was related to the winner’s earning the right to seize the belongings of others or impose a sanction to the loser(s) after success in the game. The remaining seven values (benevolence, conformity, security, self-direction, stimulation, tradition and universalism) were almost never emphasized in the games.
Conclusion and Recommendations: Traditional children’s games at present seem to be a missed opportunity in terms of values education. Games that encourage children to acquire more positive values should be designed. Keywords: Turkey, tradition, children’s games, universal values, values education, content analysis.