This traditional Japanese game just need two pairs of hands and some strategy (and simple adding) skills! Good fun for getting kids thinking - and every game ends up differently!
You need at least 2 children, but you can play with more if your adding skills are up to it!
The object of the game is to be the last player left with a hand in the game. A hand is "dead" and has to be hidden behind the back when all 5 fingers (or chopsticks) are extended. Play as follows:
Players each put one finger out and hold their hands in front of them. One person starts by using one of his hands to touch any other person's hand. The person he touches adds up the number of fingers involved (on this first go it would be two - one on each of the children's hands) and holds that number of fingers out. Play then passes to the next child (move clockwise around the group, if there are more than two children).
When it is your turn, if you have more than 1 finger extended on each hand, you can choose to touch your own hands together rather than touch someone else's hand. If you do this, you add together the number of fingers on both hands, then split that number between your two hands in a different way. So, for example, if you had 4 fingers extended on your right hand and 2 on your left hand, you might tap them together then split them so that you have 3 extended on each hand. Obviously it is a good idea to do this if you have 4 fingers extended on one hand, because with one more touch that hand could become "dead" and have to go out of the game. You can't do this if you 4 fingers extended on each hand, or 4 on one hand and 3 on the other, as you would just be swapping your fingers around indefinitely.
Some people play that you need to have exactly 5 to make your hand "dead". So, if you have 4 fingers on your hand and are touched by a hand with 2 fingers, you roll the total over and subtract 5 - leaving 1 finger extended.
Game of five
In this variation, your hand isn't "dead" until you the next touch after 5. So if you have 5 fingers extended, the next time you are touched your hand becomes "dead."