Circle chants

All afternoon Over in Jequitinhonha Valley, Minas Gerais, Araci and Faustina remember the songs they’d sing in circles with their friends in the afternoon. “We’d sing the whole night through,” Araci said, rescuing these games from fading away. There are many mothers and grandmothers from this neck of Brazil who pine for the games that[…]

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The grown-up kids series

Spintop Master “Faria” short for José Faria Júlio, is a “grown-up kid” from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, who makes toys and games for a living. Legs from beds and wardrobes. Fruit crates and building scraps. He make his toys with these and other everyday leftovers. A simple piece of a bed, whittled down, becomes a[…]

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Jequitinhonha valley


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White Fire Anyone dropping by for a visit in Jequitinhonha Valley, in Minas Gerais, will always be welcomed with warm conversation, hot coffee and tapioca cookies. The chats often occur beside a wood-fired stove, which seems to warm up the conversation. The same stove is a recurring figure in the games of girls – in[…]

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Kite

When the wind whistles… All it takes is for the wind to whistle a bit louder for the boys from Campo Buriti, a community in Jequitinhonha Valley, to start hunting for plastic bags around the house, thread from their mother, and buriti wood for the struts.  Kites like the ones you see in the photos[…]

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River Communities

Childhood on the water In Vila Nova fishing community, in the state of Pará, children see the Xingu River from their windows. The river is used for food and travel, it suffuses the local imagination and is an inexhaustible source of play for river children. Photos: Samuel Macedo

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Reflection


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For childhood, the environment is a means In the many backyards across Brazil, children’s relationship with nature is not one of preservation, but symbiosis. For the many Brazilian childhoods, the environment is a means. The fundamental means for the practice of being a child. In the backyards of small Minas Gerais towns where pequi trees[…]

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The grown-up kids series


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Maneloião’s gift Some boys grow up, but remain boys at heart. Manoel da Conceição Neto, nicknamed Maneloião, is one of those “grown-up kids” who never left the wisdom of childhood behind. Raised with the rising and falling tides of the San Francisco River, aka “Old Chico,” Maneloião’s hands still hold the knowledge of toy building.[…]

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Xingu

The origin of Araweté names. When Childhoods first stepped onto Araweté land, on the banks of the Xingu River, we encountered numerous surprises. The first came from the children. In Chief Kamarati’s village, girls and boys gifted us with Araweté names. So we set our origins aside, only answering to the names they gave us.[…]

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Spintop

Cabinha, pião and boi When it’s rainy season in Ceará’s Cariri region, between December and June, the spintops come out. The well compacted earth helps them spin and spin. Everywhere you look, there’s a boy and his spintop. They do 1001 maneuvers, including spinning them on their thumbnail. One popular game is boi (ox). Learn[…]

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(Carretão) Big cart

Rodeio’s Wheels In the tiny farm town of Rodeio Bonito, northern Rio Grande do Sul, while adults amble around in humble carretinhos (little carts), kids parade in their carretões (big carts)! A carretão is a toy that’s been built by many generations of children there. Learn more in this video.

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Exhibition

Windows to Childhoods Children want to play. If they don’t have a backyard, they’ll invent one. In want of material, they transform things. Thus, girls play hopscotch on desks with their fingertips in Minas Gerais. In Espírito Santo, boys turn manioc root into airplanes. In Bahia’s Recôncavo region, flip-flops and a plastic bag are enough[…]

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Cariri


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‘My whole childhood was the reisado’ “The reisado’s good Reisado was my childhood To this day I remember The reisado games I played” The verses of this song, recited at Aldenir and Isabel’s center for the folk tradition, reveal the strong ties between kids and the reisado, as a veritable toy for children in the[…]

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Jangada

Boats of all kinds On the banks of the Xingu river, boys and girls grow up among all kinds of boats, not just canoes. Many you won’t find anywhere else in the world, such as voadeiras, gaiolas, catraias, rabetas, batelões, among many others. Toy versions of these boats are fashioned by the skilled hands of[…]

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As told by children

Tracking Fulozinha (Little Flower) “You want to know where Maria Fulozinha lives?” Regivânia asked me. She took me by the hand, saying: “Come on, let’s go to the forest. She lives there.” There was a stand of trees behind the brightly painted houses of Juazeiro do Norte’s Horto neighborhood, from where you can easily spot the famous[…]

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Xikrin lullaby

Good night, little meprire Among the Xikrin, who speak the Jê-Kayapo language, children are called meprire. And a crying meprire is always cause for concern in the village. It only takes a few sobs before someone runs to calm the child. With infants, for example, it is very common for a mother, grandmother or other[…]

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Childhoods

A traveling exhibit In its suitcases filled with photo albums, toys made by children, little boxes brimming with sounds and many other elements of life from around the country, the “Childhoods” exhibit travelled to Rio de Janeiro’s International Language Exchange Festival (FIL). It docked there from September 19-29, 2013. Photos: Samuel Macedo/Childhoods  

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