Are you in Canada? Click here to proceed to the HK Canada website.

For all other locations, click here to continue to the HK US website.

Human Kinetics Logo

Purchase Courses or Access Digital Products

If you are looking to purchase online videos, online courses or to access previously purchased digital products please press continue.

Mare Nostrum Logo

Purchase Print Products or eBooks

Human Kinetics print books and eBooks are now distributed by Mare Nostrum, throughout the UK, Europe, Africa and Middle East, delivered to you from their warehouse. Please visit our new UK website to purchase Human Kinetics printed or eBooks.

Feedback Icon Feedback Get $15 Off

Human Kinetics is moving to summer hours. Starting May 31 – August 2, our hours will be Mon – Thurs, 7am – 5pm CDT. Orders placed on Friday with digital products/online courses will be processed immediately. Orders with physical products will be processed on the next business day.

Create physical activities that heighten cultural awareness

This is an excerpt from International Games by Gayle Horowitz.


Peteca is a traditional game of hand shuttlecock from Brazil. The Tupians, a group of South American Indian tribes indigenous to Brazil, were a warlike people who wore little clothing but adorned themselves with feathers and small piercings in their lower lips called labrets. Feathers also played an important part in one of the games the Tupians played around 1500 AD. The Tupian game of peteca is still played today in a slightly modernized form.

The term peteca, which is a Tupian word meaning strike and shuttlecock, has found its way into the Brazilian language of Portuguese. Petecas were homemade and consisted of leaf-wrapped stones tied inside an ear of corn. The modern version features a leather pad with feathers in it.

Similar Games

  • Courtship shuttlecock, which comes from China's Dong people, originated in the planting process in rice paddies. Workers threw and caught seedlings as they planted, and everyone accepted an invitation to play because it was considered impolite to refuse. Young people used the game as an excuse to get to know each other. The shuttlecock was made of grass seeds and chicken feathers.
  • Indiaca, from Germany, evolved from peteca. The name indiaca reflects the game's origin because it is derived from the words Indian, which refers to the native peoples, and peteca. The name also refers to the modified shuttlecock used for this game.

Equipment Needed

  • Map showing Brazil
  • Modified shuttlecocks
  • Floor marked with large circles. A circle for 5 players should be approximately 30 feet (9 m) in circumference; add approximately 6 feet (2 m) for each additional player.

How to Play

  1. Players form circles of 5 to 10 people.
  2. The first person tosses the shuttlecock into the air and strikes it with the palm of the hand.
  3. Players continue to keep the shuttlecock aloft by striking it with their hands and passing it to other players in a random pattern.
  4. Players must hit the shuttlecock up, rather than laterally, so that it can be easily hit by the next player.
  5. Players call out the letters of the alphabet in succession with each strike of the shuttlecock. They may also call out numbers in place of letters.

Variations of Play

  • Players strike the shuttlecock to the person directly next to them. Continue around the circle in this manner.
  • Players may strike the shuttlecock around the circle in a random pattern and call out the name of the next player to hit the shuttlecock.
  • Using the random method, groups compete to see which one can keep the shuttlecock aloft the longest.


  • Groups should stand far enough apart to avoid contact.
  • Players in each circle should stand at least one arm's length apart from each other. They may put their arms out to the sides to measure the distance.
  • Players should not run outside the perimeter of the circle, but they may run toward the center or to the sides of the circle. If the shuttlecock travels outside the circle, players should let it drop. Any player who hits the shuttlecock out of the circle is penalized.

This is an excerpt from International Games.

More Excerpts From International Games