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How the game is played: When a tagger approaches a child in this game, he or she must squat down and say the name of a vegetable or fruit for protection. If the tagger gets you first, you also become "it."
Sticks and Spoons
Using only sticks and spoons, try putting as many marbles in your cup as quickly as possible.
Goal: Put as many marbles in your cup as possible
- 4 foot sticks with spoons taped to the one end (scoop facing outwards). Each person will need a stick/spoon
- Bag of marbles (50 or more marbles)
- Styrofoam cups (one cup per person)
- Chairs (a chair for each person)
1. Arrange all the chairs in a circle facing inwards. Each person needs to get a stick/spoon and Styrofoam cup. Ask everyone to sit in a chair.
2. Open the bag of marbles and scatter them in the middle of the circle. The object of the game is to scoop as many marbles in your cup as possible, using only their sticks/spoon. The cup needs to be on the floor at all times, can only be moved using the stick/spoon.
3. Start the game. After about 5 minutes, stop the game. The person with the most marbles in their cups wins the game.
Call My Bluff
This is a fun word game (made famous by the TV show) which can help children to learn new words, practise dictionary work and presentation skills! It works best in a classroom or large group setting, and you will need time to prepare.
You will need a large dictionary and at least 4 players, preferably more.
3 players are chosen to give the first presentation. They must choose a difficult word from the dictionary (which they hope no-one will know) and write 3 definitions for the word. One of the definitions must be true, and the other two should be plausible (but can be funny).
Now write the word on a card or the chalkboard and ask the 3 children to read out their words to the group of class, giving no indication which is right and which are wrong. Make sure the children adopt a good poker face when giving their definitions!
The audience now votes on which is the right definition. If they guess right, the audience gets a point. If they guess wrong, each of the other 2 presenters gets a point!
Brings a new twist to the regular game of tag. Great game for those who like to run around. Goal: Be the last person standing.
1. Ask everyone to spread out evenly on the playing area.
2. Once you say “go”, everyone tries to tag each other. If one person tags another person, the tagged person must sit down for the rest of the game. However, if two people tag each other at the same time, they both have to sit down.
3. The game continues until all but one person is eliminated. The last person standing wins the game.
Marshmallow Toss Game
Catch as many marshmallows in your mouth before the time runs out!
Goal: To have your team catch the most marshmallows in their mouths as possible
- Masking tape/Jump rope- make two long parallel lines on the ground
- Bags of large-sized marshmallows
- People to volunteer as marshmallow “counters”
- Towels/cleaning materials/garbage bags (this game can get messy if the marshmallows are stepped on)
1. Separate everyone into teams of 4 or 5. Ask for one volunteer from each team to be the “Catcher”.
2. All of the Catchers will need to be behind one of the parallel line, while the rest of the teams line up by team behind the other parallel line. The object of the game is to toss marshmallows into their team Catchers’ mouth. The Catchers need to catch marshmallows using only their mouths (and eat them).
3. Hand a bag of marshmallows to each team and ask each person to grab three marshmallows.
4. When you say “go”, the first person in line tosses his/her three marshmallows to their team’s Catcher, then goes in the back of the line and retrieves 3 more marshmallows. Then, the second person tosses his/her three marshmallows to the Catcher, and goes back in the line to get 3 more marshmallows, and so forth.
5. The team whose Catcher catches the most marshmallows in their mouths and eats the most marshmallows wins the game.
Purses, Pockets, and Wallets
Quickly search your purses, pockets, and wallets for the called item. Great team game.
Goal: Be the first to bring up the items called and get the most points.
- Download and print the list
1. Break everyone into groups of five.
2. Explain the game. You will call out a common object. The first team to bring you the called object wins a point for their team. Each team can only bring up items that they have in their purses, pockets, wallets, and whatever is on them. The first team that earns 10 points wins the game.
- Instead of having a list of items to call out, you can ask each team to find an item for every letter of the alphabet (for example-Hairbrush for H, Quarter for Q, etc.)- One item per letter. The team to bring up as many items as they can that fits within the alphabet within 10 minutes, wins the game.
- Instead of having one point per item, you can assign different point values based on the difficulty of the item. For example, the shoelace item can be worth 3 points while the quarter can be worth 1 point. The team to reach 20 (or so) points wins the game.
Bob the Weasel
Simple circle game, in which the person in the middle has to find a hidden object.
Goal: Don’t end up in the middle of the circle.
- A small object (marble, ring, coin)
1. Have all the kids create a circle, facing inwards. Choose one person to be “Bob the Weasel”. The person needs to stand in the middle of the circle.
2. Explain the rules: The object will be passed from person to person behind their backs. Everyone in the circle needs to say “Bob the Weasel…Keep it Going…Keep it Going” while pretending to pass the coin behind their backs to the next person’s hand, to try and fool “Bob”. The coin can be passed in different directions. Bob will have to guess who has the object.
3. Ask Bob to close his/her eyes. Spin "Bob" around in circles. Have the kids start chanting and passing the object. After a few seconds, tell “Bob” to open his/her eyes and try to guess who has the coin.
4. The game continues until “Bob” guesses the correct person with the coin. The person with the coin gets to be the next person in the middle.
The Dictionary Game
Fool other teams into choosing your team’s definition.
Goal: Get the most points by choosing the correct definition or fooling the other team into choosing your definition.
- You’ll need a pen/paper for each group
- Download and print aoubt 4 to 7 team worksheets. Print out the key worksheet for yourself.
1. Split everyone into groups of 3. Pass out the worksheets (one per team). Each team will need to create definitions for each word. The object is to create the most dictionary-sounding definition, even if you don’t know what the word means. After about five or six minutes, collect all of the worksheets.
2. Read the first word aloud. Read all of the team’s definition for the word, including the correct word definition. Each team has to choose which definition they believe is correct.
3. If the team picks the right definition, they get 1 point. If a team’s definition gets chosen by other teams, the team with the definition will get 2 points for every team they fool. Continue with the rest of the words. The team with the most points wins the game.
Good icebreaker game, especially for kids. Easy to learn and play, with little preparation.
Goal: Avoid being left in the middle of the circle.
- Chairs (one chair per person)
1.Have everyone sit in a chair, arranged in a circle facing inwards. Select one person to be in the middle and remove his or her chair from the circle.
2. Explain the rules: The person in the middle needs to say something that applies to at least 2 people in the circle. For example, “Anyone who has a pet”, “Anyone who is wearing jeans”, “Anyone who has a brother or sister”, “Anyone wearing the color purple”. If the person’s statement applies to someone sitting in the circle, that person has to move from his or her seat and sit in a different chair. If the person says "Fruit Salad", then everyone needs to move to a different chair.
3. The person in the middle tries to sit down. There'll be one person left without a chair- this person will be the next person in the middle of the circle. The standing person starts a new round by saying a different statement.
Note: People cannot move to seats on their immediate left or right. For example, a person is allowed sit two seats away, but they cannot move to the left or right of their current chairs.\
Fast-paced indoor game for children- Chairs required.
Goal: Be the remaining person in the game
- Music- Boombox, Ipod and Speakers, or your awesome singing voice
1. Have all the kids create a circle with their chairs, with the seats pointing outwards.
2. Take one seat out. Explain the rules: When the music begins, each person must walk around the circle. When the music stops, everyone must sit in a chair. The person left without a seat will be out of the game.
3. Start the music and have the kids walk around the chairs. Stop the music. Once one person is out of the game, you will need to take a chair out and start the music again (repeat step 3). The last person remaining wins the game.
The Build Tower Game
Great creative group game- See whose team can build the highest tower using newspapers!
Goal: Build the highest newspaper tower as possible.
- At least 4 - 5 stacks of newspapers
- 5 rolls of masking tape
- Measuring tape
1. Split everyone into teams of five. Hand each group a stack of newspapers and a roll of masking tape.
2.Explain the game: The object of the game is to build the highest newspaper tower, using only the newspaper and masking tape. The teams will be given a couple of minutes to strategize.
3. Give the groups about 15 minutes or more. Measure how high each team’s newspaper tower is. The team with the highest tower wins the game.
- Instead of building the highest tower, ask teams to build the strongest bridge using masking tape and newspapers. For this, you’ll need to have about a dozen pop cans. At the end, place pop cans one by one on top of the bridge. The team whose bridge can hold the most pop cans wins the game.
Special Rule: A pop can must be able to roll through the base of the bridge.
The Dating Game
Fun icebreaker game for groups who know each other well.
Goal: Have the most answers chosen by the dating panel.
- Download and print the worksheets (one per team)
How to Play The Dating Game:
1. You’ll need 3 volunteers to sit up at the front. Arrange everyone else into teams of five. Hand each team a worksheet and ask them to fill it out as a team, with answers that best entice the volunteers.
2. Select one of the volunteers to be first. Ask a question to the volunteer and have each team say their answer. Once all of the answers have been given, the selected volunteer will award a point to the team whose answer the volunteer likes the best.
3. The second volunteer will be next. Ask another question to the entire group. Repeat rules 2-4, and rotate throughout all the questions with all the volunteers. The team with the most points wins.
Squeeze your teammate's hand as quickly as possible- only if the coin comes up as heads!
Goal: Be the first team to grab the object, if the quarter comes up as heads.
- A quarter
- An object for teams to grab (ball, stuffed animal, water bottle, etc.)
1. Arrange everyone into two equally numbered teams. Have both teams line up in parallel lines. At the end of the line, place the object about five feet away (in equal distance from both ends of the line). You’ll be at the head of the line.
2. Explain the rules: Everyone in line will need to hold hands and close their eyes. Only the first person of both lines can open their eyes. Flip the coin in the air, catch it, and reveal the quarter to the first person of both teams.
3. If the quarter comes up as “heads”, the first person squeezes the next person’s hand. The second person squeezes the next person’s hand, and so forth. At the end of the line, the last person runs to grab the object. The team that grabs the object first wins a point for the round. If the quarter comes up as “tails”, then no one squeezes anyone’s hand. If there’s an “accidental” hand squeeze and the quarter comes up as “tails”, the team that grabbed the object loses a point for the round.
4. For the second round, the first person goes to the back of the line and the game continues. The first team that reaches 10 points wins the game.
Classic easy to play card game- similar to slap jack, but with a twist!
Goal: Collect all the cards in your hand.
- Deck of cards
1. Shuffle and deal the cards out to all players. The players must keep their cards face down, in hand. Egyptian War is played clockwise from the dealer.
2. The player left of the dealer (we’ll call the person Player A) goes first by flipping his/her card face up in the middle of the table.
There are two basic scenarios:
- If the card reveals a number from 2 – 10, nothing happens. The next person to the left (Player B) flips his/her card, and the game continues on.
- If Player A flips a royal card (Jack, Queen, King, or Ace), then Player B has a certain number of chances to flip over a royal card:
Jack- One Chance to flip a royal card
Queen- Two Chances to flip a royal card
King- Three Chances to flip a royal card
Ace- Four Chances to flip a royal card
Example: If Player A reveals a King, then Player B has to flip three cards to try to reveal a royal card. If Player B flips a royal card within his/her chances, then the next player has a certain number of chances to flip a royal card.
If a player does not flip over a royal card within his/her chances, then the previous player who had the royal card collects the middle card pile. The game resumes again with the collector flipping his/her card.
3. If a player flips a royal card, the same thing occurs from Step 2 with the next players. The game is played clockwise, until one person has all of the cards and is the ultimate winner.
Kick The Can
Fun active game to play on a large empty field or gym- especially for teenagers.
Goal: To knock over or kick the can. If you're "it", you want to prevent the can from being knocked over or kicked.
- A large gym or flat playing area
- An empty, washed can of food or empty water bottle
1. Ask for four volunteers and designate them to be "it" (Note: You can change this number based on the overall number of people playing). The people who are "it" must protect the can from being knocked over or kicked. If the can is kicked, then the people who are "it" lose the game.
2. Everyone else tries to knock over or kick the can. If a person who is "it" tags them at any time throughout the game, the person is out of the game.
3. If someone manages to "kick the can", everyone else wins the game. If the people who are "it" manages to tag everyone, then they win the game. If the people who are "it" also manages to protect the can for 15 minutes, they win the game.
How the game is played: When a tagger approaches a child in this game, he or she must squat down and say the name of a vegetable or fruit for protection. If the tagger gets you first, you also become "it."
Snake in the Gutter
Number of kids: 6 or more.
How the game is played: Depending on the number of kids, make at least three kids the snakes. Have the snakes form the gutter by standing in a line with wide spaces between them, facing the rest of the kids, who should be at a distance. The adult in charge (or a child) yells, "Snake in the gutter!" The children attempt to run through the gutter without being tagged by a snake. Those who get tagged are now snakes and stay in the gutter. Those who make it through can make another run through the gutter. But anyone who was tagged must join the snakes. Continue the game until everyone has been caught.
Tips for adults: If a child is fearful of making a run through the gutter, help him or her brainstorm a way to get through (or partner two kids up to make a plan).
Giants, Wizards, and Elves
Number of kids: at least 4, but best for larger groups.
How the game is played: This is a whole-body game based on Rock, Paper, Scissors. Before you begin, explain these rules to the players:
Giants conquer wizards. To be a giant, raise your arms high above your head.
Wizards conquer elves. To be a wizard, make a triangle with your arms over your head (like a wizard hat).
Elves conquer giants. To be an elf, place your hands alongside your ears with index fingers extended.
Divide the kids into two teams with a space of about 4 feet between them. Direct each team to retreat a few feet for a huddle to decide which they will be: giants, wizards, or elves.
In their huddles, each team decides what they will be, plus a backup choice. Then they come back to their 4-feet-apart stance. On a count of three, each team yells what they are. If one team yells "Elves!" and the other yells "Wizards!," the wizard team will chase the elves to their safe zone (you can mark these with cones or use a tree or other found object). Anyone who is tagged becomes part of the opposing team. If both teams yell the same creature, they do it over using their backup choice.
Tips for adults: A simper version of this game, called Crows and Cranes, works well for younger children. In this variation, the adult designates one team as Crows and the other as Cranes. The teams line up in the same fashion as above. The adult chooses the chaser team by yelling either "Crows!" or "Cranes!" The identical sounds at the beginning of the words add to the suspense as the teams wait to find out who will chase and who will flee.
Ready, Aim, Throw!
Number of kids: at least 4.
How the game is played: You'll need several blindfolds and a few soft balls (foam balls are good choices). The children partner up, and one kid in each pair is blindfolded. The partner who can see leads the blindfolded partner by the arm.
The object of the game is to get the blindfolded partner to throw the ball at another blindfolded player, then to get the second blindfolded partner to pick it up and throw it at another blindfolded player. If a player is hit twice, the pair is out and heads to the sidelines to watch the game. Kids can help their blindfolded partners defend by telling them when to duck or move in a particular direction.
Tips for adults: Before playing, remind kids that safety is important. Have the blindfolded kids walk with hands up in front of them for "bumpers" to avoid collisions. Demonstrate how to lead a partner by the arm and direct him or her to the ball: "Go forward three steps. Now squat down and reach out with your left hand."
Remind the kids to tune in to their partner's voice. Also, be sure that kids aren't throwing the balls at very close range. For a fun variation, have kids lead partners without touching, only with the voice. When you've played once, switch the blindfold to the other player. This game can also be played by a group of adults!
What this game teaches: Teamwork, listening, motor skills.
How the game is played: When the tagger tags someone, they join hands to form a tagging pair. They now chase while holding hands, moving as a "blob." When they tag someone else, that person joins hands and becomes part of the tagging blob. The members of the tagging blob have to work together to keep moving in the same direction to achieve their goal.
Tips for adults: Break up groups of four into two-person blobs to minimize confusion and stepped-on toes.
Tunnel tag is a variation on freeze tag. In freeze tag, kids "freeze" in the position they're in when tagged. In tunnel tag, someone has to crawl through a child's feet to "unfreeze" him or her so they can rejoin the game.
How the game is played: In this variation, when a child is tagged, he or she places a hand on the spot that was tagged. The child must keep a hand on that spot for the rest of the game. If the child gets tagged a second time, a hand must be placed on the second spot. Now the child has used up all the band-aids. If tagged a third time, the child must go to the "hospital" (the sidelines) and do five jumping jacks to "get well" and rejoin the game.
Capture The Flag
Capture The Flag has always been a huge favourite with my kids, who learned it at a school summer camp and have played on every available occasion since. It is a great game for large, mixed age groups and long summer afternoons!
You will need:
A large group of children
2 flags or markers (anything bright and light-weight, such as a Tshirt, will do)
A large area, which can be roughly divided into two
How to play:
Split the children into two teams and allocate each team with one half of the area. Each team chooses a base position, where they keep their "flag", and a gaol position, where they will keep their prisoners, and makes it known to the other team.
Each team now tries to capture the other team's flag. Whenever a team member ventures onto the other team's territory, he is at risk of being caught (tagged) by the enemy team. When caught he is taken to that team's gaol, where he must remain until he is freed (touched) by one of his team members.
When someone manages to capture the other team's flag and return it to their own territory, their team wins.
A Great Wind Blows
This is a noisy, running around game which works well as an ice-breaker. You'll need chairs for all of the kids, and space to play.
How to play:
Arrange the chairs in a circle, facing the middle. All the children sit down.
An adult stands outside the circle and calls out "A great wind blows for everyone who....", fills in the blank with a statement that will affect some of the group (see ideas below). Anyone who is affected must stand up and find another chair which is at least 2 chairs away from their own.
If a large group of children stand up, the adult should quickly remove one of the chairs from the circle as soon as the kids stand up and begin moving. Any child who cannot find a chair moves outside the circle and helps the adult come up with ideas for the next "great wind blows".
Here are some ideas:
- A great wind blows for everyone who has a little brother
- A great wind blows for everyone who has a big sister
- A great wind blows for everyone who has been to France
- A great wind blows for everyone who has a dog
- A great wind blows for everyone who ate cornflakes for breakfast this morning
- A great wind blows for everyone who likes (celebrity)
The Best Game
Who has the The Highest... Jump? The Fastest... Crab walk? This game showcases hidden and incredibly random talents and skills. Fun group game, especially for groups getting to know one another.
Goal: Win the category points for your team.
- The organizer will have to emcee for this game
- Download and print the List (make sure to provide objects listed as well)
1. Arrange everyone into groups of 4 or 5. Everyone has to participate in at least one round. Explain the rules: You will be announcing a contest category for the group (for example, “The Tallest”). Each group needs to select one person who they think will win the category. There'll be a category contest and if a person has "the best" within the category, his or her team gets a point.
2. Each group needs to select one person from their group who they think will win the category.
3. Reveal the specific action or measurement the selected people have to do to win the contest (example: Whoever has the “The Tallest” thumb). The person with the best action or measurement wins a point for their team. The team with the most points wins the game.