Indoor & Outdoor Games with RESOURCE LIST
Resources at the end - including wilderness awareness, peace education & native wisdom.
This collection is compiled & edited by Rick Gravrok, a champion for children & healthy community. • Updated Jan. 2007 • Minneapolis, MN. 952-926-6655 rick.gravrok [at] tcinternet.net
AS WITH ALL GAMES, be sure that all players understand that everyone is to have fun & be safe. Nobody gets hurt and everyone is responsible for safety, their own & others.
Use these games at your own risk.
• Establish your GAME RULES and SAFETY AGREEMENTS before starting. Have players help to create the rules so that they will own them as their own and be more committed to them. Or if the rules are already established, at least get an agreement from everyone that they will abide by and support them. Players unwilling to abide by the group's rules can be asked to play some other game.
• Affirm that PEOPLE are the MOST IMPORTANT part of any play and that people and HAVING FUN are more important than winning, scores or rigid rules.
• If the rules aren't safe or fun enough, EMPOWER THE PLAYERS to change them.
CAUTION: Some of these are "soft war" games which are more physical - people can get hurt more easily - therefore extra care is required. Because there is risk, people can learn to trust each other more. Have someone stand aside as referee to stop play whenever play gets too rough. ANYONE can call “safety" or "stop" to halt the action. Then review or modify your safety agreements as needed, recommit to them & continue playing.
------- GAMES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER: XX = favorites -------
- some games are for everyone, including preschoolers, others are not -
Balloon Stomp : This is a wild one. Tie a balloon to the shoes of all participants. Using only feet, the object is to stomp and break everyone else's balloon before yours is busted. Players are out when their balloon is popped––or they can continue stomping––decide on your rules before you start. OPTIONS: Form teams before starting. Or form couples by tying legs together. Or, if the game is going too long, allow hands.
XX - Bean Bag Tag ( All Ages ): All players balance a beanbag on their own head, including whoever is "it" . Everyone moves around the playing area, without touching their bean bag, or anyone else's, and play “freeze tag” where––if you’re frozen––you must stay in your spot until someone comes along to “unfreeze” you. You are frozen if : you get tagged by "it"; or you touch your own bag; or if your beanbag falls off. If you are frozen, put your bag on the floor.
To get unfrozen someone else must come along and put your beanbag back on your head. The other way to get unfrozen is if “it” drops or touches his/her own bag, then everyone is unfrozen and everyone puts their your own bag back on their own head and continues moving around.
Alternatives: You can play so that if you’re tagged by “it” you become the new "it". And, you can have more than one player be "it" to get more action going.
Beehive : (Grade school) Play area is divided into two parts. Stand up two folding mats (or something that is unbreakable and easy enough to knock down), one on each side of the play area . Divide players into two teams. The goal is to try to knock down your team's mat with balls before the other team knocks theirs down. Have 2-10 balls per side depending on the number of players.
XX - Big Base : (Grade school) Put four large gym mats down to use as bases. Divide the group into two teams. Play much like kick ball. When a team has three outs or the whole team has kicked, the other team is up. Outs can be if you catch a kick, if you touch a base runner with the ball, if the kick hits the ceiling, etc.... Rules can change with each game, be creative. e.g., you can choose to allow more than one person on a base at a time, or letting people steal bases can add to the fun of it.
XX - Big Wind Blows : (Ten years old and up) One person is "it", everyone else sits in a chair** in a circle around "it". "It" calls out a category of people (e.g. : "Big Wind blows for everyone who ... likes to fish"). Everyone who fits the category runs to a new chair, but not to the chairs next to him/herself and you can't go back to your former chair. "It" also tries to get a chair. The one who ends up without a chair is the next "it". When "it" wants everyone to run, he/she calls out "HURRICANE".
** If you don't have chairs, split the group into two, one group forms the circle and they become the "chairs" - not for players to sit on, but to stand in front of. Switch the two circles half way through the playtime.
XX - Bird Catcher ( Children 6 years and older ) The Bird Catcher stands in the middle of the gym or play area, everyone else stands in one of the four corners (Bird Nests) around him/her . The Bird Catcher picks two Bird Nests, the birds in those two corners fly to the other nest that was picked and the Bird Catcher tries to catch them. The first one caught becomes the next bird catcher, the next ones caught sit down in a Bird Cage and skip a turn, then return to the game.
XX - Blanket Drop • Name Game - (All ages) Two teams are formed. They sit on opposite sides of a blanket which is held up between the teams so they can't see each other. Each team secretly picks one member to go sit by the blanket, so the two chosen are facing each other, but with the blanket between them so they don't know who the other team's player is. On the count of three, the blanket holders drop the blanket and each player tries to say the name of the other player first.
Blindfold Soccer: NEEDED - 2 SOCCER BALLS & BLINDFOLDS for half the players.
Split into two teams, then each team divides into pairs. One member of each pair is blindfolded. The object of the game is to have the blindfolded players kick the ball over the other team's goal line as many times as possible. Only blindfolded players are allowed to kick the ball, and they are guided by verbal instructions from their partner, but they cannot be directed with physical contact. There are no goalies. When the balls go out of bounds, they get thrown back into the middle of the field. This game calls for cooperation and trust.
Bongo Ball: Players form 2 teams. A large ball (3 feet in diameter or larger) is placed in the middle of the gym. Establish boundaries on all 4 sides, also establish a midpoint line which players can not cross. The object is to move the large ball past the opponents end line by throwing smaller balls at it. If a team is successful they they gain a point. I f the larger ball crosses one of the sidelines both teams lose one point. Players must remain on the outside of the end lines and side lines at all times.
XX - Capture the Flag: Divide into 2 teams. Choose a middle line as your territory divide. Establish your team "jail" in the back of your playing area. Put a ball/flag in the back of your playing area. Designate a person(s) to be the flag/ball guard . Other members of the team will venture out to try to capture the opponents flag/ball. When they capture it, they can either run it back to their territory or throw it to another team member in their home territory to win the game. If you are tagged in the other teams territory then you must go to their "jail" area. To be rescued, a fellow team member must successfully reach you untagged. You both can get "free back" to your own side as long as you remain connected.
Caterpillar: (1st Grade and older) NOTE: Skirts are not the most appropriate attire for this game. Everyone stands in a single file line - with two feet of distance between players. Each person reaches down and puts their right hand out in front of them and through the legs of the person in front of them. Use left hands to reach through their own legs towards the person behind themselves. When everyone has grabbed hands, a team leader will call out.: One two three right leg, One two three left leg). The caterpillar then walks around the area.
XX - Chair Challenge (All ages - this challenge works best when players are approximately the same size.): This is like regular Musical Chairs except that teamwork is required and there are only winners and no losers. When the music stops and someone finds themselves without a chair to sit on, find a lap to sit on instead. By the end of the game, there will be one chair and everyone sitting on someone's lap. To keep this from putting too much weight on each other, teach players to sit with their legs together so people can sit with their weight on each other’s knees.
Circle Keep-Away: (3rd Grade & older) A circle of players pass a ball or handkerchief around the circle, keeping it away from "it" who is in the center. When "it" catches or knocks the ball/hankie to the floor, the person who last had the ball is the next it in the middle. If it makes contact with someone, they stay in the middle.
XX - Cougar Stalking Deer Game - A Wilderness Awareness Game. (8 years & older) One person becomes a deer out in a field eating grass. Everyone else is a cougar starting from behind a line. Cougars sneak up on the deer from behind. Occasionally the deer turns around to look for danger, if it sees any cougar moving, they go back to the beginning and start over. The first cougar to touch the deer without being seen, is the next deer.
XX - Counting Coup with clothespins - A Wilderness Awareness Game. (8 years & older) This game can be played for a certain amount of time, or it can be an ongoing challenge throughout the entire event whether it’s for an hour or for a whole weekend. Use clothes pins, sneak up on each other, and try to clip one onto someone else without being noticed. And be careful to not let someone else count coup on you!
ALTERNATIVE: Make the game more challenging by eliminating the option of clipping onto someone’s back side.
SOME HISTORY: Coup was counted among native peoples to establish position in the tribal honor system. Status mattered, and competition to count the greatest coup was intense. Personal exploits of exceptional bravery and daring counted most. Killing an enemy at long range counted no coup; winning by overwhelming numbers counted no coup. But the solitary warrior in a headlong battle charge climaxed by harmlessly touching an enemy scored a coup; honors were given for the daring required of close contact. Indians fashioned wooden sticks for just that purpose. The surprise nudge from a coup stick would sting in one person's memory and sing in another's for a long time. Dishonor followed a coup counted on oneself.
Dho Dho Dho: This is a "soft war" game. (Teens & older) Create two teams. Players line up 10-15 feet behind a center line. First team picks a Dho Dho and sends that player out to the other team. The Dho Dho takes a deep breath and starts saying outloud “Dho Dho Dho...” and tag players from the other team, without taking another breath, all the while repeating Dho, Dho, Dho. The other team tries to catch and keep the Dho Dho on their side until s/he runs out of that one breath. The only players allowed to touch the Dho Dho are the players the Dho Dho has tagged. If the Dho Dho makes it back across the center line without running out of breath, all tagged players join the Dho Dho’s team. If the other team keeps the Dho Dho on their side until s/he is out of breath, the Dho Dho joins that team. Then the other team picks and sends their own Dho Dho across.
XX - Dodge Ball & Trench (great for teens & older) These are "soft war" games. A 10 to 12 inch playground ball is thrown at other players, the thrower's goal is to hit someone with the ball such that the ball is not caught, then the person who got hit is out. The receiver's goal is to catch the ball or avoid being hit. If a player has his/her throw caught, the thrower is out.
TRENCH: Two teams play in a gym, field or on a court where each team plays from their side of the dividing line. There is also a zone (the trench) behind each team. Players go into trench behind the other team when they are out. If you get someone out while in the trench, you return to your team's main playing area.
DODGE BALL: In this version, it's everyone for themselves. Players move about freely, choosing boundaries is optional. When someone is out, they can keep playing—or you can make a rule—where you can't play again until the person who got you out gets out.
XX Eagle Eye - A Wilderness Awareness Game. (1st grade and older) Played outdoors usually. One person is selected to be "Eagle Eye" who will stand in one spot, with eyes and ears covered and count slowly to 40. Everyone else (besides the facilitator) hides within forty feet. The catch is that they have to be able to see Eagle Eye with at least one of their eyes at all times. Eagle Eye will then open his/her eyes and look around without moving from the spot. S/he can turn around. If someone is spotted that person is captured and comes to stay quietly near Eagle Eye until the start of round two. It is important for those captured to not point out others or give any hints. After Eagle Eye has spotted everyone s/he can, that round ends, and all of the captured people become additional Eagle Eyes. This time the Eagle Eyes only count to thirty and everyone must move to a hiding place within thirty feet. After counting, all of the Eagle Eyes look for people hiding. The game ends when only one person is left out hiding. That person can then be the new Eagle Eye. After the game, you might talk about what worked or didn't work and why. Ask which colors can be seen in the forest and which colors they tend to wear. This game can be played in a deep forest thicket with ferns everywhere and then at the forest's edge near an open meadow. Compare and contrast through the art of questioning.
XX - Elbow Tag: ( 1st grade & older) Form pairs by finding one partner to hook elbows together with. The hand of the unhooked arm goes on your waist so your elbow sticks out - forming a handle ready to be hooked onto. Spread pairs around the space with room to run between the pairs. One unpaired person is chased, another person is "it" and the game of tag is on. If the “chased” person hooks elbows with anyone, they are safe, and the partner on the other side of the pair is now the “chased”. If runners are taking too long to hook up with someone, start counting to 10 and the "chased" must hook up to someone by the count of 10 or they become it. The chaser can change chasers in a similar fashion. from pg. 121 of MORE NEW GAMES
Fire Keeper - A Wilderness Awareness Game. (8 years & older) One person is the fire keeper and sits down with a blindfold on. A couple of logs, a set of keys, or whatever, is set in front of the fire keeper. This object represents the tribe’s sacred fire that must be guarded for the sake of everyone in the village. Everyone else starts out behind a line or surrounding circle and tries to sneak up and steal the firewood without being heard. When the fire keeper hears someone, s/he will point to the source of the sound who must then go back to the start and begin again. Whoever gets the firewood and retreats back past the starting line unheard becomes the next fire keeper.
Fireman's Ball ( K - 2nd Grade ): Create a circle of mats stood up on their edges or benches turned on their sides to form a circular wall or corral (one to three feet high) around a group of 8 to 12 firefighters who will sit on the floor with their backs to the mats/benches. Each firefighter will have a lightweight plastic bowling pin in their hand and there will be one or more wiffle balls on the floor for them to slap around. The pins and the ball(s) are to stay in contact with the floor. Explain that they are all firefighters and that their job is to protect the walls of their house from the ball(s) of fire by using the bowling pin to zoom it away from the wall that they are sitting in front of. If a firefighter hits the ball into the air or gets up off of their bottom (in an effort to hog the ball) ask them to stop and count to ten, or give them the job of retrieving balls that get out of the circle, (or have them help put walls back up if using mats which tend to fall over. MATERIALS : lightweight plastic bowling pins, lightweight wiffle balls and mats or anything with which to make a 1 to 3 foot high corral.
Ghost in the Graveyard (All Ages) : Best when played in the dark outside. One person is chosen as the "Grave Keeper". All other players are ghosts. The ghosts scatter while the grave keeper counts down (you choose the number) and has to freeze when the grave keeper gets to zero. The ghosts then try to sneak up on the grave keeper without being seen. If the ghosts are seen moving by the grave keeper they are "out" and watch the remainder of the game (or they are out for a limited amount of time). If a ghost tags the grave keeper on the back without being seen, they are the new grave keeper and the game resumes.
Giants, Wizards, Elves : Create two teams. Teams form separate huddles and decide on their team's character (Giant, Wizard or Elf). The whole team becomes the same character and knows how to represent that character, e.g. Giants hold their hands up high over their heads. Players walk up to center line and chant “Giants Wizards, Elves” (three times). Each team then shows the character they have decided to portray. Giants chase Wizards or Wizards chase Elves or Elves chase Giants. While one team runs away, the other team tries to tag them. If you are being chased and you make it past your “safety line” (15-20 feet back from the center line) without being tagged you stay on your team. If you are tagged by someone from the other team, before you cross your safety line, you become a member of the other team. Continue play. To simplify, you can use the popular "Rocks, Paper, Scissors" language for this game.
XX - Group Juggling - SEE Pattern Toss
XX - Hat Game (2 - 4 young children per adult) Adult(s) wear a hat, play on grass or other soft surface. Kids goal is to get the hat off the adult. Adult will only stand up if appropriate for the ages/sizes of the kids.
- from Phil Grove and the kids of People Camp.
Hide & Track - A Wilderness Awareness Game. This is basically Hide-n-Go-Seek played outdoors. One person is selected to go hide in the woods. S/he can be what ever animal s/he chooses and would hide accordingly. S/he then hides and after a while, the others (being a tracker or what ever animal they want to be) track and try to find the hiding spot. The trackers are to think like the animal would. Once found, the finder is the next to hide, or s/he may pick someone else.
Alternatively, whenever someone finds the hider, they can join him or her in their spot and wait for the others to all find them. This is an outdoors version of “Sardines”.
High Ball ( ALL AGES ): Players stand around center player who tosses ball straight up high into the air. When ball is tossed and caught, the catcher is "it" and tries to tag as many other players as possible before they run past the goal line. (from: World's Best Outdoor Games of Native American Ancestry, pg. 57) Alternative : Whoever catches it runs towards the goal line, if tagged, ball goes to tagger for another toss into the air. Or runner can toss ball to new runner.
XX - Home Run Derby ( ALL CHILDREN) In this batting game, there are only: two bases, home and 1st base; one batter; one catcher; and a pitcher; with everyone else in the field. After the batter hits the ball (no one strikes out in this game), his/her goal is to run to first base and back to home before getting tagged with the ball / before the ball is returned to the catcher. The next batter is the fielder who first touched the previous hit - or - to make sure everyone gets a turn (like with little kids/preschoolers) have them take turns, sometimes I'll even write ordinal numbers on the back of each child's hand to make sure that they get their turn.
Hot Box : Place two bases at opposite ends of the gym - base must be 20 feet away from the wall. For example, place bases at each free throw line- approximately 60 feet across. Game consists of two catchers and up to 15 runners. Object of the game is to steal bases - If you steal 10 bases you become another catcher. All runners start in the middle, between the bases. When the ball is thrown high into the air , runners run to either base. They must count out loud the number of steals they've made, as they get to each base. The first runner to get to ten is the new catcher. Each time a runner is tagged by a catcher with a ball in his/her hand, they earn an out - If they get two outs, they must erase all the runs they have earned and start over at zero.
Human Mix master : The game starts with the group standing in a circle. The object of the game is for all players to simultaneously walk across the circle and reform the circle in the same order. After crossing the circle, players should turn back towards the center of the circle. Practice walking across the circle with your hands at your sides.....avoid bumping into each other. If players accidentally bump into each other they must say " BEEP!" Variation: Close your eyes & try it.
XX - I Spy! One player hides a small object while all others are out of sight counting to thirty. Then as they look for it, the hider advises them when they're "warm" (close) or "cold" (far away). The person who finds it yells out "I Spy!" and becomes the next hider, or chooses someone else if they've already had several chances.
Island : Spread out a table cloth or twister mat. Have a group of 10-20 stand on the mat. Have the leader then say: Everyone jump in the ocean ! " At this time everyone moves off the mat and swims around the area. The leader then folds the mat (or island) in half. The leader now yells: "Shark !" and everyone needs to get out of the water and find safety on the mat. Continue the game making the mat smaller and smaller. See how small the leader can make the island !!
Kick Ball : line up version : Just like kick ball but when the ball is kicked, the first person in contact with the ball grabs it and everyone lines up behind this person. The ball is passed over the head to the end of the line. If the player who kicked the ball makes it around the bases before the ball gets to the end of the line the runner scores a point for their team. Everyone gets one lineup and then teams switch ups.
Kick Ball: pass version : Just like kick ball, but when the ball is kicked, the ball is passed from home to 1st, 2nd,3rd base and back to home without dropping. If the runner makes it to all bases before the ball makes it back to home , the runner scores a point for their team. All players have a turn to kick and then teams switch ups.
KINGS & MAGICIANS: ( modification of Pairs Tag from pg. 90 of Quick Silver) everyone pairs up with someone of similar speed or stature, then have each pair decide who is more like a King (or Queen) and who is more like a Magician, then set boundaries for tag. Then the Kings are to start chasing their Magician partner, WALK FAST - NO RUNNING (one foot on the ground at all times), when tagged, spin around or count to 5, then pursue your partner. All pairs play all at once. ALTERNATIVE: Have pairs pair up for “PAIRS SQUARED”.
XX - Knock Your Socks Off ( ALL AGES ): from pg. 117 of MORE NEW GAMES - CAUTION This is a "soft war" game*. All players are to have only socks on their feet. Object of the game is to pull the socks off of each other without having yours taken off by someone else. All players stay down on the floor. This is a good game to use consensus decision making to create the rules and the safety guidelines. This will take 10 to 20 minutes and it will help create a greater sense of trust and community if done properly and they will learn how to make decisions by consensus.
As a minimum for safety - anyone who stands up on his/her two feet or kicks is out of the game.
XX - Knots : (8 years & older) Divide into groups (8 - 12 per group). Have each group stand in a circle. Everyone then reaches out with both hands and grabs the hands of someone not next to themselves. Make sure that you do not take the hands of the same person. Each player should have the hand of two different players who weren't standing by their side. When all players have grabbed hands, they have now become a "human knot".
The challenge is for each group to cooperatively untangle themselves by weaving and crawling through each others arms and/or legs, WITHOUT letting go of hands. The result should be circle(s) of untangled humans, but it doesn't always work out. Practice once or twice, then time your group(s), or just see which group can get done first.
Alternatives for Knots: Start out as one complete circle with everyone holding hands. Then, without letting go, get yourselves tied up into one big knot. If folks prefer to not play or if someone has a handicap, they can have the job of directing the group in how to unknot themselves.
Lapkta (Russian Baseball ) ( 2nd Grade and older ): This game is played on a field, or in a gym, with a rectangular shape and a goal line at one end and a batter's line at the other end. Two teams, one lines up at one end of the field on the batter's line, other team spreads out to field the ball. Pitcher from fielding team tosses one pitch to each batter - every batter gets only one chance to hit the ball during their team's turn at bat. Let the pitcher know that everyone will have a lot more fun if pitches are made easy to hit.
When a batter hits the ball, all of his/her team tries to run to the other end of the field to the goal line without getting caught. Fielding team scrambles to get the ball and use it to tag as many of the batting team runners as they can before they reach the goal line.
After each member of batting team has had their one chance to get a hit, the next team is up to bat. Play this game for fun, scoring is not necessary.
XX - Lightning : All players line up at the free throw line with two basketballs, one for each of the first two shooters. Your first shot must be from the free throw line and you can start shooting only after the person in front of you has made their shot. Next shots can be from anywhere. You are out when the player in line behind you makes a basket before you do. Object is to stay in the game!
XX - Name Game : A great game for learning names. Everyone sits/stands/lies down in a circle, the first person tells his/her name with a second name added ( a name of their own choosing), using a word that has the same first letter, e.g. Jaguar Jill or Terrific Tom. The next person repeats first person's names and then announces their own. Every one takes their turn saying the names of all the people ahead of them until all have had a turn. With a large group this can take a long time and be very challenging, AND it is a fun and effective way to get to know names - these names often stick with people. Do not allow names that are put downs. To make it more challenging, have people switch spots.
NO! NO! NO! : Players sit in a circle on the floor. The object of the game is to pass a sentence from person to person changing one word each time. The first person starts with a simple sentence. For example: "I went to the zoo." The next person responds by saying: "NO! NO! NO! I went to the moon." The next player might say: "NO! NO! NO! Cookie Monster went to the moon." If someone gets stuck, go on to the next person. Encourage unusual word combinations, it's okay if it doesn't make sense.
Pac Man : (5 to 12 years old) Played in a gym. One person is it. All kids must run on the lines on the gym floor. The Pac Man must stay on the lines too. When you are touched by Pac Man you need to sit on the line and try to touch a runner. If you touch someone you get to rejoin the game and move along the lines again.
Pairs Tag - see KINGS & MAGICIANS
XX - Pattern Toss (a.k.a. Group Juggling) : ( 3rd Grade & older ): Eight to fifteen players stand in a circle. A leader will toss a catchable object (soft shoe, beanbag, whatever ) to someone across the circle. That player will then toss the object to someone else. Keep doing this and remember who you tossed to and who you are catching from as you create the group's juggling pattern. Call out the name of the person to whom you are tossing the object to just before tossing to him/her. Once everyone has become a part of the pattern, keep the object going in the same pattern and gradually add in more objects. Soon the air will be full of flying objects and laughter.
People To People : Everyone finds a partner and stands facing them. The leader will start by saying: " Back to back." or "Head to foot."........The players will then do whatever is called until the leader calls: "People to People." At that point, everyone, including the leader, runs to find a new partner. The last person without a partner is the new leader.
Pin Guard : (2nd Grade & older) Divide into two teams - Divide play area in half. Place three pins in the trench area (goal area) of each territory. Players cannot go into the trench. The object of the game is to knock all three pins down before the other team does. Players are given up to 5 Koosh balls per team . If a player catches another players ball before it bounces, the thrower is out of the game and a team mate needs to either catch a ball or knock a pin down in order to bring that player back in. When all three pins are down on one side, start a new round!
Pin Thief: (2nd Grade & older) This game is the same as capture the flag - but, you place three pins in a back corner of each territory. At the opposite back corner of the play area is your teams 'home base". All captured opposing team members are placed into the home base. The goal is to capture one pin at a time and bring it to your territory - you can run the pin to your territory or throw it to a team member - it must be caught without dropping it if it is thrown. To rescue team mates, the players in the opposing team home base can create a body link to stretch across enemy territory. Team members who are still free in their own territory can connect to the body link (which must remain connected) and bring it back across the middle line to safety. The goal is to get all three pins from the opposing side.
Race Track ( Kindergarten & older) ) : A circle of players pass a ball around their circle ( the track ) as fast as they can go. Leader can time the children to see how long it takes to get the ball around the circle a certain number of times. Leader will also call out different ways to pass the ball, e.g. bounce, toss, roll, hand off, bend over and roll through their legs, etc.
XX - Red Handed ( ALL AGES ): Circle of players sit on the floor (or stands ) around someone who is "it". A 'red' penny is secretly passed around the circle (hand to hand with hands visible to everyone) while "it" tries to guess who has the penny. If you're caught red-handed, you become the next "it".
To start the game, "it" counts to ten with eyes closed while the penny starts to get passed around the circle. To fool "it", everyone is to pretend that they are passing the penny even when they don't have it.
To spice up the game, the leader can secretly add another penny to the game.
Romans and Christians Play in a darkened Chapel. Split into two equal number groups. Christians w/ FLASHLIGHTS look for a hidden bible, Romans seek to capture the Christians and put 'em in jail. To get out of jail, one must do something difficult like catch 4 M & M s in their mouth, 25 push-ups, etc. Christians can rescue prisoners.
XX - Sardines: (5 years & older) Played indoors or outdoors like a game of Hide 'n' Seek, except that when you find the person who is hiding, you are quiet and instead of giving away their hiding spot, you snuggle down in with them, like a sardine in a can and wait for the other seekers to do the same.
XX - Ships Across the Ocean : (K - 3rd Grade) All players start at one end of the gym with a Captain in the middle. All players sing" Ships across the ocean Ships across the sea Captain Captain you can't catch me". all players run across the ocean. Those caught sit on their bottom where they are caught and tries to tag someone running in the next rounds. If the person tags someone they get back in the game ( free backs).
XX - Slap Happy ( ALL AGES ) : Circle of players stands with one hand held out, circled around the "happy slapper", ready to have their hands slapped. Someone calls out the name of a player who is a part of the circle. Slapper will then try to slap that person's hand . If your name was called, you try to call out the name of someone else in the circle before you get your hand slapped. Slapper will then try to slap that person's hand instead of yours. If you get your hand slapped, or pull your hand away, or call a wrong name, you become the next "happy slapper". When there is a new slapper, the person who was last it, calls out a name to start the next round.
XX - Smaug's Jewels ( ALL AGES ) : Smaug is the dragon in the Tolkein (Hobbit ) Trilogy who guarded the treasure under the mountain. One person plays Smaug and stands over (no kneeling ) a bean bag, rolled up sock or tennis ball. This is Smaug's treasure to protect. The circle of Hobbits stand around Smaug and try to snatch the treasure without being tagged by Smaug. If tagged, they're out. If a hobbit grabs the treasure without dropping it, the crafty Hobbit is the next Smaug.
Sock Soccer : Divide into two teams. All players need to take shoes off and be wearing socks. Stress that youth must remain in control of their bodies at all times. Use soft koosh balls to play. Use three or more balls so everyone can have fun playing. They'll be too busy to keep score.
XX - Speed Ball (Super Silent) : (5 years & older) A group of players spread out across the play area, in or outdoors, even in a classroom works (if breakable items are first set on the floor). A Ball is tossed quickly from one player to another. If a person drops a well thrown ball, s/he sits down. If a person talks they must sit down. (This is the Super silent version). If a person takes too long to get rid of the ball, they sit down. If person throws a ball poorly, e.g. below the knees, and the intended receiver does not catch it - the thrower sits down - in other words it needs to be a catchable throw. The person throwing the ball can move one foot to pivot. When a ball is tossed to someone who's sitting and if they catch it, they get to stand up again. The goals are to: keep all players standing (cooperation); be silent if you choose that version; go fast; and have fun. You can choose someone to be the referee who points to people who must sit down because they took too long, made a poor throw, or talked. This is a good wind down/ transition game.
Spoons : Put spoons in middle of table, one less than # of players. For 5 players deal out 5 sets of cards (each set being all four Aces, 4 Kings, etc.). Start passing cards to player to your left. When a player gets all four of a kind, grab a spoon. Player who fails to get a spoon, gets a letter, like P for PIG. Redeal after each letter.
Stand Up : The game starts with everyone having a partner of equal size. Sitting back to back with your arms wrapped around each other at the elbows. Together as a team, try to stand up. You cannot use your elbows as an aid to help push yourself up from the floor. Press your backs together as you try to push upward. After this accomplishment, add two more people to the team. Then add more and more.... There is more laughter during this game than anything !!
XX - Stuck in the Mud ( K - 3rd Grade) : The game is tag, one person is it. If you are tagged by the person who is it - you must freeze standing up with your legs apart and hands on your head or hips. You are now stuck in the mud. You can become unstuck, if a player crawls between your legs from the front to the back*. The leader can switch the "it" anytime during play. Players can run any where in this game or set up boundaries if you wish.
* Go through from the front to the back to avoid crashes and so people will know someone is going under them.
Taffy Pull : This is a "soft war" game. Divide the group into two groups and everyone takes off their shoes. Create an inner and outer circle of players. Inner circle becomes the “taffy”. The taffy huddles together on the floor - wrapping and knotting their legs, arms, and hands together to create a tight, well connected ball of taffy. Taffy-players hold on to each other as tight as they can. When the taffy is ready, the outer circle tries to pull the taffy apart! (carefully!) As pieces of taffy are pulled off, they become taffy pullers. When done, switch roles and do it again.
CAUTION - People can get hurt, so if someone says "stop!", then the puller must stop or at least be careful to not damage the precious taffy.
Toss out the Trash : Players divide into two teams. The gym is divided in half with a middle line established. Lots of balls (soft ones only) are spread around the gym, start with half on each side OR put them all on the dividing line. The object is to clear your side of all balls by tossing them out of your yard into your neighbor's yard. This is a timed activity, play for 5 minutes or so. As you get close to the 5 minute mark, start counting down to zero for a final flurry of activity.
The game can be varied, e.g. players may only use feet, one hand, or toss between their legs.
Transformations : Divide the group into two or more smaller groups. The object of the game is for each group to form a human representation of whatever the group leader has called out. The leader calls out the name of an object (i.e. school bus, helicopter, skyscraper) Players must then decide how they are going to make this item . Give a person in each group a chance to be the leader. It is funny to see the wild concoctions of people wrapped together to create a human model of an idea.
XX - Ultimate Frisbee : Two teams. Play on large field with two end zones. The object is for one team member to catch the frisbee in their designated end zone in order to earn points. When holding the frisbee, player may only take three steps and have only 10 seconds to pass the frisbee. No guarding allowed on the player with the frisbee. When the frisbee touches the ground, the last team who touched the frisbee loses control of the frisbee to the other team.
XX - Wall Ball : Play in a gym or by a big wall with four to twenty players - No teams for this game! The object of the game is to NOT get points. Start with one tennis ball thrown at the wall, as the ball bounces back from the wall, all players (except the player who threw this particular throw) can try to catch it and throw it back at the wall, as rapidly as possible.
If you touch and don't catch the ball, or if it bumps into you, you must run and touch the wall before another person gets the ball and throws it at the wall. If you don't make it to the wall before another person's throw hits the wall, you earn a "point". To be safe, throw the balls so they hit six feet or higher on the wall.
Yondis: YONDIS is the Greek word for: “ I give this to you”, the other word in the game is TAKANI, Greek for “I see you”. The objective is to get somebody to take something from you without first saying TAKANI. So when you offer something to someone and they say TAKANI, then the game continues. If they take something without saying TAKANI, then you got them and you get to say YONDIS. The key to this game is the understanding that it never ends, until Yondis occurs! Perhaps for days.
Contact Rick to lead these games/(provide childcare) at schools, company parties, family reunions, weddings, retreats, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, etc. More in-depth work can be done to build teamwork, resolve conflict, make peace and build community.
-------------------------------- RESOURCE LIST ----------------------------
For Fun and for Safe, Healthy Children, Schools & Community:
"MAN MAKING - Men Helping Boys on their Journey to Manhood" book by Earl Hipp www.Man-Making.com
"THAT'S ENOUGH!" A 12 minute film about bullying & school shootings. http://www.angeresources.com Locally produced by Dr. Michael Obsatz, (see one of his books next in this list). In the film, a bunch of us from the Boys To Men Mentoring Network got to play some of the roles. There is a list of questions to ask kids about bullying and school violence. At the end of the film there is a short interview with Michael.
Raising Nonviolent Children in a Violent World, Michael Obsatz Augsburg Fortress
Bang, Bang, You're Dead. A GREAT full length movie to get kids talking about bullying, school violence, etc. http://www.bangbangyouredead.com/
"TOP 20 TEENS - Discovering the Best-Kept Thinking, Learning & Communicating Secrets of Successful Teenagers" They provide trainings in St. Paul http://www.top20training.com/
" EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE - Why it can matter more than IQ" - by Daniel Goleman
"New Games" and "More New Games" books by the New Games Foundation
PEACEMAKING CIRCLES - From Crime to Community, by Kay Pranis, Judges Stuart & Wedge
Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids - Practical Ways to Create a Calm and Happy Home, Naomi Drew
GROWING UP AGAIN - Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children by Jean Illsley Clarke (author of: SELF-ESTEEM - A Family Affair) & Connie Dawson
HELP - For Parents of Children from Birth to Five by Jean Illsley Clarke, solutions for practical problems.
Dr. James Comer, the nation's foremost school reformer, goes to the heart of the matter in his book: "Waiting for a Miracle" and "Rallying The Whole Village" http://info.med.yale.edu/comer/
"Happiness Is A Choice" & "To Love Is To Be Happy With" - books by Barry Neil Kaufman [ ask for free CD]
Reviving Ophelia : Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher
Raising Cain : Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys - by Dan Kindlon & Michael Thompson
"Silver Bullets - A Guide to Initiative Problems, Adventure Games and Trust Activities" and
"QuickSilver - Adventure Games, Initiative Problems, Trust Activities and a Guide To Effective Leadership" by Karl Rohnke & Steve Butler http://www.pa.org Project Adventure info at pa.org
The Wonder of Boys, by Michael Gurian ( great for Mentors, teachers & parents)
Reviving the Wonder - 76 Activities that Touch the Inner Spirit of Youth, by Ric Stuecker & Frank Dilallo
Alfie Kohn has several great books: “What to Look for in Classrooms”, “Punished by Rewards”, “Beyond Discipline”, and “The Schools Our Children Deserve”. If you believe that competition is "natural" or better than cooperation, check out his book: “No Contest - The Case Against Competition”
FORGOTTEN FOUNDERS: How American Indians Helped Shape Democracy - by Bruce E. Johansen, 1992
I'd Rather Teach Peace - Colman McCarthy ISBN: 1570754306
LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME - Everything Your American History Book Got Wrong, James Loewen
A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn Some colleges use it as a text book
Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Compassion, by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Puddle Dancer Press http://www.puddledancer.com cnvc at compuserve.com 1-818-957-9393 Also: http://www.cnvc.org
GETTING TO YES, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In - by Fisher & Ury of Harvard.
The Chalice and the Blade , by Riane Eisler (A look at partnership cultures and dominator cultures)
Playing by Heart: The Vision & Practice of Belonging O. Fred Donaldson, Health Communications
----------------- TRUE STORIES OF ANIMALS AT PLAY -----------------
“Buffalo Games” story, pg. 225 of “Chicken Soup For The Pet Lover’s Soul”
"Animals At Play", pages 2-35 of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, Vol. 186, No. .6, Dec. 1994
This collection is compiled and edited by Rick Gravrok, a champion for children, nature & healthy community.
rick.gravrok [at] tcinternet.net Minneapolis, MN.
This file converted to html by Fred: fholson [at] cohousing.org