The Ambush Game – The group splits up into two sub-groups which we will call A and B. Group A leaves 5 to 10 minutes before group B and must leave clues behind ( footprints, marks, arrows, codes, pieces of paper, etc….). They must then camouflage and set up an ambush for group B. Group B leaves and follows the footprints and clues left by group A and tries to discover the ambush site. During the ambush the groups face each other in mock combat (stealing of scarves, Indian wrestling, etc…). The meeting of the two groups could also result in the yelling of, “AMBUSH” and a race back to home base again.
Basic Killer – Time: 15 Minutes up to Multi-Day. Equipment: None. Category: Group initiative/Night Game. Group Size: 8 to 100
Activity- Have the group stand in a circle facing outwards with their eyes closed and a hand behind their back with in a thumbs up position. Randomly select someone to be the killer by squeezing his or her thumb. Once the killer has been selected, have the group roam around a central area mingling. The killer selects their victims by clearly winking at them. Once a participants received the wink for the killer, they will wait 5 seconds and mock and excruciatingly loud death. At any point in time, a participant can announce they know who the killer is. If they another participant seconds an accusation, the facilitator will count to three and have both participants point to the person they are accusing. If the participants are pointing to two different people, they will both die a loud death (they will not be able to talk or compare notes ahead of time). If they are both pointing to the wrong person, their fate is the same. If they have both identified the killer, the round will be over and a new killer will be chosen.
Blind Beach Volley-ball – (active) Equipment: Blanket and beach ball. A blanket should be draped over a volley-ball net. The game goes as usual except you can not see when the ball is coming. Scary!!
Blind Cow – (circle) Equipment: bell and blindfolds. All players sit in a circle facing the center. One person is blindfolded and is the “Blind Cow.” The “blind cow” should be spun around and then brought to the center of the circle. The bell should then be passed around the circle and rung. The “blind cow” will then follow the sound of the bell. The game leader points at the person who should stop the bell. The “blind cow” now has to guess who is holding the bell (by pointing). If the person is right, the chosen person becomes the cow in the next round. If they are wrong, he has to go again (until he guesses right).
Blindman’s Bluff – (active) Equipment: blindfold. Blindfold one player and spin them around 3 times. The blindfolded player tries to tag one of the other players, who may crouch low, sneak up behind the “blindman” and yell “Boo”, or stand still and keep very quiet. Eventually though, someone will get careless and be tagged. That player is then blindfolded for the next game.
Catch Don’t Catch – (circle/active) This is similar to “flinch”. The players should be standing in a circle with their arms crossed. The person in the center will throw the ball to someone in the circle. They will either say, “Catch” or “Don’t Catch”. If they say “Catch”, the player should not catch the ball and cannot flinch (move their arms). If they say “Don’t Catch” , the player should catch the ball. If a player does the wrong thing or misses the ball, they are out.
Caterpillar – (active) The players must lie face down, side by side and very close to each other. Alternate small players and older players. Player at one end must get to the other end by rolling on this corduroy road. When this player reaches the other end, the rest player starts rolling on the carpet.
Colored Eggs – (active) One player is chosen to be the Fox. One player is chosen to be the Hen. All the rest of the players are the colored eggs. The fox must stand far enough away from the hen and her eggs that he can’t hear them. The hen assigns a color to each egg by whispering the color in their ear. The eggs line up facing the hen. The fox comes up behind the hen and acts like he is knocking on a door. The hen responds, “Who is it?” The fox replies, “It’s the fox.” The hen says, “What do you want?” The fox says, “Colored eggs.” The hen says, “I haven’t got any.” At this point all the players who are eggs laugh loudly. The fox says, “I hear them laughing.” “O.K.” says the hen. “What color do you want.” The fox begins to guess colors. When he guesses a color that is assigned to an egg the egg begins to run. If the fox catches the egg a new fox and a new hen are picked. If the fox doesn’t catch the egg before it gets back to the hen he must guess another color and try to catch the next egg. However, before the fox can make his/her guess the fox must knock on the door each time and the conversation between fox and hen must be repeated each time.
Crows and Cranes – (active) Divide the children into two equal teams. Name one of the teams crows and the other cranes. Line the two teams up four or five feet apart facing each other. Flip a coin, and if it comes up heads call crows. Upon calling crows, the crows must turn in flight with the cranes after them. If any of the cranes makes it to the safety zone he is free. If he is touched he switches teams.
Dho-Dho-Dho – (active) You need a soft area that is divided into 2 equal parts with a center line. The players should be in two teams on either side of the center line leaving a no-mans land in between them. One team chooses a player to go across the line, tag one or more players on the other side, and return safely home. Clearly that could require agility-but breath control? That’s where the “dho-dho-dho” comes in. Before crossing the center line, the player who is IT takes a deep breath. Not only must he complete his mission in one breath, but he must use that breath to repeat aloud in a steady flow, “Dho-Dho-Dho-Dho-Dho….” If members of the opposite team can catch and hold him in their territory until they run out of breath, they’ve acquired a new team member. If he makes it back across the line with any part of their body , even a fingertip, all those he has tagged join their team.
Dodge Ball – (active/circle) Divide the group evenly into two teams. Team A forms a circle around team B. Team A is given a large rubber ball. At signal team A players throw ball at team B, attempting to hit them below the waist. Team B players may avoid being hit by moving or running aside or ducking. A player must leave the circle when hit OR a player who is hit may join team A. Leader may time the eliminating process to determine which team eliminated its opponents fastest
Donkey Dodge-ball – (circle/active) Equipment: ball. This game is played with the same objectives as in all dodge-ball games. In this game a circle is formed and 4 people are chosen to go into the middle. The 4 people hold on to each other at the waist, forming a chain. The front and middle protect the back of the donkey by using their bodies as a block. The players who form the circle try to hit the back end of the donkey, below the waist with the ball. If someone does hit the last person of the donkey, then the thrower will join the front of the donkey and the person who was hit, joins the circle.
Do This, Do That – (active) see “Simon says”
Elephant ball – (moderate/circle) All the players are in a circle with their legs spread apart and their feet touching the next person’s feet. The ball must be punched around the circle until it goes through someone’s legs. That person is then out. This continues until there is one person left, who would be the winner.
Ghost – (passive) Three or four players are chosen to be the ghosts. The rest of the group needs to scatter across the playing space and choose a spot to stand in. All players need to close their eyes. The ghosts will roam about the playing space. They will try to kill the people by standing close behind the players for 10 seconds without them knowing. If this happens, the ghost will tap them on their head and they will sit down quietly. If a person suspects a person behind them, they would ask, “Is there a ghost behind me?” If they are right then they become a ghost. If they are wrong they are out and should sit down. This is a great game is you want to quiet your camp down.
Guard the Pin – (active) Equipment: ball and pin. Everyone stands in the circle facing in. A pin is placed in the center of the circle. A guard is chosen. The guard stands in the center of the circle and guards the pin. The object of the game is for the players in the circle to try and knock down the pin with the ball. All throws should be thrown underhand. The person who knocks down the pin gets to be the new guard.
Hand Wave – (circle/moderate) Everyone starts in a circle, on their stomachs, with their heads towards the center and their arms forward. The players should have their right hand over their neighbor to the right’s hand and their left hand under the hand of their neighbor to the left. Arms should cross at the wrist. The object of the game is to pass the slap. The person who starts slaps the ground and the next hand slaps (not the next person). Once you have the hang of it, add the option of a double slap. This skips the next hand. When a hand is turned on it’s side, start slapping the opposite way.
Horse and Rider Ball – (moderate) Equipment: ball. – Half of the children are horses and half are riders. The riders mount and they are given a ball to pass between them. If they miss, either of the following are done: 1) The rider that missed the ball runs and gets the ball and when he gets it he hollers stop which means that horses who have displaced their riders and have been running come to a stand, and if the rider throws and hits one of the horsed, the riders ride again, and if he misses the horses become riders. 2) Every time the rider missed a ball, all the riders immediately become horses and the horses riders, and every time the ball is missed all change.
Hot Potato – (circle/passive) Equipment: Ball or something to pass. The potato is passed from person to person until the leader gives a signal. The person left holding the potato is eliminated.
Killer – (Passive) Someone is chosen to be the picker all the other kids line up facing the wall and should close their eyes. The picker goes by and taps each of the kids. He taps each of them once but whomever he picks as the killer he is to tap twice. Once everyone is tapped they all turn around. (Sometimes the killer is given away here because of smiling) Everyone begins shaking hands with one another one at a time in a normal shaking manner. If you are the killer when you shake hands with people you bend your index finger in and sort of poke the palm of the person’s hand your shaking. If you feel this when you shake someone’s hand then you go and shake two more hands (normal shake) and then silently fall to the ground. Eventually the killer gets everyone and then the games over and a new killer gets picked.
Murder Wink – (circle/passive) Killer winks at his victim. The victim waits 5 seconds and then falls. The victim chooses his own way of falling. If a player thinks he can identify the killer, he points and says “I accuse you”. If he is wrong, both players are dead.
[See Also “Killer”]
Kitty Wanna Cracker – (moderate) Campers sit in a circle with one person in the middle of the circle. The person in the middle goes up to different people and says “Kitty Wanna Cracker?”. The players in the circle say “No, thank you”. While this is going on, the people who the kitty has her/his back to try to catch each others eye and change places. The kitty tries to steal the empty spots. If you are left without a spot then you become the kitty.
Knights, Horses and Cavaliers – (active/circle) This game is similar to musical chairs in that when the rhythm stops an action must be performed. In this game 2 equal circles are formed, with one inside the other. The people of the inside circle will pair up with someone on the outside circle and remain with that partner for the rest of the game. the inside circle will walk clockwise clapping their hands and the outside circle, also clapping, will walk in the opposite direction. When the leader calls out Horses, the individuals stop clapping and run to find their partner. Once together, one partner will go on all fours, like a horse, and the other partner will straddle their back. The last partner group to form that position will be asked to act out a simple situation of their choice that makes use of a rider and a horse. Once this game continues in the same fashion as before. If Knights is called, one partner will sit on the other partner’s knee. The partner therefore has one knee up to be sat on and the other on the ground for support. If Cavaliers is called, then one of the partners will lift their partner up into their arms. However, one leg lifted by their partner is allowed.
Knights of the Round Table – (active/circle) Equipment: hula-hoop and sword. The players should be in a circle with one knight in the canter with the sword. The knight tries to touch a person in the circle with the sword, run to the middle, put the sword on the table (hula-hoop) and get to their spot in the circle without being touched by the sword. The person touched has to chase the knight, get the sword from the table and touch them with it before they get to the spot or they are the new knight. If for some reason the sword does not land on the table, the rest of the players must yell, “THE SWORD IS NOT ON THE TABLE!” This means the play is cancelled and the knight must try again.
Last Detail – (passive) Choose a partner and sit in front of them. Take 3 minutes to study how your partner is dressed. Turn around. Now your partner will change 5 things on his clothes. Again the partners face each other and the first partner tries to determine what is different.
Leader – (circle) The children all sit in a large circle. A person is picked to be it. He leaves the room or sits with his back to the circle. The group then decides on a leader who is to start a motion in which all the children copy. The motion can be anything at all, and the person who is it, comes in to find the leader of the motion. The leader changes the motion from time to time and the person who is it has three guesses to determine who the leader is. If ‘it’ guesses correctly then the leader becomes ‘it’. If ‘it’ does not guess correctly a new games is started by choosing a new ‘it’.
Lemonade – (active/drama) The group is divided into two teams. Team A: Actors, Team B: Guessers. Actors decide on a geographical location and a related occupation. Dialogue between A and B: A: Here we come. B: Where from? A: From New Airlines. B: What’s your name? A: Lemonade. B: What’s your trade? A: Goes like this. At this point group A acts out their occupation. Group B is given 3 tries to guess. If the guess is correct, group A must run to a safety line without being touched by a group B player. If all 3 guesses are wrong group B must run to a safety line without being touched. Any player touched must switch teams.
Lion Hunter – Time: 20-40 Minutes Equipment: A few Pool Noodles Category: Game, Night Activity Group Size: 8 to 60 Activity: For a large group you’ll need 1 lion hunter for every 10 lions (players). Each lion hunter will start with a pool noodle as their lion hunting gun. Have the lion hunters leave the room while you tell the lions that they need to stay as still as possible so they will not be detected by the lion hunters (blinking and breathing naturally is not detectable by the hunters). Lions need to keep their eyes open during the game and lion hunters cannot touch the lions. When the lion hunters return to the room they are trying to get the lions to moving in such a way as to be detectable (other than breathing or blinking). If a lion laughs or moves body parts he or she is transformed into a lion hunter and joins in detecting other lions that can’t stay undetected. Variation- Have a trophy case for the lions who have been poached.
Lonely Little Ghost – (active) A lonely ghost would love some company. He wants to make a ghost friend. His ghost friend won’t be me.
One child is chosen to be the lonely little ghost. He sits on a chair in the haunted house. Indicate a certain area for that purpose. The other children speak the verse and sneak into the haunted house. They tease the ghost. Any child he catches or tags within the boundaries of his haunted house becomes a ghost and joins him to try to catch the remaining children, who return again and again to tease and try to avoid being caught by the ghosts. The last child caught is the winner and may be the lonely little ghost the next time the game is played.
Match my Feet – (circle/moderate) Form a circle of players. You stand in the middle. Start the group off with a slow clapping rhythm, such as 2 slow claps followed by 3 quick claps. Repeat this over and over. Walk around the inside of the circle to the clapping rhythm and stop in front of someone. Do a simple step with your feet in time to the beat. the person you’re standing in front of must try to repeat your step. If he doesn’t, move around the circle and stop in front of someone else. If he does, you take his place in the circle, and he becomes the leader. He may change the rhythm and try to “out step” another player.
Monkey Ball – (active) Equipment: ball Two teams should be standing in lines side to side, arms linked and numbered 1 and up. The ball will be placed in the center of the playing space. The game leader will call out one number. The player from each team that has that number will run to the center to get the ball. The rest of the team will act as the moving goalie. The players in the middle attempt to hit the ball with their hand on the ground past the opposing team’s goalie line. The goalie lines can only move side to side and must stay attached. The play is over if the ball goes out of bounds and when a shot is made.
Oh Deer – (active/nature) A game where a herd of deer seeks food, water and shelter to survive. The group should be split into 2 even groups and they should be at either end of the playing space facing opposite directions. One group will be the environment and the other will be the deer. The environment and the deer will pick one of three signs; WATER (hand over mouth), FOOD (hands on stomach) or SHELTER (hands in a peak over head). On the go signal from the leader, both groups will turn around and make their symbol. The deer will run towards the environment that is the same as their sign. If they get an environment, both players become deer. If the deer can not find the appropriate symbol, they will die and become part of the environment. Fluctuations in the deer population due to different causes can be shown in different rounds.
Quick Frozen Critters – (active/nature) Equipment: tails, food, hula-hoops. The players will be split into 2 teams. One team are rabbits and the other team are foxes. The object of the game is for the rabbits to cross the open playing field retrieve food and bring it back to their home. The rabbits can not be killed when they are frozen. The foxes are trying to take the rabbit’s tail when they are moving. If this happens, the rabbit is dead. Both teams should get a change to be both animals.
Quickity-Quick – What will I take, oh, what will I pick? Guess it, then catch me, Quickity-Quick. The children all sit in a circle, one child is chosen to be Quickity-Quick. The leader shows all of the children three small objects. She then places the three objects behind three different children who are seated in the circle. Quickity-Quick recites the verse above while walking behind the children. He pretends to take the different objects to fool the children, who must not look behind them. While he is pretending, he does actually take one object. Whenever one of the three children think their object has been taken, they immediately try to catch Quickity-Quick before he reaches a safety goal which has been previously established. If Quickity-Quick is caught with the object that was behind the child who chased him, they exchange places. The game is then repeated with the new Quickity-Quick. However, if the child catches Quickity-Quick with an object that was not his object, he is disqualified. Quickity-Quick may try again. Also, if Quickity-Quick is not caught at all, he has another turn until he is caught.
Raccoon Dinner Time – (active) Equipment: clams, crayfish and paper. This is a game for a small group. The leader designates a stream area, then scatters clams and crayfish in the stream. The leader stays at the far end. The leader is a fox. The rest of the group are raccoon’s. When the fox calls “raccoon’s”, the raccoon’s move up the stream slowly and pick up the food as they go. When the fox calls “dinnertime” the raccoon’s must freeze. If the fox calls “paws in the air” the raccoon’s must put up their paws (hands) up in the air and they are not allowed to use their thumbs. The game ends when the raccoon’s reach the fox but the winner is the raccoon with the most clams and / or crayfish. That person then becomes the fox.
Rattlers – (active/cooperative/circle) Everyone forms a circle around two players. They are both blindfolded and given a rattle. One is trying to tag the other. The rattlers enter the snake pit, and the game begins. To get a fix on each others positions, either rattler may shake his rattle at anytime and the other must immediately respond by shaking hers. However, the pursuer is allowed to initiate only 5 shakes to locate his quarry while the pursued can rattle away as much as she dares. The rest of the people in the circle move around, changing the size and shape of the snake pit. Once the person has got the snake or the person has used 5 shakes, switch snakes.
Rocket Race to Mars- (passive) Same principal as pin the tail on the donkey. Instead of a donkey, you make a map. All you need is a large piece of plain paper about a yard square. A double page from a newspaper will do in a pinch. Attach the paper to a tree with tape or lay it on the ground. The paper represents a space map of the universe. The with a heavy red crayon draw a solid color disc about 3″ in diameter on the space map. This red ball will be Mars. Next draw on several other planets. Each player gets to make a spaceship. Blindfold each player, spin him around and see if he can land his ship on mars. Make sure each ship has the child’s name on it so you can tell who is the closest.
Sardines – (active) ***Note: need 100% supervision to play. One player hides, all the rest of the players’ count to 100. Then they set out to find the hidden player. When one of the players finds the hidden player he secretly joins him, hiding from the rest of the group. This continues until all the players are hidden like a pack of little sardines. When the last hunter discovers the spot the game is over.
Sculpture – (passive) Equipment: Blindfolds. Three people are required with one person blindfolded and another person takes some shape and stays like that. The person who is blindfolded must feel the person who is a shape, and must sculpture the third person into that shape.
Scavenger Hunt – Equipment: pencils, lists, paper bags. This is a great activity. Make sure to send campers in groups. You might want them holding onto a rope to ensure that they stay together and everyone is participating. Make your hunt challenging. Ask for a mouthful of water, something fuzzy – BE CREATIVE !!
Shadow Tracks – (passive) Equipment: A box of chalk and a clock. Players must become private eyes as they follow the mysterious movements of the “Shadow.” The shadow has been accused of slowly traveling up and down the sides of the buildings and creeping across playgrounds and yards. Collection substantial evidence requires an all-day stakeout and should be planned as a supplement to other investigations. For this project you will need the sun, a shadow to trace – such as that of a tree, flagpole, or building- and a paved surface on which to draw with chalk. Give each play a piece of chalk. Start the investigation first thing in the morning. At first, shadows will be stretched out and long. Have players trace whatever shadow is cast on the pavement. Allegedly, shadows get shorter because the sun gets higher in the sky. Private eyes will have to check this out every hour by tracing the shadow and checking the sun’s position. As detectives keep tabs on the sun’s route, they might notice the shadows shrinking to almost nothing by midday and the reversing their position to grow again.
Shoe Wrestling- (active/circle) The players should be sitting in a circle. The leader should choose 2 players to shoe wrestle. These players should be of similar age and size. The object of the game is to take off the shoes of your opponent. The first one to do so is the winner. Players should stay on the ground, NO STANDING. Be careful!
Sign Your Name if You Can – (passive) Fasten a sheet of paper to a wall. Players take turns. With a pencil in hand, standing in front of the paper, he starts to swing his left leg in a circle. Doing this, he tries to write his name on the paper. And tries and tries …
Simon Says – (moderate) Players’ form a line facing the leader, who performs any action saying Simon says do this. If He doesn’t say ” Simon says” before an action then anyone who imitates the action is out of the game. Continue until one person is left.
Snake in the Grass – (active) One person is the snake, who lies on the ground on his stomach. Everyone else gathers fearlessly around to touch him. When the referee shouts “snake-in-the- grass” everyone runs, staying within the bounds of the snake area, while the snake, moving on his belly, tries to tag as many as he can. Those touched become snakes. The last person caught is the snake starter in the next game. Make the safe area fairly small
Spud – (active) Equipment: Ball. Throw the ball up in the air and call a number. Ask number 1 is called, if he catches the ball he calls another number. (Each player has been given his own number.) If he doesn’t catch the ball he calls “FREEZE” and takes three giant steps and tries to hit a person with the ball below the waist. If he hits the person then they get a point against them and get to call a new number. If the player misses the person he is trying to hit then he gets a point against him and has to throw the ball up.
The Thicket Game – (active) You obviously need a thicket or a forest for this game. Blindfold one person to be the predator. The predator counts to 15 slowly while the others hide. The hiding players must be able to see the predator at all times. The predator can not move location but can swat and turn. The object of the game is for the players to try and get as close to the predator as possible without being seen.
Tiddly/Button Golf – (moderate) Equipment: 9 small cat food/tuna fish cans. Take the label off the can and put a number on it from one to nine. Large button and a small button for each player. Buttons must be flat. Set out the cans like the 9 holes of a golf course. Keep 2 or 3 feet between the cans. Try to shoot the small button into the cans by pressing on the edge of it with the larger button. Start from the tee off spot and shoot for can number one. After you get the button in this can, take it out, put it next to the can and try for can number two. Count one point for each shot it takes to get the button in a can. The player with the lowest score wins.
Ultimate Frisbee – (active) This game is a modification of football. There are two teams and instead of a football a Frisbee is used. The object of the game is to get the Frisbee across the end zone. Players may not run with the Frisbee. The only way to get a turnover is to drop the Frisbee or to intercept. This is a non-contact game.
Ultimate Foxtail – (active) The same as ultimate Frisbee but a foxtail is used. You can easily make a foxtail by putting a tennis ball inside a nylon. For older participants, make sure you use the rule that you may only catch the foxtail by its tail and not the ball. Younger participants may catch it by the ball.
Zoom Schwartz Pifigliano – (passive) ***for older campers. Players sit in a circle on the ground. The first person starts by looking at someone and saying Zoom. That person may then look at someone else and say Zoom. Whenever you say Zoom, you look at the person who you are Zooming. If you want to send the Zoom back to the same person , you must say Schwartz, but you may not look at the person. That person then has the option of Zooming it to a new player. However, if the player wants to get the same person back again then they must say Pifigliano. It is a pure concentration game and a lot of fun, but do not expect participants to get it the first time they play it.