Auto Trip – (circle/passive) Players sit in a circle and are assigned the names of auto parts. (ie. hood, wheel, door, etc.) The storyteller tells a story of an auto trip. As the player tells the story, the parts mentioned get up and follow him/her. When the storyteller yells “Blowout” each player scramblers for a seat. The one left out becomes the next storyteller.
A What? – (passive/circle) Equipment: 2 objects. The leader of the game starts by passing the first object to the person on their right and saying, “This is a whit.” The reply is, “A What?” The leader would then clarify, “A whit.” This question sequence continues around the circle but the question “A what?” is passed all the way back to the beginning and back again. This game can be confused by adding an additional object called a Watt in the opposite direction. VARIATION: In this version, you have a circle of however many people, and the same number of monosyllabic items. One person, the leader, starts by choosing one object, let’s say it is a spoon. He/she hands this object to the person on his right, and says: This is a spoon. The person replies: “A What?” Leader: “A Spoon.” Person: “Oh, A spoon!” the person then takes the spoon and hands it to the person on their right, now becoming the leader. At the same time, the original leader has picked up a new object, and has passed it on. The second person now must carry on two conversations at the same time, looking from one to the other. This game is really fun, and it tends to get louder and louder as the more people play the game. We did this with a group of about 35 once, and it is so much fun. It can be really frustrating to learn, but it really is a blast!
Balloon Buns – (circle/passive) Equipment: balloon with message inside. The players sit in a circle. A balloon is passed around the circle. Each player has to sit on the balloon with all their weight for 3 seconds. If someone breaks the balloon, they must do what it says on the message. (ex, sing a song, bark like a dog, dance)
Bandit – (circle/passive) “It” stands in the middle of the circle. When he points at one of the players in the circle and says “Bandit!”, that person must put both hands over his ears. The person to the bandit’s right must put the hand nearest to the bandit over his own left ear, while the person on the bandit’s left puts his nearest hand over his own right ear. If any one of the three make a mistake by covering the wrong ear, or by using two hands when only one is to be used, or failing to react at all before the person who is “IT” counts to ten, he becomes “IT”.
Big Wind Blows – (circle/passive) The group forms a large circle sitting at an arm’s length apart. One person is chosen to be the “wind”, and stands in the center of the circle. The game begins when the person in the middle acts like the wind ( by turning in a circle and waving their arms) and says “THE BIG WIND BLOWS” At this point they must specifically state what the wind blows, a statement which must be true about themselves. i.e. “The Big Wind Blows everyone who has blue eyes.” All of the kids who have blue eyes including the wind must stand up and run through the circle to a position that is now empty on the other side. Upon reaching this spot, they sit down. One person will be left over, they are now the wind and the game continues. There is no winner or loser, just a lot of fun.
Birds Have Feathers – (moderate) One player is leader. He and all the others flap their arms like birds. He calls out names of something with feathers. If a player flaps his wings on a calling that doesn’t have feathers he’s out. The leader flaps his wings on almost all things to confuse the group and calls as rapidly as possible. “Birds have feathers, bats have feathers, babies have feathers, etc.” Variation: Ducks that Fly – (active)
When the leader says, “Ducks fly”, and flaps his/her arms, all the players must flap their arms. The leader goes on to say, “Cats Meow”, with appropriate sounds or gestures, which must be imitated as above. He/she may continue, “hens cluck”, “horses trot”, and so on with appropriate gestures and sounds. When he/she chooses, he/she may substitute a false statement and motion, such as, “cows bark”, “elephants fly”, and so on. If the player imitates the false motion, he/she is penalized. If any player makes a false motion or sound at any time, he/she’s out (can be given three chances).
Bop Bop – (active/circle) The players start sitting in a circle. The leader stands up and “bops” or dances around the inside of the circle. The players can help out by making their own music. The leader then taps selected people on the head and says, “start bopping right now.” These tapped people will join the leader in the middle. These boppers keep dancing and tapping until they hear, “Bop Bop Over!” The players will then stop dancing and run back to their spots. The last one there is the new leader.
Concentric Circles- Time: 5 to 25 Minutes Equipment: None Category: Icebreaker/Initiative Group Size: 8 to 500 Activity: Concentric Circles refers more to a formation the group can be arranged into which is conducive to facilitating numerous partner based activities in a short amount of time. The dynamics of this arrangement for the group allows for easy movement whereas each participant will have the opportunity to work with multiple partners in a short period of time. The group will align themselves with an inner circle facing out and an outer circle facing in. The circles should be about 3 to 4 feet apart and paired in a one to one ratio. It is best if you can balance discussion questions with active activities in this sequence. After each activity, have one of the circles rotate a few places in one direction or both rotate in different directions to work with new people. Any question relevant to the population you are working with will do. Some examples of great partner activities are as follows:
Light Saber Battle- Have the partners square off in a battle stance and glue their feet to the ground. They will extend their hands as if they are getting ready to shake them, clasp them together (interlacing thumbs) but keep their pointer finger extended pointing at their partner. On the facilitator’s command, they will attempt to tag their partner, between the shoulders and knees with their light saber (extended finger) without moving their feet and making light saber sounds throughout. Try left handed as well for a second round. Tow Tap- Have the new set of partners (don’t forget to rotate after each activity) extend their hands over their heads, and link them with their partners making sure to clasp thumbs and not lace fingers. The object will be to tap your partners toes with the bottom of your foot while not allowing your partner to tap yours. You may have to remind members of the group that the activity it called toe tap and not foot stomp for a reason. Shoe Tie- Have one partner in each pair untie one or both of their shoes (you may have to shuffle an individual or two if both partners do not have any laces). Ask if there are any left-handed individuals in their group. Ask these participants to place their left hands behind their backs, keeping them “out-of-order” for the remainder of the activity. Have the remaining participants place their right hands behind their backs in the same way. Now, instruct the partners to re-tie the two untied shoes in their pair using only the two hands they now have available (one from each partner). Three Changes- Instruct each group member to study the physical features of their new partner for 60 seconds without moving out of the position they are standing in. At the end of the 60 seconds, have each circle rotate 180 degrees (basically turning their backs to each other). When their backs are turned, instruct each participant to make three changes to the physical appearance their partner just studied. Remind them that it has to be visible from the front of their bodies as they stood when their partner made their observations. Partner Stretches- Any two person stretch will work in this formation as well.
Colors – (back pocket) Chose a color. You must stop someone and touch part of their clothing which is of the chosen color.
Dancing Statues – (active) Equipment: Yogurt cups (or something else, be creative) Each player is given an empty yogurt cup and they put it on their head. All of the players must start dancing. Whoever keeps the cup on their head the longest, wins
Elephant, Giraffe, Palm Tree – (active/circle) Form a circle with one person in the middle. The middle person will point to an individual and the person pointed to along with the persons on each side will have to form what was called out. ELEPHANT- Middle person (one pointed to) will form an elephant trunk by putting arms straight in front of you crossed at the wrists. Persons on each side will form the ears of the elephant by bending toward middle person, cupping around the mouth with hands as if whispering to the middle person. GIRAFFE- Person pointed to raise arms above head, arms extended fingers closed. Side people will grab middle ones waist bending over. PALM TREE- Middle person raise arms above head in “Y” formation, fingers open. Side people do the same but lean toward outside, away from the middle person. The object of the game is to try to keep changing all the time. The game has to be played quickly. As soon as an object is formed, the person in the middle of the circle has to point to someone else.
Ha Ha Ha – (passive/cooperative) This is a contagious laughing game. Player #1 lies on their back and places their head on the belly of player #2 . Player #2 then places Their head on the belly of player #3, and so on. Players should end up lying in a zig zag formation. Now the first person shouts “ha!” and the next person answers with “ha ha!”…. etc. Soon everyone loses control and starts laughing hysterically.
Hazoo – (passive) Choose someone to be it and divide the group into 2 parallel lines. The person who is it has to walk down the column without laughing or smiling. The rest of the people, try to make the person laugh without touching them. This game can also be done in a circle and the person in the center can be put in the hot seat. Specific questions can be asked and if successful they become the Grand Pooba.
How Do You Do? – (active/circle) Players form a circle. The hostess walks around the outside of the circle and taps one player on the shoulder. She shakes her hand and asks: “How do you do?” the reply is: “Very well thank you”. Repeat three times. On the third “Very well thank you” hostess and player leave in opposite directions. The player who is last to reach an available space becomes the hostess.
Jelly Roll – (icebreaker) This game is ideal for groups that either don’t feel completely comfortable with one another, or are difficult to assemble quickly. Divide the large group into smaller groups by means of color of clothing, birthdays or counting to group them together. Have them get into these groups, hold hands in one long line and then roll from one end to the other into a “jelly roll” and sit down. This can be used when you need to explain something, break them into groups quickly etc. All you need to do is yell “jelly roll”.
Mr. Greenjean – (passive) **for older participants. This game starts with a leader and a camper in one room or area of the playground and another leader with the rest of the campers in another room or area. Every camper is given a name i.e. mama greenjean, baby greenjean, tall greenjean, short greenjean, green greenjean etc… One camper at a time comes into the room that originally had only a leader and one camper and introduces himself. Everyone who is in the room repeats all of the actions of the new person for a few seconds up to a few minutes. The amount of time is very dependent on how the camper responds to this type of attention. Some campers will do the funniest things when they know everyone is going to repeat it.
People to People – (moderate) This is a good way to divide campers into groups in an interesting way. The campers should mingle while snapping and saying, “people to people”. The leader will call out commands like, “back to back” or “knee to knee”. The leader can also throw in group commands like, “a group that uses the same toothpaste” or “same color eyes”. Be creative!
Poor Kitty – (circle/passive) The children are arranged in a circle, sitting down. The one child is the “poor kitty” and he goes up to another child purring and meowing. The person approached must pat the kitty on the head and say, “Poor Poor kitty”. If the child laughs, then he must become the kitty and try to make others laugh.
Pruie -(moderate) Everyone walks around with their eyes closed in a small space. When you bump into someone say “pruie?” If they say “pruie?” back to you then they are not the person you are looking for and you continue looking among the crowd. The referee has whispered to one person, telling him that he is the “Pruie”. The pruie does not have to close their eyes and if someone bumps into them and asks “pruie?” they do not respond. This is your clue to join onto their hand and open your eyes. The fun comes when there is only one person left to find the Pruie!
Psychic Shake – (moderate) Each player chooses a number (1,2,or 3). Each player seeks out fellow players by shaking hands right and left. The hand is squeezed the number of times which corresponds to the number the player has chosen. It is a secret code; all must be done in silence. The “spirits” should see to it that the group divides into three separate groups.
Quack – (icebreaker) This game is played in the same formation as jamaquacks. The group forms a circle and about six players are chosen to go into the middle of the circle, where they bend over and grab their ankles, and walk around backwards. If they bump another player then they must introduce themselves by sticking their head between their legs and shaking the other player’s hand.
Quaker Meeting – (circle/passive) Nobody can keep a straight face in this game! Players sit in a circle, fairly close together. the leader solemnly taps the knee of the person to his right, and each player in turn does the same. When that action gets back around to the leader, he then taps the cheek of the player to his right. And so on, with the nose, ear, eye, mouth, or until a player dissolves into laughter.
Rattlesnake – (circle/passive/cooperative) First you find lots of kids. Then everyone hold hands one person on one end stands and holds onto something like a wall. The person on the other end will start the game by singing the song and going under the arm of the person that’s on the wall after everyone is under the person should have their arms crossed. Then keep singing the song and repeat the motion going under the second persons arm. Keep doing this until everyone is twisted. Then the people at the ends hold hands finally everyone is joined and they jump up and down singing the song one more time. Song: r-a-t-t-t-l-e-e-s-n–a-k-e spell rattlesnake limbo (repeat ’till over)
Romeo and Juliet – (active) First, everyone chooses a partner, If someone is left over he or she can be your partner. One member goes to an inside circle and the other stands beside that person on the outside circle. The circles rotate in opposite directions. The leader yells out either, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Wheelbarrow” or “Siamese Twins”. The last couple to perform the action is out. The game continues until there is one remaining couple. The partners remain with the same partner throughout the entire game. Romeo and Juliet – One partner sits on the others knee Wheelbarrow – One holds the others legs upright Siamese Twins – Back to Back and bent over, hands held between their legs.
Rutabaga Rutabaga! – (circle/passive) Each player is given the name of a veggie. The main rule of this game is that you are not allowed to show your teeth at all. Your gums must always be covering them. You then must say the name of your vegetable and the name of another person’s vegetable. That person then must say the same thing. If you make a mistake or show your teeth in any way at all then you are out.
Spirals – (circle) Everyone joins hands in a circle. Then one person releases the hand of their neighbor and pulling the giant human rope behind, begins to walk around the outside of the circle. The other people who broke hands remains in position on the end person. The chain of people spirals around and around the stationary person, drawing people tighter and tighter in a coil until all the people – still holding hands are wrapped around each other. The best way to unfold the spiral is from the center. Still holding hands, the person in the middle ducks down, and the rope of people follows.
Stay Sober – (moderate) Children form 2 teams and stand facing each other. The children on the first team are given one minute to make anyone on the other team laugh. They make faces, gestures, funny or teasing remarks, but they cannot touch the other players. Then the action is reversed, and members of the second team try to make the other team laugh. Any child that does laugh must leave the line. The team with the most remaining players after several times is the winner.
Thumper – (circle/passive) The players sit in a circle. The leader instructs everyone to select a different Indian sign. Examples: – Rain in the face (hand held above brow, fingers twiddling) – Bow and arrow (arms extended as if holding bow and shooting arrow) – Drums (hands tapping on an imaginary drum) -How! (hand upheld, palm forward) – Teepee ( formed with hands, fingertips touching) – Feathers (two fingers held up behind head) – Swimming (swimming motion) etc….. One player starts by telling what he is and suits the action to the words. For instance, “I’m drums” and pretends to beat. Going around the circle each player tells what he is. Then all start clapping hands on knees in a rhythmic beat. Leader (in rhythm): What’s the name of the game? Players: Thumper! Leader: How do you play it? Players: You thump! The leader gives his own signal and follows it with someone elses sign. Each successive person does his own and then another one action.
Toe Fencing – (active) Players are divided into pairs. Players face their opponent holding hands. They then try to tap the tops of each other’s toes with their own. When one player scores three hits, it’s time to switch to a new partner.
Touch Blue – (cooperative/circle) – The game begins with everyone in a circle. The leader will call out, “Touch Blue” and everyone must touch something that is blue. (Someone’s shorts, piece of a shirt) Colors can be added on and different body parts can be specified.
Viking – (circle/passive) All of the players sit in a circle. One person starts as the Viking by putting their fingers at their side of their head like horns on their hat. This Viking passes the role of being a Viking by pointing their horns at someone. If you are pointed at, you become a Viking (horns and all) and the person on the right has to start paddling to the right and the person on the left has to start paddling on the left. The last person of the threesome to assume their position is out. The rest of the players slap their legs during the game in a constant rhythm.
Who am I? – (moderate/icebreaker) Each person has pinned on his back a picture or name of a famous person. By asking questions to the other people that can be only answered “yes” or “no”, he must figure out who is on his back.
Will You Buy My Donkey? – (circle/passive) The players should be sitting in a circle. One donkey and one donkey seller should be in the centre of the circle. The donkey seller will try to sell their donkey to those in the circle. The donkey seller will choose one person and ask them, “Will you buy my donkey?” The players in the circle have to answer “no thank you” with a straight face. Then the seller will say, “My donkey can do cool things like…” The donkey has to try and do the things that its seller says it can do. (Ex. tap dance, do a somersault, sing a song…etc.) The players in the circle have to say “no thank you” without laughing. If the person laughs, they become the donkey, the donkey becomes the seller and the seller gets to join the circle.
Wink – (passive) Players are arranged in partners, one squatting and one kneeling behind the circle. One person is it. He winks as unobtrusively as possible at one of the seated persons who try to get to it before his partner can prevent it by placing his hands on the person’s shoulders. Guards must keep their hands by their sides except when they wink at their partners.
Yankee Doodle Cracker – (passive) This is a game for two teams of at least four players on each team, and a referee. The referee gives everyone a cracker. As soon as he blows a whistle, or, “calls on your mark, get set go!” the first person on each team eats his cracker and tries to whistle “Yankee Doodle Went to Town”. As soon as he has succeeded the next person does the same. The first team to finish wins.