These games are ideal for large gym halls or outdoors. You definitely need a lot of clear and uncluttered space for each of the following…(my favourite game is the one at the very end!)
Each child grasps the waist of the people in front of him in his team. The head – (the 1st child) has to try and catch the Tail – (the last child), by dragging everyone behind him/her. The tail of course tries not to be caught.
Each team gets down on the floor on their hands and knees. The 2nd in line, grabs the 1st by the ankles, the 3rd child grabs the second’s ankles and so on. Each team tries to creep along like a centipede without breaking the line.
This game involves several pairs of identical pictures being laid flat on the floor. Children take it in turn to turn over 2 pictures and see if they match.
Person to Person
Everyone finds a partner, then the leader gives a command such as “Knees to Knees”. The pairs then have to touch their knees to each others knees. If the leader shouts “Person to Person” you change partners. Other examples are:
- Hands to Back
- Feet to Head
- Elbows to Elbows etc
This is a great game to play when the leaders are tired! The leader shouts “sleeping soldiers”, and all the kids have to lie down and pretend they are asleep. Leaders go around all the kids and check that they are asleep and motionless, and are allowed to make jokes etc. Only one rule – if you move, you are out!
Sort children into equal rows. They should all be facing the front, and be near to the people all around them. The leader will shout something like (“If there is a person on your left, then touch their right knee with your left hand”!! The leader can keep on shouting things like this, and when everyone gets in a tangle or falls over, you can ask them to face another wall, so that they have different people to their left and right.
Everyone walks around in a circle to music. When the music stops, the leader calls out a number and the children have to form a group with that number. Anyone left out stays out of the game for one turn and then joins in again.
A New Tail
Children are given numbers. They are then told a story about a beaver losing his tail. A new tail is placed in the middle of the floor. When a number is called, the 2 Children with that number run to try and get the tail.
Each child is given the name of an animal with every animal name being given to 2 kids. Everybody must make their animal noise in order to find their partner (e.g. Mice squeaks).
Find yourself a space in the hall with a partner. You link arms with your partner. 2 people are not linking arms, one of them has to chase the other. If the person being chased is feeling tired, then they link arms with someone, and the person on the other side of the threesome has to be chased instead. If you get caught, then you have to chase the person who has just caught you.
Children are running around. There are no leaders. It is utter chaos!
(This is not a game!)
Cops & Robbers
(This game is also known as Creeps and Curs). There are 2 teams (Cops and Robbers) who stand facing each other in the centre of the hall. If the leader shouts “Cops”, the robbers turn and run whilst the Cops chase them and try to catch before they reach the end wall behind them. If the leader shouts “Robbers” then the Robbers chase the Cops.
Fishy, Fishy Come Swim in my Sea
This game is similar to Snakes in the grass. 2 children are chosen to be “Fish”, and they are in the middle of the hall (they have to wriggle about like a fish, it is the same movement as a snake). The fish shout out “Fishy, Fishy Come Swim in my Sea”, and at that point, all the children have to run from one end of the hall to the other without being caught by the fish. If anyone is caught by the fish, they become fish as well.
Alternative: Fish stand up as “seaweed” and tig runners on either side. Anyone caught holds hands to extend seaweed chain.
Equipment: Pack of Happy family cards
The cards are distributed to the children. When the leader gives the signal, the children run around and try to find the rest of their “family”.
Jump the Stream
Equipment: 2 Pieces of rope and 4 helpers
Ropes are placed close together and children have to jump across the stream. The stream gradually widens to a river by increasing the space between the ropes. A child is out if he stands on one of the ropes.
Nought’s & Crosses
There are 2 teams and they are each numbered. When a leader shouts a number, the person with the number from each team runs and sits on one chair (which are placed in a 3 x 3 grid). The numbers keep getting shouted until a team has won or there are no chairs left.
Each member of the team is given the name of a vegetable or fruit (i.e. all the “1’s” are potatoes, the “2’s” are apples. When their vegetable is mentioned, the children run to the opposite end of the hall and back.
First person back wins a point for their team. If the words “SHOPPING BAG” are used, the team must join hands and all run to the end of the hall and back. Note: Try and make a really good story up which includes all the shopping items equally.
All the children stand in a line at one end of the hall, backs to the wall. One child is picked to stand at the opposite end of the hall – facing the wall, eyes closed. The children in a line begin tip-toeing up the hall. If the child at the far end turns around, everyone must freeze, and if someone is spotted moving, they have to walk back to the start wall. The child at the far wall then turns back around and the rest of the children continue tip-toeing closer. The winner is the first child who tip-toes far enough to reach the top wall.
What’s The Time Mr Wolf?
One person leads the game, and stands at one end of the room as the wolf, with his/her back turned against the others. The other players stand at the other end of the floor and call out “What’s the time Mr Wolf”? the wolf then calls the time e.g. One o’ Clock, and the other players take one large step towards the wolf. Again they call out and take as many steps as the wolf calls. However, when the wolf calls “Dinner Time”, he turns and chases the other players who have to make their way back to the end of the floor without being caught. Whoever is caught becomes the wolf and the game starts again.
Children are arranged into teams of five. Team members sit one behind the other on a row of chairs, facing the games leader. (e.g. 35 chairs arranged 5 deep and 7 rows across). The teams are numbered and one kid from each team is selected to be spokesperson. The leader starts, “Did row number (x) steal the pirate’s treasure?” That whole row stands up and says together “No sir, not us sir…” and the spokesman finishes off by saying “Try row (x).” That row then stands up and repeats, and so the game continues until a row gets it wrong by not standing up quickly enough or saying the wrong thing etc… (The more pedantic you make the rules the better). Any row which gets it wrong goes to the end row, whilst the other rows move up to fill the space, changing their number. The winning row is the one which is number 1 at the end of the game.
Mrs McGinty’s Shopping bag
The children are placed into a minimum of two teams but can be more dependent on numbers. A leader should start with the first member of each team giving them all something you’d get from a shop i.e. bread, milk, washing up liquid etc once everyone has been given an item then the leader goes to the other end of the hall and sits on a chair. The leader tells a story using the items they’ve just mentioned, whenever their item is mentioned they have to run up to the leader and tig them run back to their seat before the other teams get back. The story can be as long or as short as required but everyone should get a turn. Usually ending with everyone running up at once.
Split the children into teams then number them 1 to 10 etc. A leader then stands at the end of the hall and shouts “number 1, bring me a white sock” so then all the number ones have to bring the leader a white sock. The item being brought can be anything within the hall or an easily accessible area i.e. toilets, stage area and sometimes the kitchen.
Dwarves, Knights and Giants
This game is like a giant version of rock, paper, scissors. There are actions which are required for this game. Dwarf involves crouching, for knight you should imitate riding a horse, and the giant action is simply stretching your arms above your head. The dwarves beat giants, giants beat knights and knights beat dwarves. The group is split into two and each team is given an end of the hall. They gather and decide what action they are going to perform (whole team does same). The teams are then brought together in the centre of the hall. They line up facing each other with a metre between the lines. The leader then shouts “3,2,1,GO!” Each team performs their action. The team whose action wins chases the other team. Trying to tig as many people as possible. Those who are caught become part of the other team. The game then simply repeats.
Cat and Mouse
Make a grid using the children, get them to hold out arms (touching neighbour’s fingertips) so that this forms a maze of alleys that the children can run along. The leader picks one child to be a mouse and one child to be a cat, the cat chases the mouse along the alleys until they’re caught. While the cat and mouse are running about, the leader shouts change to the children forming the alley-ways. This means the children have to turn round (through 90o)so as to now form vertical alley-ways instead of horizontal ones.
Two rings of standing children. One inside the other with both rings facing each other, creating a circular corridor. The Earth ball at one side (inside corridor) and a child playing Indiana Jones at the other. The children have to roll the ball around the corridor chasing Indiana Jones.
Two teams elect a Donkey (leader?) (Or two) who sit about 10m apart balancing a plastic cup on their heads. Remaining members of the team sit in random lines in front of “their donkey”. Teams are given a huge stack of newspapers. Teams get a point by knocking off the cup of the opposing donkey(s). Kids must stay seated and can throw paper any way they like! – makes a bit of a mess but is great fun – play some loud music during the game too.
Living on an Island
Give a sheet of newspaper to each team who must get all members to stand on it simultaneously without anyone touching floor. Then they are allowed to rip a piece off their sheet and repeat. Team with smallest sheet wins.
Sit kids on two rows of chairs facing each other. (Number them off along each row “1-2-1-2…etc”). Place Team Captain No.1 at one end of the row of chairs, and Captain No.2 at the other end. Kids must bat a balloon with their hands (remaining seated) towards their respective Captain who is standing with a drawing pin. (i.e. every kid is sitting between players from the opposite team).
Blind man face off
Teams number off so that each has an opposite number in other team. Leader picks a number…both then have to don blindfolds and then make it to a water-pistol in middle of room (which you can move after their blindfolds are on) teams shout at their own players. Player to find water-pistol and then hit other player wins a point (time limit).
This is played the same way as rounders except there are only 2 bases and the “batter” is not allowed to stop at a base, therefore they just keep running until they get put out. One run = one point.
There are 2 teams. One team are “batters”, the other team are “fielders”. The “batters” take it in turns to hit a ball which is bowled to them by one of the “fielders”. The “batter” has to run round 3 bases and back to their home base (diamond shape formation). The “batter” can stop at any base, or try to run the full length and get 2 points (instead of 1). The “fielders” have to fetch the ball and throw the ball at a base that the “batter” is running to. If they manage this, then the “fielder” is out. If the “fielders” make a full catch, then the teams swap over. You are allowed 3 attempts at hitting the ball, and you are not allowed to hit the ball behind you.
Cat with the Wooden Leg
You will need a lot of leaders for this game, but they don’t have to do a lot of work! Each leader is given a name such as: Andy the Aardvark, Bobby the Bear, Carol the Chimpanzee etc. The leaders are also given the name of the person who the children have to find next. The winner is the first child to find the Cat with the Wooden Leg (this is the last person to be found). The children start by having to find Andy the Aardvark, who will tell the children to find Bobby the Bear. The leaders spread themselves out around the hall, and if a child asks them an animal which they are not, then they just simply say “No”.
This text was originally created and published as part of a document for Church of Scotland Summer Mission (Holiday Club) teams by Steve “The Juggler” Thomson. This version was updated by many more iMPACT members who I thank for enhancing it with even more wonderful information!