Outdoor Games

for creating ... outstanding outdoor

HeLPfuL Hints for fun

(and safe!)

outdoor gaMes

safety first!

Make sure you check the playing field or area for any hazards. Is there a gopher hole someone could twist their ankle in? If it’s a running game, is there enough room for everyone to move about safely?

If there isn’t, can you modify the game to make it safe, i.e. turned it into a fast walking game or make the boundaries bigger?

model safe tagging.

Show students how to tag with a light touch, like butterfly wings. Students should learn how to tag gently, NOT with a slap or smack. You can model unsafe tags such as near the face or describe what it feels like if a tag is too hard.

eliminate “elimination games”.

Try to use games that everyone can stay in and play the game. If the rules call for a person to “be out”, have that person do 10 jumping jacks to get back into the game or the person only has to sit out

1 turn before (s)he is allowed to play the game. If students are eliminated right away, they often get bored waiting to play and can become disruptive.

ParticiPate in your game.

If your students see you having fun and are safe, they will want to join in the fun, too! Make sure you are modeling the behavior you want your students to be doing- walk if the rules say walk, tag safely, stay in bounds, etc.

use d.d.a.d.a. to teach games.

escribe the activity (rules), emonstrate (remember different learning styles), sk for questions, o it!,

dapt the activity to the needs of the group. Do not just say “We are going to play Elbow Tag today.”

KeeP exPlanations to a minimum.

Students will lose interest if they have to sit through long explanations of how to play a game. Be brief when answering questions.

call a game at the PeaK of fun.

Students will want to play the game again and again if they are having fun. They will not want to play it again if everyone is arguing or eliminated or has stopped playing.

always model and encourage teamworK and fair Play.

Tell the students that there are “no put downs” only encouragement. Praise students when they are working together, being safe, participating, and sharing opinions & feelings.

have fun!

Games are supposed to be fun. Make sure you are playing games that are inclusive, made for multiple grade levels, are made for various fitness levels and can be adapted to fit your students’ needs.

FUN GAMES on the FLY presented by Christine Turbitt

South Fortuna EXCEL After-School Program

tabLe of contents

Outdoor Games – Races, Relays and Runs 17

Outdoor Games – Scavenger Hunts 35


Outdoor Games – Water


Time: 5-8 Minutes

supplies: One cup of water per team of four to eight players (each cup needs to have an equal amount of water)

Break the group into teams of four to eight, and ask teams to line up standing shoulder to shoulder. Give the first person in each line a cup of water. The cup holder passes the cup to the next person in line. Continue passing the cup down the line as fast as possible. The last person in line holds the cup for the judge to evaluate. The judge goes from team to team to look at how much water is in each cup. The team with the cup that has the most water wins.


supplies: All you need are students, a ton of pre-filled water balloons, and some five-gallon buckets

Divide your group into equal teams and line each team up behind a bucket that is filled with 15 water balloons.

It’s important that each bucket contains the same number of balloons. Twenty feet away from each lined-up team is another bucket that’s empty. When the leader says GO, the first person in the line bends down and grabs a water balloon from the bucket—using ONLY his/her mouth—and runs it to the empty bucket and carefully drops it in. As soon as the first person has successfully grabbed a balloon from the first bucket and has started running toward the second bucket, the next person in line does the same thing. At the end of the game (whether you set a time limit or based on balloons popped) the team with the most balloons in the second bucket wins.


supplies: Two buckets per team; one filled with water, and one plastic baggie per team

objective: Be the team to get the most water in your bucket after a predetermined amount of time.

– Put a lot of pin holes in the plastic baggies.

– The groups line up sitting down, one in front of the other, so that they are facing the back of the person in front of them.

– The bucket that is full of water goes behind the last person. The empty bucket goes in front of the first person.

– When the race starts, the first person takes the baggie to the back bucket, fills it with water and then tries to get the water to the front bucket, but it has to be carried OVER THE HEADS OF his/her TEAM MEMBERS.

– He/she dumps the water that is left in the baggie into the front bucket.

– The line shifts up and the first person sits in the back.

(Make sure that groups are not cheating by covering the holes)


Players run away from “it” who tries to tag them by throwing a wet sponge at the player’s back.


Teams try to make their way through the sprinkler without getting wet. Staff members vote on who’s the driest team!



Using a pin, poke a small hole into a balloon. Fill the balloon with water. Kids stand in a circle and toss the balloon around. The person who ends up with the empty balloon is out.


Fill containers with water, freeze. When frozen, dip in warm water so the ice shapes come out easily. Stack ice shapes to make an ice castle.


Split group into teams. Fill a bowl with ice cubes and marbles. With bare feet, use your toes to pick the marbles out of the ice. First team with all the marbles out…wins!


Outdoor freeze dance under a sprinkler or musical chairs under a sprinkler.


supplies: Squirt gun and clean bucket of water

Players: Small to medium groups

All players sit or stand in a circle. Pick a person to be it. They are to go around the circle like Duck, Duck, Goose but they say “Duck, Duck, Squirt.” They then squirt a player and the chase begins. The “squirter” is to run around the circle and back to the player’s position without getting tagged by the person that was squirted.


supplies: Two beach towels, one water balloon filled

Have teams of 2-4 hold ends of beach towels standing three feet apart. Teams toss a water balloon to the other team from their towel. The other team must catch it in their towel and pass it back. If it is too easy...have teams

increase their distance from each other.


supplies: Two very large sponges, four two-gallon buckets, and water

Fill two buckets with water and place two empty buckets at the end of the course. Divide students into two teams.

Have first student in line soak the sponge and run down to the empty bucket and squeeze their sponge into the empty one. Student will run back to the bucket of water and drop in the sponge. The next student in line will pick up the sponge and repeat the process. Once all students have had a turn, measure the water in the bucket. The fullest bucket wins.



supplies: One spray bottle filled with water and one small water gun filled with water for each player

objective: Don’t get sprayed or you’re out during this water tag game!

– Select a playing area outdoors and set boundaries (e.g. certain landmarks, such as trees, or a roped-off

perimeter). The more players you have, the larger the play area should be.

– Choose one player to be “the tagger” and hand them the spray bottle filled with water.

– Hand out the small water pistols to the rest of the players and instruct them to spread out on the field.

– When you say “go,” the tagger should try to spray each player with the spray bottle. If a player is sprayed, they must freeze in place.

– A player can only be unfrozen if a friend squirts them with water from a pistol.

– Since the water pistols are small, they will eventually run out of water. Once they run out of water, that player will no longer be able to unfreeze players.

– Play until only the tagger and one last person are left. That player is the winner!

– Play the game several times so different children get to be the tagger.


In this messy game children are divided into pairs and presented an ice cube on a paper plate. The ice cube has been colored with food coloring and in the middle of it is a penny. The object of the game is to be the first pair to retrieve the penny by melting (not breaking) their ice cube the fastest. This game gives the children a chance to be creative and come up with a strategy together. You do not have to color the ice cubes -- this is done to make the game more visually fun.


supplies: Large Sponge (car washing sponges), two or more buckets, two or more dish pans filled with water, and egg dye or food coloring (optional)

– Place two buckets on one end. Add dye or food coloring only to the buckets being filled (optional). Fill dishpans with only water (no dye or food coloring) on the other end.

– Form teams behind each dishpan with water.

– Place sponge inside of dishpan and let it absorb water.

– Each child takes the wet sponge and runs to the bucket, squeezes out the water to fill the bucket.

– The team that fills the bucket to the designated amount first is the winner.


Have everyone stand in a circle and toss the balloon around until someone drops it. That person is now out of the game. Continue tossing the balloons around the circle until only one person is left. The last person is the winner.

To make it more challenging, have two or more balloons going around at the same time.


Roll water balloons down the slide and another person at the bottom tries to catch it.



On a hot summer day, the coolest party games involve water. This wet-and-wild game gives kids a great excuse to get soaked. Fill an inflatable pool with water. Hide a weighted ring or other treasures on the bottom of the pool. Fill the pool with inflatable balls and toys to make it difficult to see the bottom. Have a few kids at a time wade around the pool looking for the hidden treasure. Provide them with goggles, or make it more challenging by allowing them to only use their feet.


– Fill water balloons up ahead of time. When it is time to go outside, head to the field where the kids will partner up and toss balloons back and forth across from each other. With each completed set of tossing, have them take a baby step back further and further until their balloon breaks.

– In teams of 3-4, do a relay race. Have the kids try to fill up another (empty) tub at the end of the line with a large cup from a full tub of water a few feet away. Have them take turns and work together as a team.

– Take the buckets and fill them up with water. Have the students stand together in a line and take turns carrying the bucket over their head. The person behind will bring it under their legs, and the person behind them will carry it over their head, and so on until the end of the line. The students end up spilling a lot and they love getting soaked.


Have the kids sit in a circle. One child walks around the circle with a sponge soaked in water saying “duck,” until they get to the child they want to chase after them. When they get to that child they say “splash” and squeeze the sponge over their head. That child runs around the circle trying to get back to the empty spot without getting tagged. If tagged they sit in the middle until someone else gets tagged. The child who was splashed gets to be the one who is it. When each child has had a turn they put their legs straight out in front of them so the kids know who has had a turn.


supplies: Two buckets and a large sponge for each team

Place one bucket full of water near the starting line for each team. The other bucket for each team goes at the far end of the yard with nothing in it. The players take turns dipping the sponge in the water and running to the empty bucket. They squeeze the water out of the sponge into the empty bucket to fill it. The first team to fill their bucket wins. Using a smaller bucket as the empty one makes the game go faster.

You can also use a bottle or other container with a small opening to make it more difficult to squeeze the water inside.


Divide into two or more teams. Choose one team to go first. The first team gets into the pool, standing or sitting.

Have someone ready to watch the clock for sixty seconds. At the start of the clock, throw twenty large ice cubes in and see who can take the most ice cubes out using only their feet in the designated time. Once time is up, have the other teams try. The team who gets the most ice cubes out of the pool is the winner!



supplies: Two orange squishy sponge balls and two buckets of water

objective: Over, under, over, under... try to pass the ball through the line as quickly as possible! Be the fastest team to weave the ball over and under each person.

– Split everyone into two equal teams. Have both teams line up in parallel lines. Drop a sponge ball into a bucket of water, and hand the bucket to the first person in line.

– Everyone in line needs to be facing the front. When you say “go”, the first person of both lines needs to take out the sponge ball from the bucket and pass the ball over the head to the person behind them.

– The second person in line must pass the sponge ball between their legs to the third person behind them. The third person passes the ball over their head to the next person, and so forth in the same “over-under” pattern.

– At the very end of the line, the last person has to pass it forward in the same pattern as before. The first team that passes the ball back to the first person wins the game.


Tell the group they’ll be playing an icebreaker game, then bring out the t-shirts. Give one to each team with the goal of someone putting the t-shirt on. Depending on how frozen the shirts are, it can take a while for them to bash out the ice. Let them be creative in the way they thaw it out (pouring water over it works well!) The team to come back with someone wearing the t-shirt is the winner!


Partners stand close facing each other and take turns throwing water balloons back and forth, taking a step farther away each time. Alternative: Lather up your hands with dish soap for some slippery fun!


supplies: Two buckets per team, one empty and one full of water, and a small bucket with holes in them for each team

Provide each team with one empty and one full bucket, as well as a bucket with holes in it. Set the empty buckets at one end of the yard and the full ones at the other near the kids. At the word “Go,” the first player on each team dips his bucket with holes in it into his water bucket and holds it over his head as he dashes to the other end of the yard. (No covering holes with fingers!) When a player reaches the second bucket, they dump what’s left in their holey bucket into it, runs back to the start, and passes it to the next player. The game continues until the formerly full bucket is empty. The team with the most water in the second bucket wins. (The game can end when

the first bucket is full.)


Instead of playing with flags each team will get one bucket filled with ice water and three sponges. They have to get all three but may only take one at a time. Variation: Put two yellow sponges and one blue and make them

get only the blue. This is great for those hot days.



supplies: Water Balloons

Organize players so that they’re into pairs and each team receives a partially inflated balloon. When the game starts, teams must race to a finish line carrying a balloon between their heads, remember don’t use your hands.

On hot days try it with water balloons or through a sprinkler. You can even try an obstacle course.


Outdoor Games – Tag


Participants choose a partner. One person is it and the other is chased in a small boundary area. Players must walk foot-tofoot in the area (heel touches toe to travel). When a person is tagged they must spin around three times and then become it.


Group kids in a circle. Place the circle-up facilitator in the middle. People in circle make eye contact with other people in the circle. When mutual eye contact is made, participants switch places with each other. Person in the middle tries to take the spot of someone switching spots and a new person is “It” in the middle.


– Children are divided into two teams (teams of 8-10 kids work the best).

– Each child is given a number. The same numbers are assigned to the opposite team members.

– A ball is placed on a cone in the middle of the playing field.

– When a number is called, both people with that number run forward to grab the ball. Once someone is in possession of the ball, they must run back across their team line while the other person tries to tag them. If they safely make it back, their team gets a point. If they are tagged, the opposite team gets a point.

– This play continues, calling out different numbers, until a team reaches ten points. First team to earn ten points wins!

tips: Make sure you have enough players to vary the numbers. Also, try to pair the numbers based on ability, speed, age, and size of players. Be silly—use a stuffed animal, rubber chicken, etc. instead of a ball.


Choose a player to be the zombie. Everyone must avoid being tagged by the zombie. A tagged player can’t use the part of the body the zombie tags. For example, if the zombie tags a player’s right leg, the player must move by hopping on the left leg. Once nobody can move, start a new game.


supplies: Several foam noodles (if using swimming foam noodles, it is recommended that they are cut in half or thirds)

Make sure to mark off or indicate playing area. For this tag game, the instructor will choose 4-6 participants to be a “hornet.” Each hornet will have a “stinger” (foam noodle piece). The hornets will attempt to tag others using their stinger. Once the “hornet” tags another person, they lose their stinger just like a real hornet by dropping it on the ground. The person tagged must leave the playing area. Once the stinger has dropped, any player not tagged and not the original hornet, may pick it up and become the new hornet. As the amount of players still in the game dwindles, instructors may remove stingers out of play. Game continues until there is one player left in the game-the last hornet.


Have the kids loosely tuck three or four socks into their waistband. Then they grab each other’s socks and hold onto their own. The player with the most socks wins.



One person is the monkey; everyone else is a crab. The monkey gets down on hands and feet, facing down. The crabs get down on hands and feet, facing up. The monkey tries to tag all the crabs. When the monkey tags a crab, the crab turns into a monkey and tags the remaining crabs. Play until everyone is a monkey.


One person is it. That person goes and finds a good hiding spot. (It is fun to play at a park that you can have some wooded area to use.) Everyone else begins looking for the person that is “it.” Once you have found the person, you hide with them too. The goal is to have everyone finally hiding in the same spot. The last person to find the group of “sardines” is it for the next game.


There are 3-4 people that are chosen to be the cops. They hide a flag (with a part of it showing). We have used t-shirts, hats, whatever you can find as the flag. The rest of the kids are robbers. They have to find the flag and run it all the way back to the “jail.” If you are tagged by a cop you go to jail. If you have the flag and get tagged, you drop the flag right where you were tagged and head to jail. To get out of jail another robber must come and tag you out. We usually try and choose a jail spot a ways away from the area where the cops have the opportunity to hide the flag.


supplies: Need flags or a strip of cloth to be used as a tail

Players have a tail inserted into his/her belt or pocket that is hanging at the back-side. All players chase one another trying to collect tails, while protecting his/her own. Players with the most tails collected in a specified time are the winners.


supplies: Cones

Choose a large open area as the playing space. Determine the boundaries of the playing space and place cones along the boundary lines. Have children play the game according to the following rules:

– Ask three volunteers to form the Boulder by holding hands.

– The Boulder must hold hands at all times.

– The Boulder tries to tag the other children.

– If a child is tagged, he or she must become part of the Boulder by joining hands with the Boulder. The child can help the Boulder tag the other children.

– The Boulder increases in size and ability to tag children as more players become part of it.

– The goal of the Boulder is to tag as many children as possible while running together and holding hands.

– The last child to be tagged by the Boulder is the winner.

Variation: Increase the difficulty of the game by incorporating two or three Boulders.



Choose someone to be the plumber. When a player is tagged by the plumber, they become a “toilet” by bending down on one knee and extending an arm to the side, creating a “flusher.” Other players can run by and “flush the toilet” to get the player back in the game.


One (fast) player is chosen to be the hunter. Another (patient) player is chosen to be the guard. The rest of the children become animals. Mark out a circle about ten feet in diameter on the ground to be the “pen,” in the middle of the playing area, using chalk, stones, sticks, or whatever else you have on hand. The guard stands in the pen and must stay in it for the duration of the game, although he may patrol the perimeter and try to catch any stray animals that come too close.

The animals scatter and start to run around the play area, trying to escape the hunter. If the hunter catches an animal, he leads him over to the pen. Once in the pen you cannot escape, but you can be rescued on the way to the pen if one of the other animals touches you. However, your rescuer must avoid being touched by the hunter or the guard when he is trying to rescue you, or he too will be caught and put in the pen. You can stop the game at any time, but you want to set a time limit in advance or declare an end when a certain number of animals have been caught.


A tagger chases players. If a player is about to be tagged, he or she must quickly sit down and yell the name of a fruit or vegetable. If players do that before being tagged, they’re safe. If not, they’re frozen for the rest of the game. Play until everyone is frozen.


You will need a big open space, such as a field. Bring the children to one side of the field and number them 1-5. One person in the middle calls out a number, then tags as children run to the other side. Children that are tagged go in the middle with the caller and help tag children as they run across. The caller may call the number again and have the children run to the other side or call a different number. Game is over when there is one child or a few children left.


The children decide on four or five safe bases in an outside play area. Those bases are the safe areas where children run to when the person known as the “Top” yells topsy turvy. When topsy turvy is yelled, all the children (“Runners”) must run to a different base and the “Top” tries to tag them. If they do get tagged they become a “Top” and they help the other “Tops” tag the “Runners”. The game ends when there are more “Tops” than “Runners” and things become “Topsy Turvy”. The children have to continually count the “Tops” and the

“Runners” to see when things tip over to become “Topsy Turvy.”


One person is IT. As he/she tags people, they become part of IT, holding hands as they try to grow by tagging more people.

IT may separate into groups of no less than three if IT so chooses. Last person tagged becomes IT for the next game.



supplies: Colored tape

– Before your students arrive, rip 3-4 inch pieces of colored tape (one color per team). Fold over about a half inch at one or both ends of the tape.

– When ready to play, line each student up shoulder-to-shoulder and have them close their eyes. Place two of the same colored tape on each player’s back, around each shoulder blade, to signify which team they are on. It is best to leave the folded over tab or tab’s facing up and down to keep them separate. Evenly divide the tape so that there are two equal teams. Do not tell each student which team they are on.

– The goal of the game is to run around and rip off the tape of the opposite color of your own. Once both pieces of your tape have been ripped off, you must sit down because you are OUT. Whichever team still has tape on in the end, wins.


– The fun in this game is that you, as a player, do not know which team you are on... You can rip off one of your own pieces of tape to see but then you only have one left. OR you could trust someone else to tell you that you have the right color... Question is... Are you willing to turn your back to anyone?

– Make sure that each player is wearing a t-shirt, not a tank top.

Not allowed:

– Putting your back against a wall

– Pulling your shirt around to see what color tape you are

– Lying down on your back


– Players start out in groups of two or three (can be modified how every many you like). Groups stand shoulder to shoulder and attach to each other by interlocking elbows (like a do-si-do but standing all facing the same direction) creating a chain of people.

– Choose two players to be IT and to be chased. IT chases the other player who may run around and use other groups as barriers to get away. If IT tags the player, their roles are reversed.

– To get away from IT (safe) the player being chased may interlock their elbow with another group (base). When they lock onto a chain, electricity travels from them, through the chain to the last person in that group. Now the last person in that group is to be chased and IT must try to tag that person and so on.

Variations: If one person is IT for very long, leader/teacher and shout out switch and roles are reversed or teacher/leader may tell IT and person being chased to become a group and choose another two people.


supplies: Gym floor and Hula-Hoops

Players: Medium to large groups

Pick 2-4 players to roll Hula-Hoops that will be positioned across both sides of the play area or gym floor. Have the rest of the players line up across the width of the gym floor. Players will run from one end of the gym floor to the other trying not to touch or be tagged by the rolling Hula-Hoops from the players on the side of the play area.

As players are tagged they will join the rollers on the sides with additional Hula-Hoops to tag existing runners.

Kids will beg to do this again and again!



One child is Mr. or Mrs. Wolf and the other children line up on one side of the grass. The wolf stands in one spot, farther away from the group and the group of children shouts out “What time is is Mr. Wolf?” The child who is the wolf has his/her back facing the group and shouts out a time. If the wolf says 9:00 then the group of children takes nine steps towards the wolf. This is repeated as many times as the wolf likes. The point is to get the group of children as close to you as possible. When the group is close and they ask “What time is is Mr. Wolf?” The wolf turns around and says dinner time. The group then has to turn around and run back to the starting line before getting tagged by the wolf. The child who is tagged first is the new wolf.


This game requires a large outdoor area with objects to use as hiding places (i.e. a park with lots of trees, benches, structures, etc.). Within defined boundaries, one person will be the Mission Leader and the rest of the group participants will be Rogue Spies. The Mission Leader’s job is to spot/catch as many of the Rouge Spies as they can to avoid being captured. The Rouge Spies are trying to sneak up on the Mission Leader during missions and eventually capture the Mission Leader before the last mission is complete. Any Rouge Spy to capture the Mission

Leader becomes the Mission Leader the next game cycle. If the Mission Leader is not captured, they remain the

Mission Leader for the next game cycle. There are 10 missions during each game cycle, and span from Mission

1 (= 1 second) to Mission 10 (= ten seconds). Each mission can only be called once during a game cycle. During each mission, the Rogue Spies have a given number of seconds to move closer to the mission leader. To begin, the Mission Leader choses a spot in the open area as Mission Control-they do not change or leave this area until captured or all ten missions have been completed without being captured. The Rouge Spies will start out on the perimeter or one side of the perimeter of the defined area-this will be the Field Operations Base. The Mission

Leader will then proceed to choose a mission and announce it to the Rogue Spies. The Mission Leader will then close their eyes/hide their eyes or turn away from the Rogue Spies and loudly count off the missions until they reach the chosen mission (i.e.”Mission 4: Mission 1, Mission 2, Mission 3, Mission 4!”) During this time, Rogue

Spies advance towards the Mission Leader and find hiding places so they do not get seen/spotted by the Mission

Leader. Once the counting has stopped, Rogue Spies must freeze-no one is allowed to change locations or finish hiding. Upon completion of a mission, the Mission Leader will then survey the area and name/call out any Rogue

Spies they can identify correctly. They must do it from Mission Control-no moving from their chosen spot. If spotted by the Mission Leader, the Rogue Spies return to Field Ops/Base as their new starting place. Those who hid themselves well from the Mission Leader will start the next mission from their current spot. This continues until the Mission Leader is captured (tagged during counting) or the Mission Leader completes all ten missions without being tagged. Note: Rogue Spies must move every mission-they cannot stay in the same hiding place.


supplies: colored craft sticks (30 of each color, 5 or 6 colors)

Before the game begins hide the sticks outdoors. All of the green can go near a bush or tall grass. I like to put blue ones on the blue playground equipment. You can hide some hard and some easy. Pick a few taggers to be it.

Be the first one to find and collect one stick of each color, if you get tagged the tagger will take one of your sticks

(whichever one they want) and the player will need to go back and collect that color again.

tip: This is the only time I encourage the kids to trick each other so that the game is harder.

Variation: Can also be played with face paint in the summer- taggers have wet wipes to remove the colors when tagged.



Just like any game of tag, the object of the game is not to be “it”. Other than the obvious, running faster and getting away from the “it” person, you can avoid being tagged by knelling down on your knees and yelling the name of a character from a cartoon. You can only stay in this position for 3 seconds before you’re “back in play.”

Variation: Once you’ve gotten tagged, not only are you “it”, so is the person who tagged you. Soon the “its” start out numbering the “not-its”. You cannot repeat a cartoon character who has already been named.


– All players find a partner and link elbows with them. These pairs spread out around the playing area.

– The facilitator selects one pair and within that pair selects one person to be “it” and the other person to be the “chaser.”

– The “it” person runs around throughout the pairs. The “it” person can, at any time, link up with any pair. If the link person joins a pair, the person on the pair who the “it” member did not link with must separate from the chain and now be “it”.

– If the “it” person is ever tagged, they become the chaser and the other person becomes the “it”. That other person is then free to join a pair, causing another player to split off and be the new “it”.

– Game lasts until facilitator says it’s over.

– It can be helpful for the facilitator to watch carefully and manage potentially confusing situations, specifically when the “it” person thinks they have linked up and the “chaser” thinks they have tagged them just before linking (creating two people who think they are “it”).


Players: Small to large groups

Start out with three to four in a group. Try to get as many groups as possible and leave a person as “it”. Have the members of each group attach together by holding onto the waist of the person in front of them to form a snake.

The person in front is the head and the person in back is the tail. To start, the person that is “it” must catch the tail of one of the snakes and attached to it. If he is successful, the head must come off and he is now “it”. You are to twist and turn your snake to keep from losing your head.


Have all students line up on a line. Have 2 Octopuses in the center. Octopus can move around everywhere and tag people. Once tagged you are seaweed. You are stuck in the ground, but you can use your arms to tag others.

Students run from one line to another without getting touched. We allow the last 2 runners be the octopus. Then we chose in order to let everyone have a turn.


Play a game of tag where everyone is it. On go, everyone runs around in a designated area trying to tag each other.

To freeze someone you unzip them half way down their back. Players can rejoin the game when another player zips them back up.



Players: More the merrier! Ages 5 to 12 years

– Choose a large play area, preferably a playground.

– Choose an “It”.

– All the kids will disperse around the field and “It” will try to Tag them.

– A kid once tagged will join “It” by holding hands and chase other kids to tag.

– Every player, who is tagged, will join the Chain which will grow in length gradually.

– This will continue till the last player is left who is the Winner!!!


You have two “exterminators” who have a swim noodle, everyone else is an ant. You create boundaries to run around in.

The exterminators try to kill the ants by hitting them below the waist. When an ant is hit, they fall to the ground about put all 4 limbs up in air. To be saved, 4 other ants will pick them up (one on each limb) and bring them to a rejuvenation station (hula hoops or rope circle) and gently place them in the hoop. Once they are placed in the hoop, the ant comes back to life. Exterminators cannot guard the rejuvenation stations. Also, if there are four people on an ant, they are safe from the exterminator. Switch exterminators every two minutes or so. Game can go from 5-10 minutes depending on the group. Adjust the amount of exterminators depending on how quickly people are getting out.

tip: Be aware of slippery surfaces. Take care of each other when moving and be very careful of the head and neck.


All the kids stand to one side of the field (Minnows). One (or two or three) kids stand in the middle (Sharks). On the whistles, the Minnows have to run past the Sharks without being tagged. If they are tagged, they become a

Shark and join the rest of the Sharks in the middle. Then, on the next whistle, the remaining Minnows will once again run back across the field trying to avoid the Sharks. This “filtering” process continues until one (or a few) kids are left. Then they become the sharks of the new round.


One person is “it.” Whenever someone is tagged by “it” they must hold a Band-Aid (their hand) on the spot where they were tagged. Then the game continues. When someone runs out of Band-Aids, (they get tagged three times), they are frozen until two other people come over to them and “operate.” The two other people need to tag the frozen person at the same time and count to five. Let the game continue for as long as it remains exciting and fun.

Switch the person who is “it” often.


Everyone sits in a circle and puts their heads down with their eyes closed except 3 people. The three people run around the outside of the circle and each tap a person (goose) and then return to their seats. The three people

(geese) who are tapped each take a guess at who tapped them and after all 3 have guessed, the true tappers are revealed. If you got it right, you get to be one of the three tappers.



A fun twist to tag. One person is it and they try and tag everyone else. Once you are tagged, you also become “it”.

Pretty soon everyone is trying to tag everyone. The last person to get tagged gets to be “it” for the next game.


supplies: sidewalk chalk, swim noodles

– Start by drawing a large circle on the ground. Big enough for the amount of kids playing

– One student stands in the middle with a swim noodle aka the spaghetti noodle. He or she is the tagger. The rest of the students (meatballs) stand on the drawn circle.

– When the tagger calls «meatballs are in the sauce” the meatballs must get to the other side of the circle (plate) without being tagged by the noodle. If they are tagged they become a noodle.

– Play until the majority of the kids are noodles or for a time limit then start over.


Form teams of 4-8 people. Teams can either link elbows are stand behind one another with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. Each team “dragon” attempts to grab the “tail” of another team’s dragon. The last team remaining wins. Use a scarf or bandana hanging in the back pocket of the last person in the chain to make the tail of the dragon. People who are part of human chain cannot let go and get separated.

If any part of a team’s dragon gets separated, the detached tail end cannot move; only the head and the people attached to the head can move. You cannot go after another team until you have reconnected your body together.

A team can perform defense by curling up into a ball. You can curl up as a whole dragon or just the tail if the head has been detached.


Gather all the children in one area and tell them you will count to 35. They must stay within the area you set.

You then call out a color or grade level or age group. Then say go...the children that are wearing that color will go about tagging the other children being IT! (Remind them no double in a row tagging or pushing or

tripping, YOU may however tag someone more than once but they must be given a chance after they are

tagged once to run away to be tagged again.) After you finish counting OUT LOUD to 35 then you say stop and bring in all the children to one area. Ask the children who were IT how many they tagged. Make note out loud the number to beat is ten or five or whatever the highest tagger got! Then you call a new color and off they go tagging some more! You may have more than one IT person and you may count slower for younger children and faster for others!


supplies: beanbag, cones

Choose a large open area as the playing space. Use cones to set up boundary lines within the playing space. Tell children they are going to play a version of tag called “Toss the Clown”. Have children play the game according to


the following rules:

– The beanbag will represent the clown.

– One child will be It and will try to tag the remaining players as they move throughout the playing space.

– One of the players will hold the “clown.” This player cannot move.

– The player holding the “clown” is safe and cannot be tagged by It.

– A player can call “toss the clown” if they are about to be tagged by It. The player currently holding the “clown” will toss it to that player to keep him or her safe from It.

– Any player holding the “clown” cannot move until it is passed to another player.

– If a player is tagged by It, he or she changes places with It to become the new It.

Have the children discuss the game after they complete play. Explain to children that this game involved helping others and asking others for help. Have children discuss the following questions:

– Who do we ask for help in the community?

– Who do we ask for help in our families?

– What can we do when we are in a conflict with someone?

– Who can you help?

Variation: Have children play the game with two or more “clowns.”

how to Prevent “hurt feelings” in a tag game

We changed the rules for freeze tag so that there are no hurt feelings. The tagger has a set time to be the tagger(use your phones stop watch or an egg timer) until a new one is picked. When the students are running around and they end up getting tagged that person has to do a certain type of exercise given by the teacher, ie… 3 jumping jacks or run in place for 30 seconds. One game starts out with one tagger and once another person is tagged they are also it. You do this until only one person is left who is not tagged and they are the new tagger. This minimizes kids being upset because they do not want to be it.


Outdoor Games – Races, Relays and Runs


supplies: blow-up or giant dice, 13 rubber bases (Frisbees work great for this), clearly numbered 0-12

Create two teams. Scatter the bases out, but close enough to be read by the players. Team one’s player rolls the dice and adds (or subtracts) the numbers and runs to the base with the correct answer. Player stays on the base. Repeat until all teammates are on a base. Team must add (or subtract) the value of each claimed base. That becomes their team score. Repeat with the second team. The team with the highest (or lowest) score wins.


supplies: eight small baskets, two colored index cards laminated with pictures of items, labels for six small baskets

There are two teams—Team A & Team B. Each team has a basket filled with various laminated pictures of objects that are in categories such as bottles, plastic, aluminum, compost, recycle, or garbage that are color coated (for example, Team A has yellow index cards, Team B has green index cards) to distinguish correct points per team. One team member starts at the starting line and then must take one card from the basket and race to the other side of the field and place the card in the correct labeled basket (soda bottle in bottle, cans in aluminum, etc). He/she then returns back to the original start place and goes to the end of the line. The next person repeats the above system until all the cards have been exhausted. The first one to finish placing all the cards ends the game and then the cards are tallied for the correct amount of placement of the cards. Point system is up to the Activity Director. Or, each correct answer gets a point. This a great way to learn about the environment, to play on Earth Day and use actual recycled items (such as Lays potato chip bag laminated to use as cards or empty plastic water bottles). Only need small baskets to hold assorted cards, one per team and labeled baskets for items.


supplies: Oobleck Ingredients–one part water and 1.5 to two parts cornstarch

mix ingredients:

Start with the water in a bowl (or wading pool!) and add the cornstarch a bit at a time. Mix until it exhibits the properties of a solid when pressure is put on it.

– Break the kids up into even teams.

– Give each team a bucket of Oobleck at the starting line.

– Put large cups with lines indicating a specific measurement 25 yards away from each team.

– When you say, the first child on each team will reach into the bucket and scoop up a handful of Oobleck. They then run to their team’s cup and put the Oobleck left in their hands in the cup.

– Since Oobleck acts like a solid when pressure is put on it, but like a liquid when no pressure is applied, it will start to “melt” through their hands as they run.

– After dumping the Oobleck in the cup, the child runs back and tags the next person in line, who then scoops up some Oobleck and heads down to the cup.

– This continues until one team successfully fills their cup to the designated line.

This activity is messy, but is great for outdoors because it washes off with water!



supplies: Long lengths of rope AND a predetermined track/course.

Divide your group into teams of at least five or more. The larger the team size, the more difficult it is. Tie the rope around the entire team at waist level. Put them on the obstacle course and turn them loose. Teams can be timed during their running of the course, or you can actually have a couple of teams race! The key is to work together as a team to accomplish a common goal.


supplies: open field, large pieces of cardboard (the bigger the better)

– Divide the children into groups or only have one group

– Each group will receive a large piece of cardboard

– There will be a starting line and a finish line.

The team is to get on their knees and be close together. Someone will place the cardboard on top of their backs (everyone’s back on the team should be touching the cardboard). They are to crawl together and have the whole team cross the finish line with the cardboard shell still on their backs. Option: The teams can paint their shells before the big challenge.


supplies: rocks, four buckets or similar containers, masking tape or cones

Preparation: Place an equal number of rocks in two buckets. Use masking tape or cones to set up a start and finish line about twenty feet apart. Place the two buckets containing the rocks at the start line and the two empty buckets at the finish line.

Divide the group into two teams of equal players. Have children play the game according to the following rules:

– Divide each team in half and have one half form a line at the start line and the other half form a line at the finish line.

– The relay begins with the first player of each team at the start line.

– On the “go” signal, the first player carries the bucket of rocks to the finish line, transfers the rocks, one at a time, to the empty bucket, and returns to the start line with the empty bucket.

– The first player in line at the finish line carries the bucket to the start line, transfers the rocks, one at a time, to the empty bucket, and returns to the finish line with the empty bucket.

– The next player in line at the start line takes a turn completing the relay, followed by the next player in line at the finish line.

– Continue play in this manner until all players have a chance to participate.

– The first team to have all players complete the relay wins.

Variation: Add obstacles or additional actions to the relay. For example, have children stop between the start and finish line, put the bucket on the ground, and do five jumping jacks before continuing. Another example is to place a chair in the middle of the relay path, have players set the bucket on the ground, sit on the chair, and sing

“Happy Birthday” to the bucket of rocks before continuing.


Be sure to fill the bucket with rocks whose weight and size are appropriate for children to carry.



The students can go from location to location (distance to be determined) completing tasks based on math, reading, spelling, science, and social science. Of course the tasks would vary based on grade level/ability.

Here are examples of a task for each subject area:

– Math (5-7th grade): Students would have to find ALL the different ways to make the product 12, 24, 48, etc.

– Reading (5-7th grade): Students would have to read a short story, then put events from the story in order of occurrence.

– Spelling (5-7th grade): Students are told a spelling word, they have to look for all the letters needed to correctly spell the word and place in the letters in the correct order.

– Science (5-7th grade): Students are shown an example of the model of a paper Roto-Copter. Students have to make their own using only resources laid out (paper, index cards, scissors, paper clips, etc.) that will descend slower than the original model.

– Social Science (5-7th grade): Students would have to match 10 state capitals to the correct state to complete this task.

Students cannot progress to the next task until they’ve completed the one before. IF they do not follow directions correctly, they can receive a penalty (go back and complete a different task in that subject area).

This game can be modified in so many ways that best suits the situation!


Place four cones at each corner of a rectangular playing area. Split children into two teams. Each team is assigned to a cone, and the two team cones should be diagonal from one another. Line up the children at their cone. The first player in line stands at the cone, but the rest of the team stands further away (against a wall or set up another cone for the designated “safe zone.” Upon a whistle blow, the first player in each line begins running around the rectangle made by the cones. Both teams run in the same directions, attempting to catch the other team’s runner.

Cutting corners is not allowed. A team wins when they tag the other team’s runner.


We like to build an obstacle course out of various found (nature) items, slides, hula hoops, jump ropes, just about anything outdoors can be used. The kids build the course together brainstorming ideas and then we form two teams. We take turns competing in the race but keep it fun not competitive. When we’ve done it a couple of times we rearrange the course and get a little wackier each time. The kids love this, they never get bored with it and in the end they are happy, tired and ready for snack and homework.


Divide the group into two equal teams and draw a circle around them. Have them facing each other behind their circles. Place an equal number of bean bags in each team’s circle. On cue, each player takes one bean bag from his circle and puts it in the opposing team’s circle, running back and forth while continuing to empty bean bags in their opponent’s circle. On “Freeze” the team having the least number of bags in their circle wins.

Variations: Instead of running, have the children hop and move to place balls in their opponent’s circle.

Divide into four groups instead of two. One with least number of bags at end is winner. Assign a point to the team with the least bean bags at the end of each round. First team to five or seven wins.



Get down on all fours and compete in these races:

Crab Walk: Scurry along on hands and feet with your belly facing up.

Bear Crawl: Crawl on your hands and feet with your belly facing down.

frog Jump: Spring into the air with your hands and feet leaving the ground with each jump.


supplies: one bucket for the end of each line and beanbags

This game can be played with a group size of no less than five, no more than forty. Have the children stand in a line (no less than five). They then move the squirrels (beanbags) from the front of the line to the end of the line.

This can be done as a relay race with several groups or as a team cooperative game.


This is a hilarious running game. All kids are waiting on the defined starting line and the leader is on the other side with his back towards the other children. The leader then shouts `green light` and the other kids starts running from the defined starting line towards the leader. When the leader then shouts `Red Light` he turns around and everybody who he sees moving has to start over at the start line. The goal of this game is to be the first one to reach the leader.


supplies: A box or laundry basket for each team and a playing area safe for shoeless running.

The first player on each team runs to his team’s box takes off his shoes , puts them I the box and runs back to tag the next teammate , who does the same. When the entire team is shoeless, the players take turns running to the box, putting their shoes back on and running back. The first team to finish—with all footwear on—wins.


supplies: large rubber boots and grass play area

Set up teams (small to large groups) with each team assigned one pair of large rubber boots. These boots can be fishing waders and it would be helpful if the players could just slide their shoes right into the boots without taking off their shoes. Have teams line up behind the starting line. The first person on each team must put on the rubber boots, race down grass course and back, take off the boots and the next person on the team will do the same.

When the last person on one of the teams crosses back through the starting line first, they are the winners.


supplies: two sheets of colored paper per player.

As each player steps forward, they must place a sheet of paper in front of their foot to step on to. Before they can


step forward again they must lift up their back foot, pick up the piece of paper, and balance on one foot while placing the paper in front again. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially if you make it a team race!


Players: eight or more, 4-9 years old

Divide the kids into pairs.

– Couple each pair’s inner legs by tying their shoes laces together.

– Set an obstacle course for each pair say “around the bush or tree”, “sit on the chair”, “kick the ball” etc.

– Mark start line and the finish line.

– As the race starts the pairs have to run, jump, hop…do whatever to complete the obstacle course and WIN!


Pour a big bag of skittles into a large bowl and give every child a drinking straw. On the other side of the playing area set up an individual plastic cup for each player with their name written on it. You can also choose to play this game in teams, in which you’ll only need one cup for each team. On the start of go the children must rush to get as many skittles as they can into their cups by sucking the skittles onto their straws and running it over to drop in their cup. They may not touch the skittles with anything other than the straws. Give everyone 3 minutes to see who can collect the most. Everyone gets to keep and eat the skittles they collected.


Outdoor Games – Balls


supplies: dodge balls, butcher paper

Players will roll their dodge ball; they will earn points according to the color their dodge ball landed on.

Preparations before activity: Cut butcher paper to length of six feet. Draw three circles, one inside each other. Color the circles in this order: outer circle blue, middle circle yellow, inner circle red. Assign a point value to each color

– Divide students into groups of 5-8. There should be 4 different groups during this activity.

– Divide the gym into four areas. Each group should have their own area of the gym.

– Place the butcher paper circles on the floor in front of each group.

– Each student will have a turn to roll the dodge ball in an attempt to have their ball land on one of the colored circles to earn points.

– Play for fun or establish a point system necessary to win the game.

Variation: Play a round in which players toss their objects toward the circle rather than roll them (regular toss; under the leg; turn around, bend over, and toss through the legs; over the shoulder, etc.)


This game is really simple and a lot of fun! One and more people can play it and all you need is a light ball or balloon. You throw it up in the air and you form your hands locked together (as if you’re hitting a volley ball). If you have teams, whoever keeps their ball bouncing in the air longer wins! Basically you keep hitting the ball up and up.


Stand everyone in a circle. The leader then says his/her name and then throws a tennis ball to the person to their left. Continuing in one direction each person says their name and passes the ball until it gets back to the leader.

The leader then calls out someone’s name and then throws the ball to them. That player then calls another name and throws, and so on. Once people are getting an idea of names, introduce another ball, and then another as it gets easier.


goal: To progress to box four and stay there for up to five turns.

Player 1 - the Challenger (newest person in the game) - starts play by dropping the ball and hitting it under hand after it bounces to any other square. Now the game has begun!

The rules for Four Square follow the 1 - 1 - 1 rule: one bounce (in your square), one tap (into someone else’s square), and one bounce (in another square).

– If the ball does not follow this rule, the ball is out and that player collects as many High 5s as possible on the way to the end of the line.

– If the ball is out and a player moves to the end of the line, the other players move up into an empty square: 1 moves to 2, 2 moves to 3, 3 moves to 4.

– The first person in line moves to square 1 and serves.


– After a player has had 5 turns in box 4, that player becomes the King or Queen of the court and gets a whoosh clap back to line.

Ball is Out When:

– It is hit out of the playing area

– It is hit before bouncing in the player’s square

– It is hit after bouncing twice in the player’s square

– It is hit when it is not the player’s turn

– It bounces on any line in the playing area

– It is “carried” or held to guide it into a particular square

– It is not played by the correct player

If the ball is out, the player collects as many High 5s as possible on the way to the end of the line.


supplies: gator skin or Nerf balls, cones

Mark out the game playing area with cones in a gym or on a field.

– Two players are chosen to begin the game as throwers, each with their own ball.

– The throwers begin the game in the middle of the gym/field (inside cones or a circle already on the floor).

– After hearing each of the team’s cars, one throwers calls out the name of one of the four cars.

– All players in that corner must run around the thrower’s circle, attempting to return safely to their corner.

– The throwers attempt to get players out by hitting them with the ball - from within the thrower’s circle.

– Once thrown, a ball may only be retrieved by a thrower.

– A player hit by a ball is out of the game and sits on the circle until the next game.

– A thrower may announce “Calling All Cars”, prompting all players to run.

– The remaining players head to a corner of the marked gym/field area and select a type of car to represent their team.

– The last two players to get hit begin the next game as throwers.

Instead of cars, you can pick ANY topic to suit a theme—Superheros, Fruits, Veggies, Colors, different modes of transportation—possibilities with this game are limited only by the imagination!


supplies: 6-12 hula hoops or more, objects (gator balls, tennis balls, footballs, rubber chickens, frisbees, anything else you have), 2-3 mesh bags, dividing line (jump ropes, cones), cones for boundaries


– Break up into two teams,

– Clearly mark boundaries and middle dividing line

– On ½ of the field/Gym set up the hula hoops in three rows: First row, closest to the the middle, place five hoops a couple feet apart / Second row, about 3-5 feet behind first row, place four hoops a couple feet apart / Third row, about 3-5 feet behind second row, place 2-3 hoops a couple feet apart /

– Empty all Gator balls and other materials onto the empty field side

– Have each team sit on their side of the field at the back boundary

– You pick 2-3 “point stealers” who use the empty mesh bags to gather loose gator balls on their side of the field


with the hoops.

– Everyone on the defensive side of the field, the one with the hoops, are guarding the hula hoops, but not standing in the hoops.

– When someone comes onto their side of the field with a ball, they try and tag that person before they place the ball into a hoop.

– If the person gets tagged they drop the ball and go get another one. No one gets out in this game.

– The point stealers are the only ones who can pick up the loose gator balls on the ground.

– The offensive team is trying to get as many objects in the hoops as possible.

– Players can only have one ball in their hand at a time.

– Players must cross the middle line to try and get a ball in the hoop. They can’t throw an object from their side of the field to a hoop.

– Once they cross the middle line they can place, drop, toss or roll object into hoop before getting tagged. Defense can knock ball down, stop it, or catch it while ball is in air. Point stealer then can come collect that ball from the ground.

– Point Stealers can also tag people

– Defense can’t go into the hoops to block or take a ball out. Once it is in the hoop it stays in, even if someone accidentally knocks it out with their body or another ball. Staff would just place ball back in hoop.

– Offensive players must stay inside the boundaries, but can run around on the defensive side as long as they want until they get tagged or place the ball in the hoop.

– Once you get tagged or place ball in hoop you go back to your side to get another ball. Only one ball at a time.

– Round continues until there are no more balls on the offensive side.

– Have each side sit down when game is done to count up points. Add up the points in the hoops and then count how many objects are in the point stealer bags. Then subtract the point stealer points from the points scored from the offensive team and that is the total for that round. There can be a negative point round.

– Have each team switch sides and pick 2-3 more point steals and start the next round


– First row of hoops = 1 point per object in each hoop

– Second row of hoops = 3 points per object in each hoop

– Last row = 5 points per object in each hoop

– Each object collected by point stealers and placed in bag = -1 point

– Offensive points - Point stealer points = total score for offensive team. (You can do the points however you

want and use as many hoops as you want, the more hoops the more kids can play. You can also give double points to matching colored gator balls and hula hoops.)


supplies: hula hoops, kick balls, whistle and children

– Split children into 2 groups.

– Group #1 – Children will all receive a hula hoop which they will hold upright next to them and spread out in a large area.

– Group #2 – Children will all receive a kick ball and line up next to each other in a line facing the children who are holding up the hula hoops. When the whistle blows children will dribble the balls through the hoops then walk through through the hoop and go to the next hoop.

– The children can go through the hoops in any order they wish. The child who gets through all the hoops first wins.

– Once all children are done, then switch and give Group #1 the kick balls and Group #2 the hula hoops.



The aim of the game is to either to get all the opposing team out by hitting them with a soft ball below the waist or catching a ball thrown by a member of the opposing team. If this happens all the members of the catcher’s team are reinstated in the game. The other way to win is by hitting a target such as a bin or net that is placed at either end of the court. In preparation to play the game the court is divided in half with cones and lots of soft ball are placed across the centre line of the court. The teams start on opposing sides of the court and are not allowed to go past the centre line of the court. The teams on the call of “go” run to the centre to grab the balls to try and either hit the target or get the opposing team out. When either one of the targets is hit or one of the teams is out the game is over.


set up:

– Place two gymnastics mats at the center of the playing area (Island).

– Place a hula hoop at each of the four corners of the playing area.

– Place one gymnastics mat along one of the sides of the playing area (Hospital).

– Place 3 soft, medium sized playing balls (coconuts) inside each of the hula hoops.

game play:

– Choose four children to become “Sharks”. The sharks will be assigned to a single hula hoop and try to protect the three “coconuts”.

– The rest of the children who are not “Sharks” are the “Monkeys”. They will be placed on the center island.

When the director starts the game, the Monkeys will try to get the coconuts and bring them back to the island.

If they are tagged by a Shark in the process, they must go to the Hospital.

– To be released from the Hospital, another Monkey must throw a coconut to the Monkey in the hospital. Once the coconut has been caught, it must be returned to the Sharks ring it was taken from.

– To win the game, the Monkeys must have all the coconuts on the main island and have nobody in the Hospital.

– A player attempting to get the coconut may stay in the hula hoop for up to ten seconds. After ten seconds, the

Sharks may tag them.


supplies: dodge balls, soft (3-4 is a good minimum for 10 players), cones, gym lines, or distinct end lines if outside for defining the playing court boundary

– Set-up cones and/or identify the lines that will be the playing court boundaries. Define where the middle is as well.

– One child is picked to be the first ‘Thrower’ all other children are the ‘Runners’. The ‘Thrower’ starts in the middle with the ball/s, while all the other children, AKA ‘Runners’, are lined up on an end line at one side of the playing court (two end lines, one each side).

– The game starts when ‘Thrower’ is ready and then shouts “GO”.

– The ‘Thrower/s’ can run anywhere within the boundaries, like a ‘Runner’, and throw until runners make it across past the end line – the object is to tag a ‘Runner’ with the thrown ball.

– ‘Runners’ have 5 sec after ‘Thrower’ shouts “GO” to enter the playing boundary by crossing the line and starting to run to the other side.

– ‘Runners’ must make it across the playing court without getting tagged by a thrown ball, catching a ball is allowed…

– If a ball hits a ‘Runner’, they then become a ‘Thrower,’ if there are not enough balls for each ‘Thrower’ those


without a ball can be a ball shagger, and fetch a thrown ball to then throw again, continuing to try and tag all

‘Runners’ who have not made it to the other side of the playing court.

– If a ball is caught by ‘Runner’, they quickly drop the ball and continue running to make it safely to the other side. THE BALL CAN’T BE USED AS A SHIELD OR HELD ON TO BY ‘RUNNER’!

– The Last ‘Runner’ becomes the new ‘Thrower’ OR may choose whomever to be the new ‘Thrower’ and all other

‘Runners’ restart the game by lining up at one end of the playing court.

New players can enter whenever as runners, others can take a break if needed and the game can simply continue. The game can continue until group decides they are done!


supplies: cardboard boxes (the bigger the better), balls that won’t hurt when hit by it, and duct tape

– Split the students into two groups and have the kids race to get as much as they can. When the teams have their cardboard they build and name battleships. It is good group project for Art! They decorate them and name them. Ships do not have to have a bottom or a back on them, but it needs to stand up on its own.

– Each team picks a couple of people to be the shooters and the rest of the people man a ship. (2-4 people in a ship).

– The shooters will be blindfolded and pointed in the direction of the other teams ships but they don’t know where they are so they have to listen to their own teams instructions on where to throw.

– If a ship gets hit a person is out. Whoever destroys the other team’s battleships first wins.

– Have the students come up with the rest of the rules, they will be worse than anything we could come up with!


This is a version of baseball outdoors with tennis racquets and tennis balls. It is a fun game and doesn’t require any gloves, plus it increases the chance of success for players to actually get a hit. It is used for the younger guys to help teach the rules of baseball. Pitch underhand for the younger boys. For older members, we pitch overhand if preferred. There are no strike outs. This is a very popular game and it can be played in a smaller space than a

baseball field. You can also play this with wiffle balls for an added twist.


supplies: hula hoop, soft balls, masking tape

Choose a large open area as the playing space and place the hula hoop in the space. Use masking tape to set up a throwing line about fifteen feet from the hoop. Invite two children to hold the hula hoop approximately fifteen feet from the throwing line. Instruct the remaining children to stand in a line behind the throwing line and face the hoop. Have children take turns throwing a ball through the hoop.

Variation: Move the hoop closer to the throwing line for younger children.


supplies: basketball, basketball hoop, large sheet of paper, markers

Choose a large open area with a basketball hoop as the playing space. Determine a throwing line that is an


appropriate distance to the hoop based on children’s skill levels. Instruct children to stand behind the throwing line facing the basketball hoop. Provide children with a basketball and tell them that they will take turns shooting baskets. Explain to children that they will each have ten seconds to make as many baskets as possible. Record the number of baskets made for each child. Play another round and have children try to improve their results.

Variations: Give younger children additional time to shoot baskets and move the throwing line closer to the hoop. Have children substitute laundry baskets for hoops if a basketball hoop is not available.


– Place multiple assorted balls/Frisbees/rubber chicken along the line down the center of the field.

– When the game starts, the players from each team inside of the field rush to get the balls from the middle. Each team then throws the items to their catchers. Each catch that is made by the catchers counts for the number of points determined before the game starts (i.e. any catch is 1 point; chicken is worth 5 points, etc.). A group leader will be watching the catchers of each team to count the points.

– The catchers throw both caught and uncaught items back into the playing field.

– Teams are allowed to attempt to block items being thrown over their playing area as long as they stay within the playing field.

– At the end of the allotted time, stop and compare scores of each team to see who wins.


Divide players into two equal teams. Draw a center line. Each team must stand behind the line opposite each other. Place 3-5 spongy balls on the line depending on the size of your teams. Gator Balls work well for this game.

When the leader blows the whistle players from both teams race toward the center line to retrieve the balls. Play continues like regular Line Dodge Ball with players from both teams trying to tag the other team’s members by throwing the ball. If a player is hit by a ball, instead of being eliminated from the game, they join the other team and continue to play. If a player catches a thrown ball, instead of the thrower being eliminated, they join the other team and continue playing. With this version, there is no “winning” team. We stress good sportsmanship and having fun.


supplies: playground ball

Every player gets a number and crowds around the person who is “it” for that round. “It” then tosses the ball straight up and the other players run away. As the ball reaches the top of its toss, “it” calls out the number of one of the other players and then runs away also. The player whose number was called must run back and catch the ball (or chase after it if it is bouncing around). Once that person has the ball, they yell, the players with the ball. If they do, that new person gets a letter

(first S, then P, then U, then D) and is now “it.” If they miss, the person who threw the ball is “it” for the next round.

• “5000”

Staff member throws the football to students in the field. Every time a Student catches the football they receive

500 points (1000 points, if you want the game to be shorter). The first student that reaches to 5000 points wins.

The winner gets to throw the football to the other students in the field and a new game of “5000” begins.



Whoosh – Pass the whoosh ball around the circle in one direction by saying “whoosh.” You must be silly and try to move the whoosh as fast as you can.

Whoa – In order to stop the whoosh ball, or to change its direction the person who is “whooshed” the ball can say “whoa” and place an open palm in front of the “whoosher” which will stop the whoosh ball and change its direction. If a “whoosher” has been “double-whoaed,” a “whoa” on either side of them (directly from the person on their right and then on their left) the whoosh ball is to be sent around the circle as fast as it can until it reaches the “original double-whoaed whoosher.”

Zap – If a “whoosher” has been “whoaed” and believes that they might be “whoaed” a second time (and would like to avoid a “double-whoaed whoosh”) they can “zap” the whoosh ball across the circle to anyone (who is not at their direct right or left). In order to “zap” the whoosh ball, one must have possession of the ball and should step forward extending both arms and clapping their hands once in the direction of a person. A “zapped” whoosh ball cannot be “whoaed” and a person cannot “zap” during a “double-whoaed whoosh.”

Boing – At any time during the game, except during a “double-whoaed whoosh” the person with the whoosh ball can say “boing.” Once this is said, the person with the whoosh ball bends down to the ground at the hips and knees and says boing. As the “whoosher” does this, the rest of the group must also do this. Because this can get annoying quickly, “boing” can only happen 3 times in a row, and then the whoosh ball must be moved around the circle.

Freak-Out – When a person has a whoosh ball, and the ball is not traveling around the circle during a “doublewhoaed whoosh,” they can call for a “Freak-Out” and all members of the circle must change places. The person who stated “Freak-Out” is still in possession of the whoosh ball and must then pass the whoosh ball around the circle.

Super-Freak-Out – This is the same as a “Freak-Out” with regards to when you can call for a “Super-Freak-

Out, however, when “Super-Freak-Out” is called the person with the whoosh ball must give a theme to the

“Super-Freak-Out” demonstrate it, and as the group switches places they must do what the theme of the “Super-

Freak- Out” is. Example: “Super-Freak-Out” frog jump. Everyone jumps like a frog across the circle until all have changed places.


The name of the game can be changed to something more appropriate – Watermelon in the Air, Spaceship in the

Air, Bumblebee in the Air – something that matches a program theme.

The basic rules are:

– Everyone receives a number and keeps that number secret.

– One player starts off with a ball and everyone else stands around that person in a circle.

– The player with the ball throws it high up in the air. While the ball is in the air, everyone else scatters. The player in the middle calls out, “Baby in the Air, number ___” and names a number.

– The player whose number is called runs to catch the ball as it falls toward the ground. Once that player catches the ball, he yells, “Freeze!” and everyone else must stop wherever they are.

– The player with the ball can take up to three steps (as big as they want!), then has to try to peg another player with the ball (that other player is still frozen).

– If the peg is successful, then the player who pegged the ball gets to be in the middle for the next round. If the peg is unsuccessful, the player who avoided being pegged gets to be in the middle for the next round.



supplies: large plastic dinner plate and ping pong ball for each team

The first runner on each team places the ping pong ball on the top of the dinner plate. Holding the plate waiterstyle (one hand underneath the tray, younger racers can use two hands), the player carries it to the turnaround point and back to tag the next teammate, who does the same. If a player drops the ball, they pick it up, put it back on the plate and resumes. The first team to finish wins.


supplies: tennis ball and stop watch

Have group members form a semi-tight circle. The participants have to remember the order of their throws!

The leader then throws the ball to a person on the other side of the circle. That person then throws the ball to a different person in the circle and so on until each person has caught and thrown the ball once and only once. Each person has to remember who has thrown the ball to them and to whom they threw the ball. After the sequence has been established, have the group start with the first person and go through the sequence as fast as they can and time them. The group then does it again and tries to beat their fastest time.


It is basically kick ball, but the teacher gets to make and change the rules as they see fit (run the bases backwards, must yell “Arghhh!” whenever you catch a ball, must pretend like you are swimming, etc.). It stops fights and keeps the focus off who is winning.


Hula Hoop basketball is the same concept as regular basketball, but you use the hoop on the rim to make it easier for the younger kids to score. Each time a team scores it counts as two points and first team to twelve wins the game.

supplies: basketball and hula hoop

– Split group into two teams

– Place a hula hoop around the basketball rim.

– To get a point a player from each team must shoot the basketball through the hula hoop.

– Each player can only dribble twice and must stop to pass the ball without moving.

– After the two dribbles the player with the ball only has three seconds to pass the ball/shoot it or else it gets turned over to the other team.

– Each point that is scored counts as two points. First team to twelve points wins the game.


supplies: a ball

Group ball takes a team effort to create a circle for their teammate to run around and to create a straight line for their team to pass the ball to each other. The objective is for the player that is throwing the ball to throw it away


from the other team while he/she runs circles around his/her team. The further the ball goes from the team the more time he/she has to run around the teams circle.

– Split group into two teams and one team goes to the left side of the court and the other goes the rights side of the court

– One player must throw a ball to the other teams side in any direction.

– After the one player throws the ball they must form a tight circle and the player who threw the ball has to run around the circle as many times as possible before the other team says stop.

– Each circle the he/she runs counts as one point.

– Team two must retrieve the ball, make a straight line, and passing the ball over their head to the back of the line then back to the front of the line until the person at the front of the line gets the ball.

– Once the person at the front of the line gets the ball he/she must yell stop.

– At that point the person running around the circle must stop and with the help of his team he count how many times he/she ran around the person.

– The team with the most points within three tries wins the game.


supplies: ball, cones, dickies or another way to tell the teams apart

The game is played similar to touch or flag football. With older students they enjoy using a football but younger students are better with a 6” or 8” soft ball. The object of the game is to go from one end zone to the other without the ball touching the ground. If the ball is dropped the other team goes the other direction with it. When your team has the ball you can run with it, throw it(forward or backward), and as long as you aren’t tagged you can throw it as your running. When your on defense you try to intercept or knock down the ball. If you intercept it you can run towards your end zone, and if you knock it down then your team gets the ball right there. When you are tagged you have to stop running and throw the ball from that spot. The team has four tries to make it half the length of the field or it is turned over to the other team.

tips: Use a regular football field with our older students and we play sideways on our field with the younger students.


supplies: balloons

Organize players (small to large groups) so that they’re into pairs and each team receives a partially inflated balloon.

When the game starts, teams must race to a finish line carrying a balloon between their heads, remember don’t use your hands. On hot days try it with water balloons or through a sprinkler. You can even try an obstacle course.


supplies: six sand pails marked with a number 1-6, sidewalk chalk, 7-8 ping pong balls, small prizes

– Line up cones in order from 1-6.

– Give each child two extra balls to throw.

– Instruct them to start at bucket number one and then when they get it in, move to the next bucket.

– According to the highest number they were able to get a ping pong ball successfully in, determines which prize box to select their prize



Form two groups for this relay race. Have all the players line up with a banana on a string dangling from their waists and almost touching the ground. As the whistle blows, the first two try to hit a ping-pong ball with the banana, hands-free, to a finish line (about 15 to 20 feet away from the start). The first to the line is the winner.


supplies: three bases, two cones, appropriate ball

objective: To defend space. To score points.

The teams set up their own playing space, with home plate, first base and the two cones placed approximately where second and third base would be. At first base, there are two bases, one for the runner and one for the catcher. Defense sets up with one player at first and the other two players covering the space between the two cones. The thrower must throw the ball so that it bounces in front of the cones and passes between the cones.

If the runner can get to first base before the defense can field the ball and throw to first base, the runner scores a point. Each player on the offensive team gets three tries before the teams switch. The defensive players switch positions every second try. Adjust the distance between home and first to make the game playable for all players.


supplies: kickball and four bases

Divide the group in to two teams (10 to 12 per team). The object is for the kicker on one team to kick the ball and run around the bases as many times as possible before the other team in the field stops the kicker. The ball can be kicked in any direction within bounds. The fielders are scattered throughout the playing area until the ball is kicked. After the kick, they quickly form a line behind the person who retrieved the ball and pass it over and under to the last person in line, who then yells, “STOP”! The fielding team attempts to pass the ball to this last person as fast as possible in order to stop the kicker from moving around the bases. One point is scored for each base touched by the kicker. After everyone has kicked on one team, all the points are added together, and the team change sides. Repeat the process with the new kicking team.


This game is just like normal volleyball, but each team is given a blanket. The team should stand around the edge of the blanket, stretching it out so it is tight. The ‘serving’ team should start by placing the ball on the blanket, loosening then bringing it tight so it ‘throws’ the ball over the net. The other team then uses their blanket to catch the ball then throw it back.


supplies: empty boxes (one per team), one ball per team

Students will shoot the ball into the box for points.

– Divide students into four teams on one side of the area you are playing in and assign them a box.


– Place their box at half court.

– Using the different lines on the gym floor or use jump ropes to establish distances markers.

– Each line will be worth different points, the farther away they shoot from, the more points they would get.

– Each student will choose what line they want to shoot from, shoot the ball and then go to the end of their line, and the next student goes.

– Students will keep track of how many points they accumulate.


Make a trivia game where the student gets to shoot for points when they answer a question for their team correctly.

Have students try to bounce the ball into their basket instead of throwing it.

Play a round with only trick shots: between the legs, over their head with their back to the “basket”, etc.


supplies: one beach ball

– Students will form two teams.

– One team will start at the back lines on each side of the gym.

– Place the beach ball in the center of the gym.

– When the staff says go, students will play soccer but will scoot on their bottoms to move (like caterpillars) and use their feet to kick the beach ball.

– Students cannot use their hands to hit the ball and cannot crawl.

– The beach ball will be used in place of a soccer ball.

– To make a goal each team will kick the beach ball past the back line on the opponent’s side of the gym.

Variation: When a team makes a goal the team will act out a stage of the caterpillar life cycle (for example:

First goal- Egg, Second goal- Caterpillar, Third goal- Cocoon (Chrysalis), Fourth goal- Butterfly). Once the team reaches a butterfly they have won the game.


supplies: three cones and a kickball

Safety Factors to Consider: Make sure that the students pay attention to the game. Students cannot be in front of the pitcher. They have to be behind him/her at all times. Students need to spread out in the outfield.

Students have to call it or say mine if they attempt to catch a ball.

– The students will split up equally into 2 different groups. One group will be the kickers and the other group will be in the outfield.

– The kicking group lines up in a nice neat line out of the kickers way. The outfield spreads out far away from each other. The stand behind the pitcher for safety purposes.

– There will be three cones in the outfield. If the student that is batting kicks it past the first cone, its one point.

If he/she kicks it past the second cone it’s two points. If he/she kicks it past the third it’s three points.

– The student that is batting/kicking does not have to run bases. To score points, kick it past the cones.

– If the outfield catches the ball in the air when kicked it’s an automatic out.

– Once the outfield team catches three pop flies it’s the same as getting three outs then it’s the outfields turn to bat.

– The first team to score 25 points wins the game.



supplies: large red whiffle ball bat and large whiffle ball

– Split the teams up into two equal (if possible) groups in a non-traditional manner. (Picking teams is boring.)

– Select one team to be in the field and the other to bat first.

– The team who is batting (Team A) first picks three players who will take turns batting.

– The team who is in the field (team B) spreads out to get the batted ball as quickly as possible.

Sounds a lot like regular baseball so far, right? Here’s where the twist comes in.

When the first batter from team A steps up the the plate, the rest of his/her team forms as tight of a standing circle as possible safely behind the batter. When the batter hits the ball they score a “run” every time they complete a full circle around their tightly grouped teammates. The team counts the runs out loud as the batter circles them. Team B gets the batter “out” by retrieving the batted ball, quickly forming a line, and passing the ball backwards between each individuals legs to each and every member of Team

B. When the last person on Team B receives the ball the team yells “stop” (or something more creative and silly). Team A is credited with as many runs as times the first batter circled the group. You do this three times for Team A and then Team B gets a turn to match Team A’s run total with three batters of their own.

Try to play enough “rounds” to ensure that everyone has a chance to be a batter at least once.

This is a fun game that gets your kids close (literally) and allows everyone to play, regardless of skill level at baseball.

Variations: This game can be played with a water balloon launcher and a rubber chicken as well to add the “silly” factor, but generally the ball and bat are used to work on gross motor skills in a far less competitive environment.


supplies: lots of bowling pins—real or plastic, up to twenty per team, lots of soft balls such as gator skins

Divide the group and the gym in half. Set an equal number of pins on each team’s back line. Teams must stay on their own side when playing. The object of the game is to roll or throw the balls and knock down the opponent’s pins. The opponents can block or stop your throws any way possible. No player is ever knocked out of the game. Once a pin is knocked down it stays down. The first team to knock down all the pins is the winner. OR...Once a pin is knocked down it stays down until the teacher gives the “Thumbs-Up” signal. At this time each side quickly attempts to set up all their pins before she gives the “Thumbs-Down” signal and the game resumes. This is the never-ending version.

Important! this game prevents the child from being the “target.”


Try to keep the beach ball in the air as long as possible by hitting the ball one at a time (no double hits). As a group; make goals such as “We will keep the beach ball in the air for twenty hits and only five touches on the ground.” For an extra challenge, start counting after everyone has touched it once.



– Place (3) pins on each side.

– Use 3 – 5 balls.

– Divide into (2) teams. Each team uses the same numbers.

– When your number is called the person from each team with that number participates.

– The object of the game is to get all your opponents out OR knock down the opposing teams pins.

– If everyone on the opposing team is out you get (3) chances to knock down their pins, which is worth one point.

– Every round you could win up to 2 points.

– The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.


Outdoor Games – Scavenger Hunts


Prior to youth’s arrival take a variety of pictures of your outside location. They can be close-ups/abstract photos of playground equipment, trees, or anything that won’t move before youth participate in the activity. Print out the photos and pass them out to youth. They can either tape them to the correct location or write a description of what the photo is and where it is located and return it to staff for credit. Youth can either be split into teams and given identical photos and or photos can be split into the groups so that there aren’t identical photos to be identified.

• A-Z Outdoors

supplies: pen, pencil, or marker, lined paper, clipboard or something to write on

objective: Encourage children to write/spell and explore the outdoors

Ask the children to write their alphabet down the side of their piece of paper (one letter per line). Ask the children to look around and see what they can find that starts with each letter of the alphabet, have them write it down. (Ex. – A = ants, B = Boy, C = cut grass). Give children hints if they need assistance and encourage them to be creative, especially for those tricky letters. Review their lists with them.

Variations: For younger children encourage them to work in groups, or pair them with an older child who can be the writer. For older children you can incorporate a point system, and/or have them cross off answers that others have as well.


We buy some beans at the grocery store and spray paint them gold, then scatter them around the areas. Then we send them off to find the “gold.” When they return we count, graph, and compare sizes. And of course there is always a prize and popsicles!


Multiply the number of steps on the slide by your age. Add fifty. Subtract the number of trees on the north side of the park.

Divide that by the number of girls in the class today. Continue the game using items and places around the playground.


Give paint chip samples to each player or a team. Players have a set amount of time, usually ten minutes, to find something that matches their paint chip. Have a big sheet of paper to have them tape their nature sample and the color chip together. Work in teams to find items which are difficult to match.


Each participant lies on the ground and is traced (try to get the length from top of head to tip of toe as accurate as possible). Then everyone goes on a scavenger hunt to collect the correct number of things that make up the length of the person. For example, how many daisies, lined tip to tip, does it take to be the same length as the


outline? “I am 12 daisies tall!” How many balls, lying next to each other, does it take to be the same length as the outline? Or, fill the outline…how many leaves does it take to fill in? How many scoops of grass clippings can fit in the outline?

This is a fun compare and contrast game and allows much creativity. After the collection of the compare and contrast, you can again use the items to decorate. The daisies become eyes, twigs become fingers, etc.


supplies: various dress up items (the funnier, the better!).

Set up just like a normal scavenger hunt with clues at each destination around the playground or school (at least

2 routes, so teams aren’t just following each other). Each team will select one player to be captain and do as the clues say. Each destination will have an item that the captain will need to wear. Great examples to keep it fun are

BillyBob teeth, wigs, gigantic sunglasses, etc. The first team done wins.


We like to do scavenger hunts with our kids at one of our area parks during our summer day camp. We use whatever theme we have chosen for our camp and have them find clues to pick up items that go along with the theme. This summer it is “Building” so they will be looking for things that they could use to build with or birds could use to build a nest, etc. After being at the conference(my first one by the way and I really liked it!) and stopping by many tables that had things to use to get the kids moving this summer some of the directions will tell them to stop and do 10 jumping jacks, for example, then proceed to the next clue.


Bunny Munny Shopping: Who doesn’t like shopping? Hide ‘Bunny Munny’ (fake money) in several of the plastic eggs to buy things at the Bunny Emporium. Pick up several fun Easter trinkets at the dollar store or things that appeal to your children (toys, movies, books) price them at different price points and have your children shop with their money.

color hunt: Assign hunters a particular color(s) to find on their hunt. This is especially good when hunting with mixed ages, as it allows the younger children a chance to find an equal amount of eggs.

easter egg Checklist: Give each hunter a list of what particular eggs they are supposed to find. “4 yellow eggs, 3 purple eggs, 1 golden egg, etc. This turns into a true hunt and you will find the kids end up helping each other out.

scavenger hunt: With a little bit of pre-work, this will be a favorite! Put clues to find each consecutive egg in the plastic eggs hidden throughout the entire house and have their ultimate find be their Easter baskets.

Yes some of these are designed for homes! But kids love Easter egg hunting! They will ask to take turns hiding the eggs and having the other kids find them! They do this all year round! You could even do these activities with other objects like shamrocks for St Patrick’s day or flags for fourth of July!


Outdoor Games – Nature


Each child is assigned and animal. They practice being the animal such as a black bear, white tailed deer, squirrel, robin, or gopher. They are to move at the speed of their animal. The object of the game is to see how seeds spread.

Once each child practices how fast they are, move outside and give each child a colorful plastic egg. For five seconds they are to run at the speed of their animal. When you blow the whistle at the end of five seconds they are to freeze and drop their egg. Repeat the activity three times then gather the children to observe how many eggs are spread around the space and discuss that seeds spread in the same way.


The seeker has to stay in one place and all the rest of the kids have to hide but they must be able to see the seeker.

This keeps the kids at a safe distance and teaches them how to hide themselves but still be able to see something. As each person is found they come to the center where the seeker is. Depending on the age of the students, have those that have been found, help find the rest of the children or not. The last person found gets to be the seeker.

You can also adapt freeze tag to show what could happen to birds on migration. Make labels like, cell tower, power lines, wind turbines, sky scrapers, storms, wind, hurricane, tornado etc. The people with labels that are stationary things have to stay still but can tag any “birds” that fly by and those birds have to stop and sit down because they

“died.” The power lines are tricky because you have two of them and if the birds fly between them they have to stop but only if the power line kids call their names, this is representative of the fact that they can fly through them but still some get hurt. The children that have things that move as labels send the birds back to the start because storms and wind can blow them off course and make their flights longer. Hurricanes and tornados can kill birds so they can freeze the kids they touch.

This game is really adaptable because you can change the goals, where the birds have to fly to and from; you can change how many man-made objects are in the way and how many natural things are in the way. Show what it is like to fly through a city or through the country. It is a lot of fun and the kids learn about migration.


supplies: one bell and one blindfold for each child

Define the play area and clear of obstacles. Choose one child as the predator. The predator is blindfolded and a bell is attached to his clothing. The other children pair up and decide on what animal each pair would like to be and what sound they will use. All campers are blindfolded and the group is spread out with the predator placed in the middle of the play area. Each animal tries to find their partner by the sounds they make before the predator touches them. Once a pair has found each other they take the blindfolds off and walk off the field. If the predator touches an animal before it finds its partner, the animal must take its blindfold off and walk off the play area. All animals walk, don’t run. The game ends when the animals pair up or the predator finds the animals and is left alone on the play area. Sometimes a time limit of 10 minutes is helpful. Discussion can follow about how animals in the wild might feel as they are threatened and look for safety.


supplies: one bandana or long (two feet) strip of material for each student


say (5 minutes): You are going to become a brand new creature! You are a mouse from the belly button down.

The bandana represents your tail. You are hungry, so you are searching the area for food. The pasta I’m going to spread out on the ground represents the seeds you eat as food. When I say go, run around and collect as much

“food” as you can put into your “stomach” (paper bag). However, from the belly button up, you are going to be an hawk. You are hungry, so you are searching the area for food. You are a predator and the mice are your prey.

If you see a mouse, grab their tail (bandana). In our game, pulling a mouse’s tail off will mean you “ate” them. If your tail gets pulled off, you are dead and must sit down! Your goal in this game is to eat, but not get eaten!

Play (15 minutes): Play the game several times.

discuss (15 minutes):

– Did you use energy to play this game?

– How did you use energy? (Running to look for food, running to catch food if you were an “hawk,” running to escape the predator if you were a “mouse,” using energy to defend yourself, protect yourself, survive!)

– Did any mice or hawks spend so much time running around that they didn’t eat anything? What would happen to them in real life? (They would use up all their energy and then die from starvation.)

– How might an animal search for food without using a lot of energy? Or, can you think of an animal that might stay still/conserve energy while looking for food?

• Animals that stalk their food rather than chase it quickly like cats or canines.

• Hawks or Owls that sit in high perches and look down over their prey’s habitats.

• Angler Fish (like in Finding Nemo) or Snapping Turtles that sit still and lure their prey closer.

• Rattlesnakes find scent trails left by foraging mice and then wait until they can ambush the mice. On the other hand, black rat snakes are constantly on the move hunting for their prey.

Variation: You can choose to have “mice” collect pasta in paper bags. Then, you need paper bags for half the group and a package of large easy to see and collect pasta such as bowties.


supplies: graph paper or small white board

– Mark two parallel lines on the ground 10 to 20 yards a part. These can be marked using camper backpacks.

– Ask campers to count off in fours. The “# 1”s become the “deer” and line up behind one line with their backs to the other kids. The other campers (#2, #3, and #4 s) become habitat components necessary to survive (food, water, and shelter) and line up behind the other line with their backs to the “deer”.

– Explain that the deer need to find food, water, and shelter in order to survive in their environment. If they do not then they will die.

– Explain game rules:

In this activity when the “deer” is looking for food, it should clamp its hands over its stomach. When a “deer” is looking for water, it should put its hand over its mouth. When a “deer” is looking for shelter, it holds its hands together over its head.

A “deer” can choose to look for any one of its needs during each round of the activity. Emphasize that the “deer” cannot change what it is looking for during a round. It can only change what is looking for at the beginning of each round. If you see that “deer” are changing their minds while running, vote yourself a hunter or other “game management” ranger and sit the

“misbehaving deer” on the sidelines for a bit.

The other campers are the food, water, and shelter. Campers get to choose what they want to be at the beginning of the round. They show their choice in the same way as the “deer” have. Emphasize to these campers that they cannot change what


component they are during a round. They can only change at the beginning of each round. Again, if campers are changing their “signs” to match what the deer want, sit them out for a bit.

The leader should begin the first round by asking all campers to practice making their signs—hand over stomach, mouth, or head. Emphasize that campers should choose one of these symbols before turning around to face the other group.

Explain that every time you yell “GO!”--each “deer” and each “habitat component” will turn to face the opposite group while continuing to hold their sign clearly. When the “deer” see the “habitat component” that matches what they need, they are to run to it. Each “deer” must hold the sign of what it is looking for until getting o the matching “habitat component.”

Once the “deer” find their correct component they should take it back to their line, and the “habitat component” becomes a “deer”. Any “deer” who fails to find its “habitat component” dies becomes a “habitat component” on the other side and becomes available as food, water, or shelter to the “deer” who are still alive. “Habitat components” not taken by a “deer” continue to be “habitat components”.

Yell Go! The activity should consist of 12-15 rounds. After at least 10 rounds, you can give certain rounds additional “real life” flavor by secretly telling the “habitat component” side not to make:

The water sign---because there is a drought.

Any signs---because the natural area was developed and turned into a shopping mall.

The leader records the number of “deer” at the beginning of the activity and at the end of each round so that campers can graph the results in the field on a piece of paper or on a portable white board.

discuss (10 minutes)

– What caused the increase of “deer” during the activity? (more resources = more deer)

– What caused the decrease of “deer” during the activity? (less resources = less deer, so a large number of deer in one round means that there will be more deer deaths in subsequent rounds. Every habitat has what is known as a “carrying capacity” or maximum # of animals that the available resources can sustain before the resources run out and the animals begin to starve to death.)

– How can the deer population be kept in check? Predators that eat deer could be introduced. Were these predators at Valley Forge (or in the area where you live) before? What would happen if they were reintroduced?

What other controls are there? Hunters, Birth Control for deer. What about the native plant life? Is it affected by “too many” deer? Yes! High fences are put up in some areas to help restore native vegetation that has been nearly wiped out due to overgrazing by overpopulated deer (Another issue is that if deer overgraze the native vegetation, invasive plants have an easier time establishing a stronghold on the habitat). Deer, people, and cars are injured/damaged or killed/destroyed by deer trying to cross the roads that cut through their habitat.


say: Having “sharp eyes” or good eyesight might help an animal get food (energy) while conserving energy (by staying still); it might also help them survive becoming someone else’s food! We are going to play a game now to test how sharp your eyes are:

– Have the group study you for 30 seconds to one minute.

– Tell them that you are going to leave the room or go behind a tree for a few seconds and change one thing about yourself. When you come back the group will have 30 seconds to study you and then the group will have three chances to guess what you changed.

– When you go behind a tree/to a different room, change yourself in a semi-obvious way by untying one shoelace, or pushing up one sleeve, or sticking a pencil in your hair.

– After the group figures it out, you can either keep playing with different people in the group, or end it after the first round!


This game can also be extended on the trail if one counselor walks ahead of the group and places “unnatural” objects (such as a stuffed animal in a tree, pencils stuck into the ground, or other such objects that do not harm the plant life) alongside the trail. Campers walk silently along the trail one at a time (30 seconds to 1 minute apart) and then once everyone has completed the “sharp eyes” challenge—the campers list the things they saw and then retrace their steps in order to collect all of the objects


first time: Leader is a coyote. Group members are rabbits. (Alternative: Substitute predator/prey species common in the area where you live). Explain that when the leader yells, “Camouflage!” it means that the

“coyote” has “walked into a clearing and spotted all the rabbits.” The coyote will close his/her eyes and count down from 10 to 0. In those 10 seconds, the rabbits must scatter and hide themselves as best as they can, trying to blend into their surroundings. Important Rule: Ask group what would happen in real life if a rabbit hid behind a tree but did not keep at least one eye on the predator, the coyote? Answer: The coyote might sneak up and pounce on the rabbit. Therefore, each rabbit must keep at least one eye on the coyote while they are hiding. The coyote must stay in his or her place. S/he is allowed to pivot on one foot. S/he calls out the name or describes the clothing/location of the “rabbit” s/he sees. If a “rabbit” is found, s/he must come and sit down next to the coyote b/c that means s/he has been eaten.

second time: Play again. Challenge the group to see who can hide the closest to the predator without being seen. This rabbit “wins” b/c they used the least amount of energy to hide and survived being eaten!

Third Time: This time the leader is the “rabbit.” The group members are hungry coyotes who are stalking the rabbit in the middle of a cold, cold, winter. When the leader yells, “Camouflage!” it means that the coyotes must find hiding places from where they can stalk the rabbit. The leader will count down from 10 as usual. Ask group what would happen in real life if a rabbit saw, heard, or smelled a coyote nearby? Answer:

The rabbit would run away or hide! Ask group if it is still important for the coyote to keep one eye on his/ her prey, the rabbit? Answer: Yes! The predator must always keep at least one eye on the prey to make sure the prey doesn’t run away! Explain that this time, if the leader spots a camouflaged coyote, it will mean that the

“coyote” has starved to death because it used up all of its energy keeping warm and trying to stalk the rabbit. New

Rule: After two minutes of searching, the rabbit will yell, “I’m eating!” and close his/her eyes and count down for another 10 seconds. Coyotes will have a chance to stalk closer and try and tag the rabbit, meaning they pounced on it and ate it!

Variation: This round can also be played without actually hiding. In this round, the coyotes must remain

absolutely still. If they move, the rabbit would sense their presence and “run away.” Playing this way can really emphasize how important it is for animals to move quickly, but also stealthily!

tips: Make sure to set clear boundaries. (Only counting down from ten is another good way to enforce boundaries.) Make sure to examine area for poison ivy and make sure all campers can identify poison ivy for you before you play. Do not play in meadow areas where ground-nesting birds could be found. This game could destroy the nests of these birds! Explain all rules before yelling “Camouflage!”


supplies: one bandana or blindfold


– Have group stand or sit in a circle. Explain that one person will be chosen to be the “coyote.” Ask group what a coyote eats? Answers: small mammals such as rabbits, mice, and moles; occasionally large insects such as grasshoppers; nuts/berries. Ask group how a coyote might find small mammals in wintertime when snow covers the ground? Would the coyote need to use senses other than his/her sight?

– Explain that because a coyote must also use his/her sense of hearing/smell in order to hunt, in this game the person chosen to be the coyote will be blindfolded!

– The rest of the group will be mice that are trying to cross a large snowy meadow looking for seeds to eat. Mice can only move when the leader taps them on the back.

– If the coyote thinks s/he hears/smells a mouse crossing the field, s/he must point at the mouse. The leader will say whether or not s/he is correct.

– If you want, you may set up some sort of rules such as “Coyotes need to eat at least one mouse in order to survive, but they only get four chances to hunt today because of the blizzard like conditions.” It depends on your time, the age of the group, and the message you are trying to convey!

• Tip #1: Choose two mice that are across the circle from one another to go at the same time. This way, the mice have somewhere to move to without the circle having to shift and make a lot of noise!

• Tip #2: If the mice in the circle are making too much noise, “pounce” on them yourself and explain that even though mice snug in an underground den or hollow log might seem safe, coyotes and fox might hear them squeaking and dig them up!

tips: This game can be played indoors or out. If it is a hot day, the “coyote” can have a water gun or spray bottle to shoot at the “rabbits” with instead of pointing. In this case, make a rule about spraying once and then again…or else the coyote will just let loose spraying in all directions, which is not the “educational goal” of this game.


Share your name and “where” you are from in the following way—

– Stand in a circle,

– Ask the first the question and have everyone in the circle go around and share their answers before moving on to the next question.


– What is your name?

– What street do you live on?

– What town do you live in?

– Have you always lived there?

– Have your parents always lived in this town? If no, where else have they lived?

– Do your grandparents live in Pennsylvania? Where do they live?

– What is the furthest place you have ever been? How did you get there?

– Last question: How far has your t-shirt traveled to be with us today? It wasn’t always at your house. How did it get here? Do you know what store it came from? What is it made out of? Examine the tag of your t-shirt.

Where do those products come from? (Cotton from the cotton plants; Spandex, nylon, polyester, etc. all ultimately come from petroleum based products which can be simplified into “fossil fuels”—dead dinosaurs and plants from millions of years ago.) Where was your t-shirt made? (What country?) Whose t-shirt has traveled the farthest?



supplies: Camper’s snack. Area where the public are not likely to stumble across the “trail.” Area where assistant counselor can wait to make sure animals do not find the snack. Area close by group location. Area where “trail” can be safely cleaned up so the group truly “leaves no trace!”

– Before you play, an instructor should have previously hidden the group’s lunches or a snack for the entire group.

– The instructor should leave a trail for this snack with pasta. You can hide everything in the same place and use one trail of pasta, or you can divide up the snacks/lunches and hide them in different places using different types of pasta as trails.

• Give group (or groups) an example of the type of pasta “track” that they should be on the hunt for. See if they can follow the “trail” and “track” down their snacks/lunches.

• Ask group whether they would rather hunt for food during the spring/summer or the fall/winter? Ask them why they think that one season might be easier than the other? (There are many different answers to this question!)


Outdoor Games – Bikes


Kids love to ride and fix bikes. Here are some of the benefits of including bikes in a summer curriculum for kids age six and up, and some strategies.

Why include bicycles in a summer school age care curriculum? The main reason is fun! The pleasure of riding a bicycle is like nothing else. “Free play” riding time, given a designated area and time, is as important to school agers as the trikes are to a preschool program.

Working on bikes is also a popular activity. The use of tools develops self-sufficiency, responsibility and confidence as children do it themselves. Their understanding of cause and effect grows as they observe wheels and tires, chains and sprockets, nuts and bolts, cables and levers, bearings and brakes. As they play and work, they are also developing sharing skills and the beginnings of good driving habits.

A third reason for bikes as curriculum is continuity. All these benefits will last all summer. In addition to the day-to-day riding of bikes, raising or lowering of seats and handlebars, and pumping-up of tires, long-term projects can be planned such as a complete overhaul or a paint job. When kids look back on their summer, these will be great memories.

What will you need to get started? Probably the most important thing is staff enthusiasm. If a teacher rides her bike to work, she will be well prepared to lead a group of riders and will speak from a position of experience. A staff person need not be an accomplished mechanic, but must not be afraid to get her hands dirty.

You will need some bikes. You will need places to ride, repair, and store bikes: an area of park or playground free from pedestrians; a classroom area where parts can remain overnight undisturbed; a secure place to park bikes overnight; a place to park them over the winter, such as the Director’s basement.

Nearly all school age kids can learn to ride a 20” bike, and that should be your basic size. (This is the bike’s tire size: it will say 20x1.75 or 20x 2.125 on the side of the tire.) It is handy to limit your fleet to only a couple of standard sizes, so that parts will be more interchangeable.

The world is full of old bikes you can use. Ask parents and friends. Put up signs in the day care center and the supermarket. Look in your garage. If necessary, put an ad in the paper or go to garage sales or auctions. Start with bikes that work. Minor maintenance and adjustment will be necessary on bikes that will be rideable today, and won’t frustrate kids’ desire to get out and go. Later, you will enjoy projects that require more patience. Gears and hand brakes (and their cables) are more difficult to use and to maintain, so you may prefer to stick to coaster brake bikes. Once you start to accumulate a fleet, use parts from the worst ones to fix the newest. The simplest kind of repair is to remove a damaged component and replace it with one that works.

Don’t budget any money for professional repairs; fixing it yourself is part of the fun. But do spend what you must to be sure you have the right tools: wrenches, pump, screwdrivers, tire spoons, groove-joint pliers at minimum. Beg or borrow, buy if you must, but the right tools are a high priority. Flat tires will occasionally be a problem. If possible, have a new inner tube in reserve.

One of the best things about salvaging “broken” bikes is being able to work on them without fear. If all goes well, you’ll have another bike for the fleet. If not, no harm done. You can also take apart a junker to find out how it works, with no pressure to reassemble it. You can turn kids loose with wrenches and throw all the resulting pieces in a box. This is a good rainy day activity: kids about age eight and up will sharpen concrete skills, while the early primary ages may find it an exercise in fantasy.

Talk to a local bike shop. Ask for permission to bring the kids to visit, and explain that you will be operating on a shoestring. A friendly dealer will be glad to show potential young customers around, and may have quite a lot to offer including free used parts or a discount on new parts, tires and tubes, and tools. Your bike shop will give advice, too. They answer all kinds of questions every day, and they know the right tool for every job. Be sure to acknowledge your dealer publicly in your newsletter, etc. and give the shop all the support you can.

Your program will enjoy having bikes even if maintenance isn’t part of the curriculum, but you’ll have to be


prepared to do a certain amount. If the staff person in charge isn’t already familiar with (at least) tires, tubes and handlebar and seat adjustments, she should visit the library or bookstore and get a book on bicycle maintenance.

There are some good books, and the kids will see a concrete example of what literacy is good for. Include a “fix bikes” unit on your weekly calendar. Schedule a time, a staff person and space. Examine bikes and assign jobs: two kids to pump up a tire, two kids to lower a seat, etc. Teamwork is a benefit in itself.

There is always some frustration involved in trying to get your way with inanimate objects. That’s OK. Please remember that kids will benefit from seeing how adults can learn and master new skills. Perseverance will be rewarded.

Always check children’s work (and your own) to make sure everything is tight and safe before allowing a child to ride.

Besides fun and learning, bikes provide school age kids with excellent transportation. Your bike hike/field trip opportunities will depend on the locality and lots of other factors, but it may be possible to visit all kinds of places that would otherwise be inaccessible. Safe bikes, safe riders, and safe routes are all prerequisite. If your neighborhood does not allow for safe riding, you may be able to walk your bikes to a playground or park.

We require that every rider wear a helmet. It is best to be on the safe side, because head injuries can be lifethreatening; and like other good habits wearing a helmet is easier learned young. There are some low-cost helmet programs (for group purchase under $8.00 each, see www.prorider.com/cns). Each rider needs to have an individual, correctly fitted helmet. Staff too...

Practice riding in a parking lot. Place a couple of cones to go around single file. See who has accomplished skills and who can’t work the brakes. As noted previously, this activity is as developmentally appropriate as tricycle time is for preschoolers. For the more advanced riders, a lot of happy time can be spent learning to mount and dismount by standing on one pedal and swinging the other leg over, “jumping” over a stick on the pavement, or weaving through cones.

The use of bikes on public streets calls for classroom study of traffic rules and safe driving habits. Safety considerations for cyclists begin with a discussion of general safety attitudes; you might combine this with a visit from a policeman. You can also set up a license exam for safe riders using verbal questions and a simple obstacle course. We have a ten-question test that takes some study and lets kids know how serious driving is, and a driving test that includes hand signals and starting and stopping. We issue licenses and make everyone renew them annually; those who can’t pass both tests can only ride on our practice course in the parking lot. Veteran kids buy into this process completely and model it for the younger ones. We have had good success discouraging careless or reckless riding by suspending violators’ privileges for one ride. Although our state permits bicyclists to act either as pedestrians or as vehicles, we ride in the street when it is safe, and are prepared to walk our bikes when we must take to the sidewalk. We emphasize that we are vehicles, not pedestrians. Kids buy into this process completely, too.

For any excursion off the premises, only those who have been licensed and have written parental permission should go. The group must travel single file with adults first and last in line. At stop lights or signs, the back adult should come forward and act as a crossing guard while the leader proceeds.

There’s a very successful tool to help kids who haven’t mastered the two-wheeler learn how to ride. It’s called the sidewalk scooter. A scooter is a great way to learn the skills of balancing and steering without having to climb on or pedal. A gentle slope to coast down makes it even better. After a week or two of practicing with a scooter, many kids (adults too!) discover that they know how to keep a bike right side up.

I’m happy to answer questions or elaborate on all of this. You can email me at [email protected]

By Ken Rodd, Children’s Learning Center, DeKalb, IL




Choose your playing field and spread hula hoops around. Have everyone mingle. When the time is called everyone puts one foot into a hula hoop as fast as they can. Make sure you have less hula hoops than people. Have a minimum of three people per hoop. Find something in common. Raise hands in a partner pyramid above your heads when you have found a commonality, such as “We all like to eat ice cream.” Report to larger group your commonality. Switch. Make sure you do not have the same people in your hoop again (try to meet new people).


While two facilitators turn long rope, participants must get from one side of the rope (river) to the other running under the rope as it swings. The first time participants must go with a partner, then in small groups, then the entire group. An additional challenge would be for the group to go through the rope individually or in teams without missing a beat/swing of the rope. You can also send participants through with a secret pattern. It is up to the participants to figure it out by trial and error. An example would be three people go through, then two people, then one person and the pattern repeats 3-2-1.


Ro Sham Bo games are a great base for larger, more active games like Bear, Ninja, Cowboy or Elves, Giants,

Wizards. To fit a Pirate theme a few summers back, we started playing Hook, Fin, Cannon Ball. There are three hand signs in the game. The first, the Hook, is a player’s pointer finger curled up into an “R” shape, other fingers tucked in. The second hand sign is the Fin, made by simply holding up one hand, all fingers straight and pointed up, like a shark’s dorsal fin. The third hand sign is a Cannon Ball (you can forgive the reference to this “weapon” during Pirate week), which is just like the “Rock” in Rock, Paper, Scissors- simply a hand with all fingers curled into a fist. The order goes something like this: Hook beats Fin. Fin beats Cannon Ball. Cannon Ball beats Hook.

Groups can add variations to this simple idea by dividing into two teams and against each other. In this active variation, two teams gather on either side of a center neutral line. In a (sometimes) quiet team huddle, each team secretly decides on one hand sign that the entire team will be, together. When both teams have reached a secret decision, the two teams approach the center line, in two face-to-face lines. On the count of three, all members from both teams show their chosen hand sign (remember all players on a team are showing the same hand sign).

Whichever team loses must run back to their “Safe Zone” before being tagged by members of the winning team.

Anyone who is tagged is forfeited to the winning team as a spoil of war. In event of a tie, everyone just laughs and goes back to their team huddle to decide on a new sign. The game plays on until one team has absorbed all players or it is time for a transition.


supplies: open space, two jump ropes, 3-5 frisbees/bases/carpet squares per team

– Designate a river: The river should be at least ten feet across. Jump ropes work well to mark the two banks.

– Divide the group into team of 4-8 players. Each team will need 3-5 “rafts.” A raft is something that the players can safely stand on such as a carpet square, plastic base, frisbee or similar item. Indoors a piece of construction paper will do, but something more durable is recommended. Players should not have enough rafts for everyone on their team. A team of 4-5 players should get three rafts. A team of 7-8 players should get five rafts.



– Your team needs to get across the river. As you are crossing the river, you can only stand on a raft. If you step off a raft, it will float down river and your team loses it – so be sure to hold onto your rafts. This is a race, but you can only win if everyone on your team is across the river. If you leave some teammates on the other bank, or stranded in the river, you can’t win. Work together.

– If you are leading the game encourage communication and teamwork. Remind teams if they begin to leave players behind. Watch the rafts, if a raft is floating in the river with no one holding onto it or standing on it, take it away (it floats away). Make the first time you take a raft very obvious. This forces teams to plan and work together. It is okay for two players to have a foot on one raft at the same time. If teams are struggling, try suggesting this.

Variation (for younger players): Young players struggle with planning ahead and often lose their rafts. If

a team has lost most of their rafts in the river, you can give one or two lost rafts back to teammates that are still on the riverbank – this really changes the dynamic and can encourage new ideas.

teambuilding: River Crossing can be played just for fun. But it can also be a team building activity. To make this a team building activity, take time to talk with the players after the game about what worked and didn’t work for their team. Did they have a plan? Did everyone on the team understand the plan? How could they communicate better as a team? What are other times in life when it is important to have a plan and communicate? Do they like it when they understand the plan at school or in their family? If time allows, and teams want to play again, have one more round after your discussion and recognize teams when their performance improves.


Make a twister board 4 times larger outside using a template and spray paint (can get paint that will not harm grass from specialty stores like Sherwin Williams). You can make the board as large as you need. By making a simple circle template from cardboard you can make your grid with ease. Bump up the challenge and make it a math problem for students to figure out the dimensions of the board, space between each circle, diameter of the circle, etc. You can have staff or students make the outside Twister board. Make a homemade spinner and you’re ready to play this new improved game of Twister that will accommodate any size of crowd.


supplies: ten hula hoops, balloons, helium, golf tees and permanent markers

set up: Using a permanent marker, write a numerical value (10 – 500) on each balloon. Inflate the balloon using helium and tie each balloon with string or ribbon. Attach the string to a golf tee and strategically place the golf tees with the attached balloon in an open area outside.

Students will use the hula hoops to toss around the balloons to acquire points and the student with the most points at the end of each round is the winner. Points are calculated by adding the numerical value of each balloon the student successfully throws the hula hoop around.


supplies: ziploc bags (one bag per two students), index cards (two cards per student)


Students will dance around and freeze to the music, while working on their reading/writing skills.


– Cut index cards in halves & write a letter on the front and back of each half.

– Place 5 half index cards in one Ziploc bag, you will need to make enough bags for each student during group activity time.

– Use 1 bag for both groups per child.


– Give each student their own pre-assembled bag.

– Each time you begin the music, students will do what action you have given them. Example: 1st round of music students will hop, 2nd round of music students will skip, 3rd round walk slow, etc.

– Begin to play music. When music stops student will: (younger students) get with a partner and make at least a three letter word / (older students) get with a partner and make at least a five letter word.

– Give each group a chance to share the word that have made.

– When every group has shared their word, begin music again and have students repeat steps 2-4.


do this and add something

Players stand in a circle, an arm distance apart. One player is in the center of the circle. This center player begins any exercise he or she chooses, such as arm stretching. All players follow the exercise as long as the first player sets the pattern. When all are sufficiently exercised, the center player chooses a second player and says, “You do this and add soemthing.” The second player imitates the first action and adds a new exercise. The game continues with each player repeating the previous exercises plus his or her own addition.

tips: Be sure players keep their “arms-apart” spacing for safety.


The goal of this game is to steal the makimono scroll (you can use any object) from the Master Kage. It is a test to see how far you came to becoming a ninja. Chose one person to be Master Kage. Teacher can play Master Kage as well.

One staff member plays a judge. The judge stands right behind the Master Kage. All other students (Ninja Trainees) stand far away from the Master Kage. Master Kage is blind folded but he can hear. Once the game begins, the Master

Kage points his index finger in the direction he hears a sound. If anyone is standing in that direction, that person is eliminated from the game. Anyone may get eliminated even he doesn’t make a sound. Ninja Trainee wins if he gets the Makimono scroll from Master Kage. The Ninja Trainee then becomes the next Master Kage and the game repeats.

hint: Telling the story of the ninja is important to set the mood!


– Sit on the ground (blacktop, sidewalk or floor) unless you’re playing on a table, in which case standing is usually better than sitting on a chair.

– Toss the ten jacks gently out onto the playing surface.

– Toss the ball into the air with your throwing hand.

– While the ball is in the air, pick up one jack using only your throwing hand.

– Catch the ball in your throwing hand before the ball hits the ground.

– Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 until you’ve picked up all ten jacks.


– Toss the ten jacks out onto the playing surface again.

– Toss the ball into the air, and now pick up two jacks each time and catch the ball before it hits the ground.

– Continue tossing the ball, picking up jacks and catching the ball -- increasing the number of jacks you pick up when the ball is in the air -- until you pick up all ten at one time.

– Allow the other player to take her turn when you don’t pick up the correct number of jacks or you miss.

– Begin where you left off when it’s your turn again. If you were picking up three jacks at a time, toss the ten jacks onto the playing surface and pick up three each, etc.

– Declare a winner if you want to when you or your friend succeeds at ‘onesies’ through ‘tensies’ (one jack through ten jacks).


Use chalk to make a (cake walk) circle with letters of the alphabet. Play music. When the music stops, the person who knows the letter they are standing on and can name some object (animal or item or name) that starts with it

(based on their age) gets to pick out of a gift box.

Prize ideas: chalk, jump ropes, airplanes, bubbles, etc...outdoor items the kids can play with. It gets them active, they are learning, everyone wins something and they continue to play outdoors.


Take a large piece of Plexiglas, and smear frosting in about three rows from top to bottom. Secure M&Ms, Oreos, or other candy to the frosting “trail.” Then, have three brave volunteers come up to the front of the area where you will have your contest. (Please remember to place a table cloth under the Plexiglas and give contestants old shirts to wear!). Have two people hold the Plexiglas so that the crowd can see them eating the candy and frosting off from the other side. Blindfold contestants and give them instructions. First player to remove everything from the trail is the winner! Remember to get the rest of the campers involved by cheering on their teammates. You could even make a little news report out of it, have someone give the play by play and interview contestants after it is over.

Twist #1: Add a blindfold for all players

Twist #2: Make it a challenge…they have to get the Oreos off and put them on a plate (whatever distance away you choose) and the M&Ms in a different location etc.


One of the games that our kids ask for over and over again is Bucket Blast. They love being on both sides of the game! What is also a lot of fun is when the teacher straps on the bucket and the students chase her/him to get their bean bag in the teacher’s bucket. If you don’t have a bucket you can think about using a milk carton with a hole cut into it strapped on the teacher’s back.


To play you need 10 or more kids.

One student is chosen as the samurai. He or she stands in the middle and all other students stand in a circle around them about four feet away. The Samurai Is blindfolded and is given a 3.5 foot swimming noodle as their


sword. All students on the outside circle are given wooden clothes pins. The goal of the Samurai is to eliminate all of their peers by stealthily hitting them with their sword. But Samurais move in very intentional patterns...they can’t just swat around, they must be precise and thoughtful about their movements. Also Samurais must keep their feet planted in one spot to eliminate unnecessary movements as well. The Goal of the individuals on the outside is to attach their clothes pins to the Samurai without being detected or struck by the sword. Rarely does one side win quickly; a good idea would be to give the Samurai a time limit (say 2-3 minutes) to complete their task. The Samurai that is most successful after several rounds wins.


Students line up in two lines about 20 yards apart on an open field with each line facing the other line. Each student is given a number from 1 to10 or 20 depending on the number and age of kids. The numbers can be laminated so that kids can keep their individual score with hash marks on the back using multiples of five with an erasable marker. The instructor might keep the scores on a chart instead.

The instructor calls out a math problem by first stating the operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) and then the numbers or word problem. The instructor blows a whistle and all the kids run from both sides to a centerline to try to find a matching number that completes the answer to the problem. A variation is to include several students who have a set of cards with the operation symbol on cards and the students would find a group of others who would make the entire problem with the answer, for example 7 + 12 = 19. Note: for problems with larger numbers, students can line up side-by-side to make larger numbers with several decimal places. For higher math, students could also be given decimal points if needed. Algebra would add several other symbols as well.

Instructors might provide the answer (Jeopardy style) and ask the students to form the problem which could be done with various permutations; ex. the answer is 32 so the problem might be 10 + 8 + 9 + 5 + 32, or 6 +7 + 4 + 12

+ 3 = 32, or 53 - 11 = 32. There are many ways to explore with numbers which encourages students to look at math problems and processes from many sides.

After 2 to 5 minutes the instructor blows the whistle again and everyone freezes and the math is checked by the instructor. All teams who have completed the problem correctly receive a point on the back of their card or on the score board, and everyone returns to the starting lines to get ready for the next problem.

Materials: Numbers can be printed on cardstock paper or hand written on large index cards. Cards can be laminated, covered with clear Con-tact paper, or put into a clear plastic sleeve protector. Two different colors can be used for odd and even numbers. A White Board can be useful on the field or if the game is played in the gym on rainy days. It’s also fun to place the number cards into hats by attaching a paper head band so that the number is worn on the front of the head and easy to see.

Each student keeps their own score or students can be formed into teams before the game begins and add up their collective scores at the end for a team score. The prize is an A+ on their next math quiz!


round one: Two letters are tied to two strings – making somewhat of a front and back “sandwich board” shield. Each student places the letters on them (so there should be a letter on the front and the back). Each team has a total of eight students that have letters on the front and back of them and two other players – A scribe and a runner. All teams are given five minutes or less to form as many words as possible – flipping students front or back (using their letters) and/or moving students out of the line or adding students to the line. The runner moves


students around to form the words. The scribe writes each word formed. Each word is worth two points.

Round Two: You can pull two students from the line (leaving only six students (twelve letters). Each word is worth four points. Allow four minutes.

Round Three: Pull two more students. (leaving only 4 students). Each word is worth 6 points. Allow 3 minutes

BONUS ROUND: Choose only two students and form as many words as possible in 2 minutes.


Students will write three things about themselves on blank paper, crumple the paper up like a snowball and throw them at each other. Once the snowball fight ceases, all students open up one snowball and then try to figure out who it describes. Then they pair up with that person and discuss similarities/differences between them.


supplies: cones or lengths of rope to indicate the boundaries, 20-25 paper plates to be the mines (will need bean bags to hold down the plates so the wind doesn’t blow them around–could use frisbees) and blindfolds

Objects are scattered in an indoor or outdoor place. In pairs, one person verbally guides his/her partner, whose eyes are closed or blindfolded, through the “hazards” and to a designated exit point. If blindfolded person steps on or touches a “hazard”, they are out. If people run into one another, they must start over.


This outdoor game is to cut a water noodle in half and have enough for twelve children so you will need six noodles to cut in half. Then you blow up as many balloons as you want. Place one plastic laundry basket on one side and the other on the other side (about twelve feet apart) like a goal (turn on its side). Have children hit the balloons with the noodles (like playing hockey) and see how many balloons they can get in the baskets. The object is to get the balloons in the baskets but the children have to figure out that two children will have to work as a team and put there noodles together to pick up the balloons.


Use four hula hoops and place them one in front of the other going up the field. For example Hoop #1 is placed about three feet from the start line, Hoop #2 six feet away, Hoop #3 nine feet away etc. You can use bean bags or other objects, like water balloons in the summer on a hot day. Have children line up behind the start line, throw an object and try to get the most points, closest hoop can be 1 point, 2 points etc. younger children will need help keeping score, but great math idea for older kids.


supplies: 10-20 traffic cones and a large flat area. If you don’t have traffic cones, you can make your own using the following materials: 10-20 plastic water bottles, 2-liter soda bottles, or tennis ball canisters (all with lids), play sand and duct tape


In the game, two teams, the builders and the bulldozers, work at cross-purposes to try to earn points by standing traffic cones up or tipping them over. Since each child must keep track of his or her own score, this game also offers some good mental math practice.

– If you are using real traffic cones, skip to step 2. If not, you can easily make your own traffic cones out of plastic water bottles, 2-liter soda bottles, or tennis ball canisters. Fill each bottle or canister with about a cup of play sand to weight the bottom. Screw the cap back on the bottle, and secure with a strip of duct tape to prevent the children from unscrewing it.

– Place the traffic cones around the flat area, spacing them about 4-5 feet apart. Place half of the cones on their sides and half standing upright.

– Organize the participants into two even teams. Designate one team the builders and the other team the bulldozers.

– Give the teams their tasks: the builders must stand up the traffic cones that are on their sides and the bulldozers must tip over the cones that are standing up. Make sure the bulldozers understand that they are not allowed to hit or punch the cones to knock them over; they must gently tip them over on their sides.

– Have the teams begin playing. Organize play in to rounds, with each round lasting only two or three minutes.

Have each player keep track of her own score; players get one point for each cone either tipped over or placed standing up.

– At the end of the round, have the players on each team combine their individual scores to determine their group score.

– Before round two begins, have the players switch teams so they have a chance to try both roles.

– Continue playing until the participants are tired out from all that exercise!


All kids line up or spread out in a cluster and one kid is picked to be IT. All kids besides that person who is IT all make a silly pose and the kid who is IT can make silly faces and try to make them move but without touching them. The kids can also change their pose when the person who is it is not looking. When the person who is it sees someone moving they simply say “Liberty”!


Build a fort out of natural, existing, materials. At the end of the summer host a party and invite parents to have sack lunches in your “summer cabin.” Have fun with the kids and name the fort, make a camp flag, do crafts, play king and queen of the day (each student gets a special day to be the King or Queen which means they pick the activity they want to do that day.) Another fun activity includes holding a play in the fort to learn about your local historical culture. The opportunities are limitless as to activities to incorporate. It is a wonderful team building experience, as well as an opportunity to let the kids’ imaginations and creativity flourish.

Variation: If you are limited to outdoor opportunities, cardboard forts can be used.


Pay attention and NO passing. Have children stand in a circle. One person starts by making a noise and a movement. That noise and movement gets passed to the person on their right who tries to make the same noise and movement. That noise and movement gets passes around the circle quickly and with high energy. When it returns to the person who started it, they say it once more and then the person on their right creates a new sound and movement. Once everyone has had a turn to do an original sound and movement the game is over. Encourage


students to do the first thing that pops into their head. This can be done with names and movements for younger students because less thinking and pressure is involved in getting something started.


When a number is called out all of the students must huddle up as quick as they can in a group that totals the number you called out. If you say “four” there should be several groups of four together in the crowd. Same with seven or any other number you call. The challenge for the kids is not to be left out or the last to a group. If you call out the number 1 or 0 and a student grabs on to another student they are out. It’s funny to watch the kids try to push each other out or force their way into a group that is locked and complete. Play this game until you eliminate students to a group of two. Call out large numbers if you want to see them go crazy.


supplies: Primary colored hoops or Frisbees to determine the points. Blue = 3, Red = 2, Yellow = 1 etc.

Lay hula hoops strategically on the field. (Adjust per age group) You can have relay teams and each team member take a turn throwing the Frisbee. Team with most points wins. Simple but fun! Late comers or odd number player can keep score. You can do tournament style for older players and hold play offs for a prize.


Get an object to hide. One person will hide the object while everyone else is sitting in a circle closing their eyes.

The group is given boundaries to where they can search before the game starts. The person hiding the object must hide it in plain view…cannot be under something or be covered. Once the object is hidden, the hider yells TACO-

SHNEEK-A-PEEKA. This is the cue for everyone to start looking. There really are minimal rules: just make sure they are safe (no climbing trees, etc.) The group needs to find the object. Object of the game is to find the object first. Once they find the object they say TACO-SCHNEEK-A-PEEKA and have a seat in the original circle. Once everyone has found the object, the first person who sat will retrieve the object and they now become the hider.

You may want to clue the group in to try not to be so obvious once they find the object (don’t look at the object then say TACO-SCHNEEK-A-PEEKA…find the object, look around elsewhere, then say the phrase AND do not point the object out). This game can be done indoors or outdoors.


Paint the USA map on the playground pavement. Several pots of paint will be involved for an entire group state painting project. The map measures about 15’ x 30’. Include state trivia as you undertake this educational, fun project!


This game is played very similar to capture the flag. However, each team has hidden their treasure out of sight from the opposing team. Each team must sneak onto the opposing team’s side, search and locate the treasure and bring it back to their side to win.


Each team will create a treasure box and show it to the opposing team prior to the beginning of the game.

Designate playing boundaries around the camp. Mark each team’s side with cones. Designate an area on each side to be the dungeon. Allow 1-2 members from each team to hide the treasure box somewhere in their area. The treasure box cannot be hidden anywhere completely out of reach (in a tree, on a roof, unsafe location) of other players.

Give each team the opportunity to strategize their plan of “attack”. Encourage them to designate players to protect the boundaries (defense) or search for the treasure (offense). Only 2 players are allowed to guard the treasure.

Guards must stay 3 feet away from the treasure at all times (no hovering directly over the treasure).

Once the game begins, offense players can begin entering the opposing team’s side. If they are tagged, they must be walked to the dungeon by the player that tagged them. Captured players can be rescued when a team member safely reaches the dungeon. Players can only save 1 captured player at a time. Both players must skip back to their side before playing again. They cannot be tagged when returning to their side.

If a player finds the treasure they must quickly grab it and go back to their side. If they are tagged, they must go to the dungeon and the treasure is placed back in its original spot. A player can toss the treasure to another player to avoid losing the treasure, but only before they are tagged.

The first team to retrieve the opposing team’s treasure box and return it to their side wins!


1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9

+ 0 -

Using sidewalk chalk*, place the above numbers on the sidewalk with lines between them like hopscotch. While one student is running in place they say, “This is going to be an addition (or subtraction) problem and we are going to do jumping jacks (or toe touches, etc).” Then that student runs in place on the “sign” and then jumps on two numbers

(one foot on each number). The student states the numbers s/he has landed on, “7+3= (and calls on another student to answer). Then everyone has to do 10 jumping jacks. Then the student who solved the answer runs in place and starts the game all over. You can also play this game by using multiplication in place of the + or – signs.

Variation: This game can also be played indoors by using masking or blue painters tape instead of sidewalk chalk.


Practices eye-hand coordination and increase level of concentration.

supplies: soft balls of equal size, scarves or fabric scraps, school-age fitness folder (optional)

Collect scarves and fabric scraps prior to conducting this activity. Ask families to donate materials as needed.

Read the juggling directions located in the School Age Fitness Folder, if available. Copy the directions for children to use independently. Choose a large open area as the playing space.

Explain the following information about juggling to children: Juggling is a common sideshow at carnivals. It is a fun activity that uses both sides of the brain. Juggling can improve eye-hand coordination and concentration.


Ask a volunteer to demonstrate ball juggling. Have the child demonstrate one-, two-, and three-ball juggling.

Explain to children that the balls are tossed in an arc shape, instead of a circle. Divide the children into small groups of two or three and invite them to try juggling. Make the juggling challenge easier by encouraging children to juggle with scarves or fabric scraps.

Variation: Have children perform juggling acts for families during pick-up time.


supplies: twenty medium-size rocks, ten large-size rocks, large sheet of paper, writing tools

Review the information on commonly used trail markers found in the Reference Information section at the end of the unit. Create a chart illustrating the commonly-used trail markers. Post the chart in the Sport Zone area.

Show children the chart depicting trail markers and explain what they mean and how they are used by hikers. Ask the children if they have seen these types of markers while hiking. Invite the children to work together to create a hiking trail in the outdoor area. Have children use the rocks to create these markers throughout their hiking trail.

Invite children to participate in a hike following the markers.

Variations: Invite children to use twigs or a combination of twigs and rocks to create trail markers. To extend the game, divide children into two teams. Have each team create a trail that includes trail markers for the opposing team to follow. Encourage the teams to hike the opposing team’s trail and discuss their success hiking the trail and the clarity of the provided trail markers.


supplies: variety of rocks

Explain to children that the object of this game is to work as a group to locate a particular type of rock that has been hidden in the program space. Have children play the game according to the following rules:

– Have children divide into teams of three.

– Select a team to begin and show them the rock they will need to find.

– Have the team step outside of the space or turn so they cannot see the playing space.

– Have the remaining children hide the rock in the playing space.

– Call the team back to the playing space and tell them to find the rock.

– Instruct the team that verbal communication is not allowed and children can communicate by clapping.

– The remaining children will clap loudly when the team is close to the rock or clap softly or not at all when the team is far away from the rock.

– Have children give a standing clapping ovation when the group finds the rock.

– Continue play in this manner until each team of three has had a turn to find a rock.

Variation: Have children replace clapping with other communication signals, such as snapping fingers, waving arms, or jumping.


On a hard outdoor surface use sidewalk chalk and draw a straight line long enough for all players to stand arm’s length apart from each other. About 10 paces away from the line, draw a large circle with a radius of at least eight feet. All players


line up side-by-side three large steps behind the straight line. Just as in regular Simon Says, one Simon calls actions for the players to perform. When a player misses, instead of sitting out, the player takes one large step toward the chalk line and continues in the game. Players continue in the game until they reach the straight chalk line. Once a player reaches the straight line, they jog over to the circle and complete ten jumping jacks, then jog back to the game three steps behind the straight line and continue with the rest of the group. To mix it up, you can have players do different activities in the circle before returning to the larger game. (jump on one foot, jog in place, dribble a ball, jump rope etc)


A game that requires eight or more kids divided into two equal teams. Mark off two goal lines about 100 feet apart. Each team will stand behind one of the goal lines. One team begins the game by throwing the Frisbee to the other team. The team catching the Frisbee passes it among its players as they move toward the opposite team’s goal line. The player holding the Frisbee can’t move his feet once he makes a catch until he has passed the Frisbee to another player. A point is scored each time a team is able to get the Frisbee successfully over the goal line of the other team. If a pass is dropped, the other team gets the Frisbee where it was dropped. The first team to score 21 points is the winner.


supplies: sidewalk chalk, bright duct tape, small notepad and pencil for each student, list of graphing equations

(simple linear functions work best)

– Using duct tape for axis and sidewalk chalk for tick marks and guide lines, make a grid on the ground.

– Tell students just enough key info about the equation (such as the full equation, the y intercept and a point, 2 points, etc.) for them to “graph” it. They must stand at a “point” on the line. Anyone standing on a correct solution gets a point.

– At the end of play, whoever has the most points can be called the winner.


supplies: a cd player and upbeat music.

Participants form teams of two, have one person be in group one and the other in group two. Group one forms a circle and will rotate clockwise when music starts. Group two forms a circle around group one and will rotate counterclockwise when the music starts. Play upbeat music and instruct each group to walk in a circle in its assigned direction. After a few moments, stop the music and call out a letter. Players must find their teammate and work together to form the letter with their bodies. The last pair to form the correct shape or letter is out.

Continue stopping and starting the music and calling out shapes or letters until only one pair is left.

(Note: You may want to allow the team that gets out after each round to decide what letter to call out next. This will help some children who struggle dealing with losing at games. Also, encourage teams that get out to cheer for the others that are still in the game. This will help with developing good sportsmanship.)


supplies: blindfolds and shoes

Each person puts on a blindfold and takes off their shoes. They then throw them into a pile in the middle of the


floor. The referee then jumbles them all up and then shouts GO! The first person to find their shoes by touch and smell alone and put them on is the winner.


Get all wrapped up together playing mile of yarn. All ages can play the game. Give one child a large ball of brightly colored thick yarn and help her wrap it around her middle. She then passes the ball to another who wraps it around his middle. Continue passing and wrapping the yarn until your whole group is wrapped up in a mile of yarn. Reverse the process by unwinding the yarn from your middle and passing it back to the next family member.


Start by getting everyone in the group to stand in a circle facing inwards. Then pick one person and send them out of the room. While they are out of the room, appoint a ‘leader’. This person is the one who (in a minute) will lead the room in various movements (eg stamping feet, spinning, standing on one foot, dancing, singing, etc).

Everyone else in the circle must mimic the leader, without giving away who the leader is.

Bring the person back into the room, and commence the game. It’s quite funny watching everyone mimic the leader (especially if they pull some crazy moves!). The aim of the game is for the person who was sent out of the room to guess who the leader is. They get three chances to guess it right. The leader then becomes the ‘guesser’ and the game continues!


This game is good if you need a quick five minute icebreaker or time filler. It works best for groups of 10 or more people.

The leader thinks of criteria of some sort and the group must line up in order of that criteria. For example, if the criteria were birthdays, the group must assemble themselves so someone born in January is up one end, and someone in December up the other end (and with everyone else in between ordered neatly!) Other ideas for

criteria are: height, age, shoe size, hair length, hair color, distance they are from home.


supplies: packet(s) of marshmallows and packet(s) of spaghetti

Split the group into two or more teams. Generally between 4-8 is the ideal team size. The goal is to see which group builds the highest tower using only the items provided. The towers must be stable. It is fun but covers many competencies i.e. team work, communication, problem solving, leadership. It allows participants to use negotiating skills and improve their general communication...they also learn the benefit of planning.


– Have everyone grab and chair and arrange themselves in a circle and sit in the seats.

– The leader will call out “Everyone who has ______ must move ______ seats to the _____”.


– The first space is for a trait (eg Blue shirt, oldest sibling, age, birthday month etc.)

– The second space is for the number of seats

– The third space is for either the right or left.

– If, when a person moves, someone else is already sitting in the seat then they must sit on their lap.

– If you have a stack of people and something is called out does not apply to everyone in the stack then the one that it does apply to moves along with everyone who is sitting on their lap. For example: you have a stack of five people and number one is the person sitting on the chair aka bottom of the stack. The item called out only applies to person number three in the stack. That means that person numbered three, four and five move but one and two stay put.

– The game can end whenever you want.


Like tug of war—but on a milk crate. First to step off crate loses. This version requires more strategy than regular tug of war!


supplies: at least 40 balloons for a party of 10 to 15 kids (the balloons should be two or three different colors so that each team has a certain color), ribbon or yarn, cut into 1 ½ inch-long pieces (make enough so that you have two ribbons for each child), air pump (to blow up all those balloons!), portable music player, ample space for kids to run around

Divide the kids into two or three teams. Tie a piece of ribbon or yarn around each balloon. Then tie the ribbon or yarn to each foot of each player. Every player should have two balloons of his team’s color. When the music plays, the kids walk around. When the music stops, the players try to burst the balloons of the opposing team while trying to protect their own balloons. Any player who loses both balloons is out. The team that has the most balloons intact wins.


supplies: A LOT of toilet paper!

Have people pair up. One will be the Mummy and one will be the wrapper. Choose three pairs to compete (more or less depending on how many prizes you want to give). All wrappers will have one roll of toilet paper. The wrapper will begin wrapping when you say “GO.” The mummy must stand with arms stretched out and may not move. The first wrapper with an empty toilet paper roll is the winner. You can apply your own rules. But to make it a little more challenging we require the mummy to be wrapped in some fashion around the head, arms, legs and trunk! Also another little twist is after the mummy is wrapped they switch places and the mummy wraps the wrapper.


You need to have one donut (usually small, powdered sugar kind) for every player. Tie one end of a piece of string to a clothesline or tree and the other end to the donut and repeat this for all the donuts. All the players line up in front of their own donut and with their hands behind their back, have to eat the donut. It can be quite tricky with the donut swinging around, but it’s really great fun! Whoever finishes their donut first wins!



This is a great game for younger players (3+) and involves an element of excitement. The aim is for players to creep up on ‘grandmother’ without her spotting any movement. One child (or adult helper) is ‘grandmother’ and stands with her back to the children, who all line up side by side some distance behind her. While Grandmother’s back is turned, the children creep up slowly towards her. Every now and again she will suddenly turn around and the children must stop moving. Any that are caught in action have to go back to the start again. The children must continue to creep as close as they can to her and the first child to touch Grandmother’s back without her noticing is the winner.


Have the children stand in a circle. They should not move until you toss a handkerchief in the air. Once the handkerchief is in the air, the children are allowed to laugh or giggle. The moment it touches the ground, the kids need to stop giggling! Anyone caught giggling has to leave the circle!


supplies: a lot of old socks

Ask children if they’ve ever been asked to clean up their room. In this game, you win when your side of the ‘room’ is clean. Divide children into two teams. Lay a rope or something to demarcate the dividing line. Everyone pelts them at the other team while yelling “Clean up Your Room!.” This usually goes until everyone is too weak from laughing. The object is to get all the socks on the other side (never happens - just play until everyone collapses into sillies).


In a large tub fill 3/4 way with sand. After the tub is full of sand hid various objects in the tub of sand. Shells, candy, or plastic bugs. Create a start line where each child will start about 50 ft. away from the tub. Give each child a bucket and plastic shovel. The object of the game is for the children to collect as many objects as possible in thirty seconds or less.


This funny game lets kids use their imagination to come up with commercials for new and unusual uses for everyday objects.

Each child chooses a regular household object (usually from a group of objects you have gathered ahead of time) and creates a commercial for it. To add to the creativity they can’t advertise the object for its actual purpose, but must create an original use for it. For example, if your object is a spoon, you can’t make a commercial using it to eat soup – but you could make a commercial advertising what a great catapult it makes (used for launching peas at your annoying little brother!)


supplies: lots of marshmallows

Sit the children (6 years and older) around in a circle. Pass around a big bowl of marshmallows and tell each child to put a marshmallow into each cheek and then say, straight faced, “I am a chubby bunny”. Anyone who laughs or doesn’t say it clearly is eliminated. Those that remain in the game are passed another two marshmallows, which


they add to the ones already in their cheeks. They must again say “ I am a chubby bunny”. The game continues like this until a winner is declared or everyone is laughing too much to notice who wins!

Note: This game can be played with regular sized marshmallows or mini ones. The mini marshmallows will make the game last longer.


This game will require multiple hula hoops. Set hula hoops up in a large circle, you’ll need at least five hoops.

When the music starts everyone walks around the hula hoops, similarly to musical chairs. When the music stops everyone must rush to get into a hula hoop and hold it up around their waist. More than one person is allowed in a hula hoop, in fact the funny part of this game is that there is no limit to the number of people allowed in one hula hoop. Everyone has thirty seconds to get into a hoop. After each round remove one hoop and play again. The winners are everyone who manages to squeeze themselves into the last hoop remaining at the end of the game.


Children must try to peel a banana with their hands behind their back. First one who finishes wins!


supplies: a bowl of m&m’s (smarties, skittles, etc…), chopsticks, two dice, 3 dress up items (ie: hat, scarf, and sunglasses)

The children should sit in a circle. In the middle of the circle place the dress up items, bowl of candy and chopsticks. One child starts the game by rolling the dice. If he (or she, of course) rolls doubles then he rushes to put on the dress up items, and then he can eat as many pieces of candy as he can pick up with the chopsticks. The other children keep passing and rolling the dice (one roll per turn) until another set of doubles is rolled. When the next sets of doubles are rolled the person in the middle must pass the dress up items to the new person and take their place back in the circle. The new person then starts eating the candy. The game continues until the candy is gone. If doubles are coming too fast in the game (too fast to give the candy a chance to be eaten) then consider switching the dice requirements. Maybe they have to roll the child’s age, or just doubles in 2, 3, or 4’s.


All participants site at the table with their hands behind their back. Whipped cream pies are placed in front of each contestant and the fun begins on the start of go. Everyone dives head first into their pie to retrieve the gummy bears buried underneath all the whipped cream. The first one to pull out and eat all ten gummies WIN! You’ll need

enough pie tins so that each participant has one (you can use paper plates). You’ll also need ten gummy bears for each pie, and enough whipped cream to fill each tin.


When the music starts, players dance in a designated dance floor space. When the music stops, everyone freezes.

Anyone caught moving after the music stops is out. Last dancer wins.



This is a communication game (that can be quite educational) where you try to talk your blindfolded teammate through a series of obstacles.

supplies: blindfolds and a number of moveable obstacles such as balls, chairs, jackets, shoes etc...

Define boundaries. Have the team create a list of things that are detrimental to functioning as a group such as poor communication, anger, jealousy, wrong tools, not listening etc. For each characteristic/action, throw an object into the playing space, the “minefield.” Have the kids within a group choose partners. One partner is blindfolded at one end of the field. The non-blindfolded partners stand at the opposite end of the field and try to talk their partners through the minefield without them running into any of the obstacles. If the blindfolded partner touches an object they’re out and another partner must try. However, once they are blindfolded the other team can move the objects around if they choose. The team with the highest number of successful crossings wins.

After the game is over (if you want it to be more educational) ask the players what they learned from the activity?

Did the blindfolded people trust their team? Why or why not? Why is good communication important?


supplies: chairs

Depending on how many people there are (recommended two or more players), set up chairs in several rows, one chair for each person playing the game. For example, If you were playing with sixteen people, you would set up four rows of four chairs each. This is the “bus”. Each person chooses a seat, and that seat is their permanent seat. No one else can sit in that seat except them for the whole game.

They can only enter their row of seats from one end, and exit their row from the other end...one way in, one way out.

All players circle the entire group of chairs. Start the music, and all the players circle around the rows of chairs in ONE direction...no backtracking! When the music stops, they must reach their seat as quickly as possible. If they have already passed the entrance to their row, they cannot back up! They must complete the entire circuit around until they reach their entrance, and then climb, leap or whatever it takes to get over whoever may be in the way of THEIR seat!

Last one to sit down is out. They are eliminated from the game, but their chair stays in place. Eventually, you come down to a race between two people walking around those 16 chairs, eyeing each other as they wait for the music to stop so they can either scoot into the entrance to their row, or hurl themselves around trying to pass the other person before he gets to the entrance to HIS row...Oh yeah, it’s a blast!


supplies: hopscotch grid marked to twelve, two score boards and two scrap boards, two foam dice

Divide into two teams and line each team up side by side. The first two players step forward. One of the two players rolls the dice and adds the numbers together. They jump on the hopscotch board to that number. Then goes to the scrap board and writes their number. The second player does the same thing. Each player also writes the other players number down. The facilitator yells out a function of math (divide, multiplication, addition, subtraction, etc.) The first player to yell out the answer gets the point! Mark the point on the scoreboard and continue with the next player. If neither player gets it correct, the next player can steal the point, so it pays for those in line to pay attention!



One player is the curator; everyone else is a statue. The curator closes his or her eyes for 15 seconds and the statues come alive. When the curator’s eyes open, everyone freezes. Statues try to make slight movements without being caught. If the curator sees you moving, you’re out. The last statue standing becomes the new curator.


Place two jump ropes one foot apart to mark the “creek.” Each player jumps over the creek. Gradually move the ropes farther apart after each player has jumped. Players who land in the middle of the creek are out. The player who jumps the farthest without falling in the creek wins.


This is a great pre-activity before a real fishing event!

supplies: hula-hoops or old tires, flags or cones to number the “holes,” fishing poles with a weight (NO hook), and a score sheet

Arrange the «golf holes» around the playground (number them 1-9 with flags or cones). Children practice casting their fishing pole and count the number of casts it takes to get to a hole. Children keep score of the casts just like golf. (Adjust PAR according to difficulty). The fewest casts through the course wins!


One child stays at the wall. He/she has his/her face to the wall and the other children stay at about 30 foot distance. The child at the wall/line says very loud “Anne Maria Cuckoo”, and turns around while saying this. The other children run towards the wall. When the child at the wall/line turns around, all the children have to stop. If they are seen moving, those children have to start again. The one who is at the wall first is the new child who leads the game.


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