KEY: (Activity Level - low, +high, Area Needed - Small Medium Large)
TAG VARIATIONS (+,L) The simple game of Tag has numerous variations. HUG TAG (Players are safe only when hugging someone.) TRIANGLE TAG (Played in groups of four - three in a triangle - one the target must be tagged on waist.) ELBOW TAG (Every one, but the runner and It link elbows in pairs; runners avoid It by linking elbows releasing a new runner. It can change the same way.) SHADOW TAG (Tagging is done by stepping on people's shadows. When you are tagged, you cout to three before chasing. EVERYBODY'S IT (When your tagged, you're frozen.)
BLOB (+,L) Designate boundaries. One person is blob, any one tagged by the Blob must join hands and become part of it. Blobs can fragment into pieces of at least two people. Object: For Blob to devour everyone, for everyone else stay alive as long as possible.
ROBOTS Divide the group into groups of three or four, and in these one person is designated the Master, the others are his Robots. Robots keep moving only in a straight line (walking like robots, of course) until they encounter an obstacle (edge of the area, a tree, another robot, etc.) of any kind, when they stop and start "beeping" an S.O.S. to their master who must come and start them moving again in another direction. Perhaps a Master may want his robots to have a "unique" styled distress beep. Periodically change the Masters in each group.
QUACK Everyone stands feet slightly apart, hands on knees or ankles, looking back through their legs. Then they start moving backwards. Any contact with another player, they say a loud "Quack!" This will loosen a group up.
DEER HUNT. (V. Red light-Green light) ( ,L) Hunter goes to side of field. Turns back. Of the remainder designate about half as deer and half as Trees. Scatter across field. "Trees stand in place", "deer" try to move around without being spotted moving or having moved. Hunter periodically turns back. If spotted, hunter must tag deer before the deer reach a designated safety box. If tagged they become hunters. Replay with deer and trees trading roles.
ELK HUNT variation. (+,L) Set apart two "hunters" and two "elk". Rest of players scatter and form "trees". "Trees" can not move around. Any "tree" tagged by "elk" becomes an "elk" Any "elk" tagged by a "hunter" becomes a "tree". And a "tree" tagged by a "hunter" becomes a "hunter". but when a "hunter" tags a "hunter" both become "trees", but any "elk" who tags a "hunter" becomes a "tree".Trees do not tag, of course. Complications: Until tagged, no one can tell anyone what they are until after they are tagged. Identity is revealed by hand motions (Hunters make Finger pistols; Elk put thumbs together and spread fingers like horns, Trees hold one are upright with fingers spread, the other hand holding its elbow). Obviously there are advantages for both "huners" and "eldk" to remain motionless like trees from time to time. Object is for "hunters" to bag all "elk". For "elk" to devour all "trees" and not be bagged by a "huner" and for everyone to have a good time.
PHEASANT HUNT: (Same as "Go-Tag") (+,L) Players form a line alternately facing in opposite directions in a squatting position. Player at one end is the "pheasant" and may run around the line in either direction. The "Fox" starts from the other end, and must keep running around the line in the same direction he starts. However, the "fox" can step into line behind a player, tap his shoulder and that player becomes the new "fox", the former "fox" taking his place. Object is for "fox" to catch "pheasant". When the "pheasant" is caught, the "fox" becomes the "pheasant" and the tagged "pheasant" gets in line opposite from the "fox" starting end. A new "fox" starts the chase anew. Mention the line is on the "fox's" side.
BULL DOGGYING (+,M) Have four or more 8-10' lengths of rope or clothesline. Arrange children around edges of the Rodeo Arena (playing area). A number (equal to number of ropes) of children are designated as Bulls - they each grasp a rope by one end (using two finger - no wrapping around their hands) and drag it around the Arena. An equal number of children are designated as Cowboys. They try to Bulldoggy the Bulls by stepping on the ropes - if it is pulled out of the bulls hand, the Cowboy becomes a Bull and the Bull tags and takes the place of a bystander, who become a new Cowboy. The game could be played with the players divided into teams, with objectives being either to catch the most bulls (each team would have a Bull Pen) or be the first team to Cowboy all its players.
CATTLE DRIVE (+,L) Form up the children into Cows [two children, one the head (hand forming horns) and one the rear, hands on other child's hips] (Cows must walk unless it's a Stampede) and cowboys one hand on hip, the other twirling a pretend rope - (cowboys must skip). There should be at least three or four times as many cows as Cowboys. When a cowboy rides along side a cow and says "Gitalong little doggie" the cow must move with the cowboy, and becomes part of the herd (which stays together unless there is a stampede - first cow becomes the leader). "Whoa Doggies" stops a herd's movement. Cowboys try to gather herds and drive them to Dodge. Cows just try to "wander and eat grass". Cowboys can and probably should work together.
Options: Some Game Leader's calls (to make things harder):
GOLDEN SPIKE (I've been working on the Railroad) (-,M) A large grassy or carpeted area is needed. Divide children into two teams. They must construct a railroad connection to Promentory Point in the middle of the area, starting from their side of the room. The children become the tracks. One child lays down with feet and arms extended and together. The next child crawls over the first and with the first child holding his feet extends the tracks further, etc. However each railroad must have two "curves", a "trestle" (child on elbows and knees), and a "switch back" (three children forming a "Z" in their "track plan" before connecting to Promentory point. Once the two tracks have joined, then the children "ride the rails" to promentory, beginning with the first one down, till everyone has completed the journey to "drive the golden spike."
OCTOPUS (V. RED ROVER) (+,L) Mark off two lines at opposite sides of field. Octopus is in the "ocean" between. When Octopus calls "Octopus, Octopus! Come _(Swim,_hop,_walk,_run)_ in my ocean" the Fish must cross the ocean in the manner instructed without being tagged which makes them tenacles (Either by join hands with Octopus or by trying to hold untagged fish until Octopus tags them.) However, the Octopus and his helpers are limited to the same the form of locomotion he calls.
The BIG GOBBLER variation is to call one side "Ship" and the other "Shore" The children are a school of fish and the Big Gobbler a hungry seabird that Flys about flapping his wings and calling out "ship" or "shore" to reverse the direction the school of fish is running. "Big Gobbler" requires everyone to join hands with other fishes or be "tickled" by Big Gobbler. Other commands could be "crabs" (forming pairs hold hands between legs), "Starfish" (forming stars with hands joined together) and "Fishnet" (Everyone bunch together). This game burns a lot of energy in a hurry. "tickle!"
POPCORN This is a short and spontaneous game. The Leader announces "I'm Ver-y Hungry! I'd Like some Popcorn!". Everyone crouches down like "kernels" until they are ready individually to jump up yelling "POP!" then hopping up and down while counting aloud to ten. Having popped they then quietly crouch down again. The game ends when everyone has popped.
BUBBLES This is freeform play, keep it relaxed. Gather everyone in one corner. Passing through two markers, the "bubblepipe" they form bubbles. (Any number of people holding hands in a ring is a bubble.) Bubbles drift slowly around the field, sometimes joining with other bubbles into bigger bubbles, or breaking into smaller bubbles. (Lots of variations) When they "pop" they return to the "bubblepipe" and start over.
CLAMFREE (+,L) Set boundaries. One person is "pollution" who hops around with a nerf ball tagging clams. The rest who are "happy clams" which hop around joyfully. If tagged by pollution, clams get sick and are frozen in place until set free by two "happy clams" joining arms around them. Goal of pollution is to get all clams, of clams to keep everyone "happy". Variant: Four clams encircling pollution can "clean him up".
WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING [+,l] Define the two opposite corners of an open grassy area as the sheepfold and the wolf's den. One player is designated the Sheep Dog, another secretly the Wolf. The Sheep Dog "patrols" around the flock, which are "grazing" (moving around) in the open area. Whenever the Sheep Dog calls "Woof!", the sheep respond with loud "Baaa's". The Wolf, who is mingling with the sheep, however says "Grrrr" and tries to tag a nearby sheep, without being spotted. Whenever the Sheep Dog thinks he has spotted the wolf, he sounds the alarm "Woof! Woof!" and all the sheep who haven't been tagged by the wolf run for the fold, and the Wolf and all the sheep he has tagged run for the Wolves den. If unsuccessful the Sheep dog releases the flock to graze and tries again. Captured sheep remain the Wolf's, but return to mingle with the rest of the flock. Objectives: The Sheep Dog tries to spot and tag the Wolf (ending the game), the Wolf to capture as many sheep as he can without being spotted and tagged. A variation could add a wolf (chosen by the den from the captured sheep) to the pack each time they gather.
ASTROIDS WAR (+,L)
Divide into 3 equal teams and Appoint three captains. Place a rope circle in the center of the field .
Team 0's sign is both hands on head
Team 1's sign is one hand up
Team 2's sign is two hands up
Players mix and scatter around field standing with hands on hips. Captains stand in circle. When director shouts "Astroid shower" the captains start approaching astroids and challenging, saying "Astroid?" and then giving his sign. The challenged astroid responds with his sign. If they are on the same team, nothing happens, and challenger goes on, but if they are on different teams then:
0's must tag 1's
1's must tag 2's
2's must tag 0's
before the the latter reaches the rope circle. if tagged, the astroid changes to other team. (Captains are the only exception, they remain the same.) Either way, both proceed to challenge other astroids. When all astroids are in motion, then director shouts "astroid belt" and all the astroids freeze putting hands on hips and captains return to circle. Repeat play several times then determine winner by counting teams.
Some of the above games were found in The New Games Book, & More New Games, ed. Flugelman and Tembeck, and New Games for the Whole Family by Dale N. LeFevre (New Games Foundation) and some are from The Outrageous Outdoor Game Book by Bob Gregson (Fearon Teaching Aids)
Thanks for visiting! Your comments and games suggestions are most welcome!
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