Kids' Group Games

Everybody loves Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, and Duck Duck Goose. But fun kids' group games have evolved quite a bit since the days when you were growing up.

If you look outside and see your back yard full of young people standing idle, don't panic. Here are some games for kids of all ages, which can adapt to the size of the group and require little or no equipment.

Shoe Pile
The Shoe Pile game works best if children have lots of different kinds of shoes on: flip-flops, sneakers, lace-up and Velcro. A group of children is divided into two teams for this relay game. All the children take off their shoes and throw them into a pile at one end of the yard, mixing up the shoes so the pairs are mixed up. Designate a starting line at the other end of the yard. At the "go" signal, the first person on each team runs across the yard, puts on any two shoes, runs back and tags the next player on his team, who follows suit, until all players have shoes on. The first team to finish is the winner.

Telephone Charades
Telephone Charades, sometimes called Charades Down the Line, is a group game that can be played indoors or out.  It's a combination of the telephone game, in which a message is passed from person to person around a circle, and charades, where a message is acted out with no talking allowed.

Choose five or six participants and ask them to leave the room or area while the audience chooses something to act out: the sillier the better. The action can be giving a dog a bath, watching a football game, bungee jumping, a first date or any obscure act.

Bring in the participants and tell them to form a line and all face to the right. The leader reveals the act to the first person in line, who turns around and acts it out to the second person without using words or noises. The second person turns and acts out his interpretation to the third person, who does the same to the fourth person. The silent charades continue until it reaches the last person in line, who must then try to guess what the action was.

Wobbly Broomstick
This game will make the players very dizzy, so be sure to play it on grass or a soft surface. Invite all players to stand in a circle with a broom or long stick in the middle.  Demonstrate the challenge, which is to hold the stick upright on the end of your chin while looking up at the top of the stick; twirl around a set number of times (10 is fun, 20 is extreme); throw the stick on the ground and jump over it.  The group's job is to count the number of twirls aloud, to remind the player to keep looking at the top of the stick, and to catch the player if he falls.

Name-It Ball
Players in Name-It Ball stand in a circle with lots of space between each other. The first person with the ball chooses a category, such as TV shows. He bounces the ball to another player, who must catch the ball and say something related to the category, such as "Sponge Bob Square Pants." He then bounces the ball to another player, who does the same. Anyone who can't come up with something from the category fast enough (within a time limit) is out.

Possible categories include cars, candy bars, sports, football teams, flowers, presidents and crayon colors.

Doors and Windows
Doors and Windows, a traditional Native American game, starts with all the children in a circle.  The children spread out so that everyone's arms are straight, forming large spaces between kids. These are the windows and doors. One child starts running, weaving between children. The kids in the circle randomly drop their arms down to touch or trap the runner.  Anyone who gets caught is out.

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