Team  Building  Ideas

Ubuntu Card Games  |  Ice Breakers for Groups


Ubuntu cards encourage a group to interact, find connections and have fun. The cards are a great tool for limitless reflection through metaphor, but we have also discovered that they offer endless opportunities for group interaction and creative play. Here are a few activities with which we have had success. Try these, but also create your own interactive experiences. After your group has played with them they too will start to come up with variations - which is another powerful teambuilding initiative! Learn more about Ubunto cards.

ALL FOR ONE, ONE FOR ALL  (Any size group, single-image side)
Have your group sit in a circle and place several cards into the middle of the circle, single-image up. Challenge the group to choose by consensus one single-image card that they feel represents the group as a whole. The wonderful thing about this activity is that the final product does not matter as much as the conversations leading up to the decision, as the group members describe their reasoning for choices and discuss strengths within in the group.

BLIND FIND (Any size group, played with multi-image side)
Give a card to each person in the group and ask everyone to find a partner. Tell the group that (on your signal) they should study their own card for 20 seconds. Time can be adjusted based on age and ability of participants. Then, tell participants to hold their cards up next to their heads (at your count) so that their partners can see the card but they cannot. Have them attempt to find the match by looking at their partners' cards and recalling what is on their own. To continue, players trade cards and find someone new to play with.

CHAMPIONSHIP FIND (Large group, played with the multi-image side)
This is a fun, light-hearted, competitive (and noisy) activity. Give each person a card and ask everyone to find a partner. On your signal, have
the partners turn over their cards and race to find the matching image. The person who finds the match first wins and takes the opponent's
card. The person who lost joins the winner's "team" as an enthusiastic fan and cheerleader. Winners continue to play by finding another
undefeated participant to play against, while their growing fan bases cheers them on. Play until one person has all the cards and all the fans.

COMMON BOND (large group, played with multi-image side)
Give a card to each person in the group. Challenge everyone to pair up and find a matching item on their carPs. When they do find a match,
have them try to find something else in their lives that they have in common, a common bond. Once they are successful, have them move on
to a new person and repeat the activity.
Note: all the cards have a common symbol with every other card... but the group doesn't need to know that.

FAST FIND (10-15 participants, played with multi-image side)
The object of this timed activity is to identify the matching images on the cards as quickly as possible as play continues around the circle. Assemble the group in a circle and give a card to each person. Have the group choose who will be the start person (player 1). Start timing the group when player 1 turns right to player 2. Both turn over their cards and search for the common image. Once they successfully identify a match, player 2 turns right to player 3, and then this pair works together to find their matching image. Play continues around the circle in this manner until the last player and the first player find their match. Stop timing. You can try another round to improve your score but be sure to shuffle your cards before the second round.

FIND AND FLEE (Large Group, played with the multi-image side)
Give a card to each person in the group and direct your large group to divide into circles of 8-12 participants. Instruct everyone to show their cards face up in the middle of the circle (on your count), and as quickly as possible find a match with another card. When players find a match they should swap cards with that person and then step out of the group and quickly step into another group and resume play in their new circle. Only the "finder" leaves the group - the person with whom the finder swapped cards remains. End the game while energy is still high. You can also play with one small group: play until there is one person left in the circle, and celebrate the last person left.

FULL VALUE UBUNTU (10-12 participants, multi-image side)
Have your group sit in a circle; place several cards into the middle of the circle, multi-image up. Ask the group to study the cards and discuss images that represent the qualities or characteristics that need to exist for the group to be successful. Have them identify one card that represents many of the characteristics discussed. This card can be kept as a representation of the group's Full Value Ubuntu contract.

PARTNER BLIND FIND (Any size group in partners, played with the multi-image side)
Ask your group to pair up and give each partner pair an equal amount of cards (10 or more works best), multi-image side down. Direct the pairs to turn over the first card in the pile and study it for 20 seconds. Time can be adjusted based on age and ability of participants. Then, have the pairs remove this card from play, to a place where neither person can see it. On your signal, the pairs turn over their next top card and work together to try to find the matching image from their original card. Once they are successful, they can turn over the next card and continue racing through the pile of cards. Celebrate success!

START/STOP (Any size group, single image side)
Have your group sit in a circle and place several cards into the middle of the circle, single-image up. Have the group identify a card that
represents something the group needs to start doing to be successful and something the group must stop doing to be successful.

STRENGTHS (Any size group, single-image side)
Have your group sit in a circle and place several cards into the middle of the circle, single-image up. Ask participants to identify with an image as a symbol of strength or ability that they bring to the group. This allows groups to share and hear the strengths that exist within the group. It also may be more comfortable for younger participants to speak about an object metaphorically as opposed to sharing about themselves directly. Variation: After a group has had a time to learn about each other, direct participants to each pick a card that represents their own strengths, without sharing their reasons. Ask the group to identify why they think the image is fitting for the person. This is an interesting way to get and give feedback about how they are perceived in a group.

STORYTELLING (2-12 participants, multi-image side)
Have your group sit in a circle and place several cards into the middle of the circle, multi-image up. Tell participants to study the cards and create a story that incorporates all of the images on a given card. Creativity and humor are encouraged. When someone has developed a story they may share it with the group. Variation: Place a single card in the circle and have each participant tell only a part of the story, and the group takes turns adding to the story.

SYMBOLIC CIRCLES (Any Size Group, played with the multi-image side)
If the group has played with the Ubuntu cards already, this activity will be very quick. If you play this initiative first and the group has never used the cards before, it can be an interesting initiative. Give each person a card and tell them that the object of this activity is to get the group to form one large circle in which each participant's card is linked by a matching image to the participants' cards on their left and right. The catch here is that all of the cards have a link to every other card, so any formation of a circle is the solution. But the group might not know that...yet.

THERE'S A REASON (Any size group, single-image side)
This activity works well after playing any of the Connection activities in which cards are traded often (Find and Flee, Blind Find). After you have finished an activity and participants each have one card in their hand, ask the group to look at the single image side of their card. Tell the group that some people believe that things happen for a reason. Ask the group to think about the single image they are holding and challenge them to find a reason or connection as to why they ended up with that specific card.


Players are divided into two groups who stand behind 2 boundary lines. “Its” are chosen and call out a describing characteristic like, “everyone wearing shorts.” Those who fit the characteristic run to the other side of the field and try not to get tagged by the person playing "it". If they are tagged, they must stand like a tree in the middle of the playing area and try to tag other campers without moving their feet. When “American Flag” is called, everyone runs.

Have each person share their best and worst moments from the previous week. This icebreaker is an easy one to use at the beginning and gives you good feedback concerning each person's life at the moment.

Use the smallest coin in your currency! Place a coin from a different year on every chair. Each person can share a memory from the year of their coin.

Players spread out with 1-3 people being selected as "it" and chasing others. When they tag someone, they link hands and chase as a blob. The blob will grow larger until everyone is caught. Blobs can split in groups of at least 3 to help in the chasing.

You’ve been exiled to a deserted island for a year. You are told you may take three things you want (not including basic survival essentials). What would you take and why?”

All players pair up and stand side-by-side linked at the elbows around the play area. A "chaser" and "chasee" are chosen and begin to run. The chasee can link up to any available elbow and the partner of the person who is now linked to the original chasee becomes the new chasee and is now being chased by the chaser. When someone is tagged, they switch and the chased becomes the chaser. A leader can also yell, “switch” at any time if a chaser is having trouble catching someone, or is wearing out.

The worst project I ever worked on was...
The riskiest thing I ever did was...

Players sit in a circle. While their eyes are closed, select a “frogger.” Everyone else is a “bug.” Everyone is instructed to open their eyes and the frogger tries to catch the bugs by sticking out his/her tongue at them without being noticed by anyone. When a bug is caught, they must signal they are no longer in play. When the frogger is identified by any bug still playing, a new round begins.

This game is played like rock, paper, scissors where a pose is shown to represent a grizzly, trout and mosquito. Two teams decide secretly on grizzly, trout, or mosquito and then meet in the middle of the playing field. The counselor counts to 3 and the teams strike their pose. Grizzlies beat trout, trout beats mosquitoes, and mosquitoes beats grizzlies. The winning team chases the other team back to their base line trying to tag them. Those tagged by the winning team join that team for the next round. If both teams are the same thing, the counselor points in a direction to run.

Ask each member to name three people, past or present, they admire and why they chose them. Or, ask them if they could interview anyone in history, who would that be and why? What one or two questions would they want to ask this hero?

After everyone has shared, the group can discuss what they learned about the things they value.

Ask the group participants to quietly write down words or phrases that describe a feeling they have experienced since the group last met. Group members then share what they have written.
Ask each person to complete one of these sentences (or something similar): The best job I ever had was...

Write down the most interesting job you've ever had on a small piece of paper. Put everyone's paper in a bowl. Each person draws out a paper, reads it aloud, and tries to guess who had the job.

This is played like regular kickball except when the ball is kicked and someone in the outfield catches it, the whole outfield team must line up behind that person. The kicker runs the bases, getting a point per base, until the other team is all lined up and has passed the ball from the front of the line to the end. There are no outs in this game. Let each team have 5 kickers and then switch.

If you could go anywhere in the world now, where would you go and why?
If you could talk to anyone in the world, who would it be? Why?
If you could talk to any person who has died, who would you talk to and why?
If you could wish one thing to come true about your upcoming summer, what would it be?

This works well as a prayer idea. People can choose an article that they have found as a prayer focus.
Give each person a newspaper or magazine, have each person tear out a picture, article, or anything they think tells something about themselves. Have them discuss this picture/article. If there’s enough time they can make a collage that tells more about themselves.
Your house is on fire, and everyone is safe. You have thirty seconds to run through the house and collect three or four articles you want to save. What would you grab? Why?

Players are split into 2 teams each having half of the field. Each team has a “jail” at the back of their half of the field. Once players cross to the other teams half, they can be tagged by that team and put in jail. If a player makes it to the other team’s jail, they get a free walk/run back holding up the hand of a teammate they’ve rescued. Players can also put the other team’s members in jail by crossing to their side and running in a circle around them and back to their own side without being tagged.

Take five minutes and find the following items in your wallet or purse: Something that:
You’ve had a long time; You’re proud of; Reveals a lot about you; Reminds you of a fun time; Concerns or worries you. Have each person share the first item. Go around again on the second item, and again until you have gone through each one. Don’t feel like you have to use the whole list because it will take too long.

Players are asked sit in a circle and close their eyes. The leader (by a gentle tap on the shoulder or head) chooses a “sleeper”. Then the players get up and mingle around shaking hands. The “sleeper” tries to put as many people to "sleep" (laying on the floor and silent) as possible by poking them in the wrist with their pointer finger while shaking hands. Players who are still "awake" can guess the “sleeper” by asking the leader. If they guess wrong, they also go to "sleep."
If they guess correctly, the game starts over.

People take a minute to share about what’s happened since the group last met. This could be a "good" experience, a "bad" experience, or an "ugly" experience.

Players are split into two teams and each team stands on one side of a volleyball net. Players form pairs or small groups holding onto beach towels. The first team to start will try to launch a water balloon from one of their team's towels over volleyball net. The other team tries to catch it with a pair’s towel. See how many times they can pass it before it breaks. Balloons cannot be thrown or caught by hand, but must be launched and caught by towel. If you choose to use points, a team gets a point every time a balloon pops on the other team's side of the net..

Ask people to take out of their purse/wallet one thing that is important to them. Then each person takes turns sharing what they have chosen and why.

Each participant is asked to give his/her middle name and tell how or why the particular name was chosen for them. The facilitator begins the process and if appropriate, do it with a little bit of humor to encourage others to share.

Open up the nearest book or magazine and point to a random word. It's best if the word is a noun, like “basketball” or “elf” or “mandarin orange.” It can also be a proper noun like “the Leaning Tower of Pisa.” Everyone is invited to share what they associate with that word. What does it mean to them? What does it remind them of? The group can go in any direction when reacting to the word, there are no limits. Often, people talk about how they first learned about this item, what meaning it had to them in childhood, or what they like or hate about it today

Give each person a 3X5 card. You pick the topic and let them write the questions. For example, you choose “friendship” as a topic, and they each write out a question for anyone in the group to answer about friendship. For example, “What do you value most in a friend?” or, “Who was your best friend growing up and why?” Then pile all the cards face down in the middle of the group and let people choose one to answer.

Small Group Activities


Me Too! (K-20)
First student gives a fact about themselves—I love basketball, I have two sisters, etc. If that statement or fact is true about another student, they stand up and say “Me too!” They can also stay seated, but simply raise their hand and say “Me too!”

Park Bench (6-20)
Two chairs are placed together to resemble park bench. Two students volunteer—or are selected—to act out “what happened” in a fictional news story. They are given one minute to prepare a scene where they discuss the “event” without every actually saying what happened. After given time period (1-5 minutes), peers guess “what happened,” but they must give up all four important details: Who, What, Where, and When, e.g.:
    What: College Basketball game Who: Kentucky and Kansas When: Early April Where: New Orleans

Fact or Fiction (Grades 3-12)
In circle, first student offers two facts and one piece of fiction about themselves. Others raise hand or are called on to identify which were facts, and which were fiction. The correct guesser goes next. Play is completed when all students have gone.

Green Door (Grades 5-20)
Leader chooses a topic, but keeps it quiet, only saying that “You can bring a ____ through the green door.” Students are then forced to deduce the topic by asking if other things can be brought through the green door as well, e.g., “Can I bring a _____ through the green door?” Leader can only reply yes or no. When topic is identified, topic resets. Topics can be content related, such as parts of speech, colors, geometric figures, historical figures, etc.

One Minute Talk (Grades 5-20)
Students are chosen to give 60 second talks on anything, from self-selected topics they are passionate about, have specific expertise in, etc., to topics given from teacher.

Count to Ten (Grades 3-20)
All students stand in circle. First student says “1,” or “1,2.” The next student picks up where that student left off, and can say a maximum number of 2 numbers. The movement continues clockwise until it gets to 10, where that student has to sit, and the game starts back over at 1 at the next student. Note that there can be no pausing or silent counting—any pauses or indications the student is counting/calculating forces them to sit. Also, pouting or talking during counting results in elimination from future rounds. The big idea is to count strategically so that you can keep from saying “10.”

I Never (Grades K-20)
Students form circle. First student says something they’ve never done. Each student that has done the thing the other student has not steps briefly into the center. The game continues until every person has stated something they’ve don

Magic Ball (Grades K-20)
Students form circle. First student is “given” imaginary magic ball. Student sculpts imaginary ball into new shape, handing it to person to their right. Activity is silent. Any talking/noise results in student sitting. After game, guessing may be done to predict what “sculpture” was.

Silent Line (Grades K-8)
Students are given a criteria, and must silently put themselves in a line as quickly as possible, to meet a goal, compete against other classes, or receive some reward (free reading time, no homework, etc.) The criteria can simple (birthdays), or slightly more complicated (alphabetical order of college or career ambition).

Inside-Outside Circle (Grades 3-20)
Students form a circle within a circle with (ideally) equal number of students in both circles. Inside circle members pair with outside circle members. Activity leader (usually teacher, but can be a student) presents a topic, prompt, or question. Partners share for 10 seconds (or less), leader asks inside circle to move clockwise a certain number of spaces to collaborate with new partners directly across from them. This is usually content focuses, and helps spur quick discussion on content related topics, or even current events.


The following activities are for groups of 5-20. Great for cabin time or for rainy days!

Everyone is sitting in a circle. One person has to shut their eyes while a leader is chosen. The leader than starts a rhythmic beat, and the group follows. The point of the game is for the person who had their eyes shut has to find the leader of the group. To make this work, you have to make sure that the leader changes beats periodically

The group sits in a circle. Begin to pass the word "AHH" to the person to your right or left. The next person passes with the word "So" to their right or left The next person points to someone in the circle and says "GO" the person pointed to either start a new pass with "AHH" or they can say "No" and the person who passed it must start with "AHH" Keep it going as quickly as possible.

The counselor calls out an item, and the first person or team to bring it back to you gets a point. Be creative. On a rainy day you can ask for things that they have in their suitcases as you play inside the cabin. Let the campers be creative also. If they don't have the hat that you asked for, let them convince you that the sock they brought is really a hat!

Players should be standing or sitting in a circle so that all can see each other. The first person chooses their ailment and describes it. They may say, for example, "I can't open my eye". Then they close one eye, and everyone else must close one eye. The next person may then say, "My left foot has the jumps" and bounces their foot up and down. Everyone must do the same while they continue to keep their eye closed. This continues around the circle, and by the time it reaches the end, everyone should be in stitches!!!

One player starts the game by saying "one". The others in turn say two, three, four, etc. But when SEVEN is reached, that player must say "buzz". The counting goes on, but each time there is a multiple of seven or a number with seven in it, the player must substitute the word "buzz". Each time the word "buzz" is used, the direction of counting can switch within the circle. If the kids get really good at this, add double digits to the list (11 ,22,33,etc.).

The group is seated around a table, one team on each side. One person is chosen to be "IT". "IT" puts his/her hands on the table while the others pass a quarter from hand to hand. When the person chosen to be "IT" says "Up Jenkins", all must put their elbows on the table, fists closed. When the one who is "IT" says, "Down Jenkins", all slap their hands on the table top hard enough to muffle the sound of the quarter hitting the table. "IT" must point to the hand under which they think the coin lies. If it isn't there, the hand is raised and counts one against "IT". "IT" keeps pointing at hands until the coin is found. Score may be kept to see who finds the coin with the least guesses.

Campers sit in a line and then person at the back draws an object on the back of the person in front of them. This continues on up the line with the last person guessing what the object was.

Campers sit in a circle. One person starts by asking someone, "John, do you know Mrs. Mumble." John then answers, "No, I do not know Mrs. Mumble" and then asks someone else. All this continues, the only catch is that each person talking cannot show any teeth or gums. If they do, they lie down and the game continues.

Send one person out of the room. Sit in a circle and pick a leader. The leader picks and action (snapping) and the group follows. The person sent out is brought back in and they try to guess whom the leader is. The leader changes the action throughout the game.


The leader asks the group to make a birthday circle with the leader included in the circle. The group forms a circle either verbally or non-verbally. This is a communication tool as well as a control tool. When all the children have lined up, have each player (starting with Jan. 1st) callout their birthdays (in order) and see if any have the same birthdays. At any time during your play sessions, the leader can say, "Birthday Circle!" and an instant circle can be created where everyone knows exactly where they need to be.
Center Spot
Place a dot in the center of the area. When the teacher calls for a number of students to get together, the students that don't have a group come to center spot to group up.
This is a great transitional activity that gets players from a scattered position to a circle very quickly. When the leader wants the circled formation s/he says, "Fill-in!' and upon that command, the group starts to power walk in a counterclockwise circle. The players fill in the opening until the spacing is good, at which time leader says, "Freeze!" and a nice circle has been formed.

This is a great way to determine who will be the "IT" for your next game. Have all participants stand in a circle, using the rock, scissor, paper technique, have everyone say: "Fing, Fang, Fooey." On the word "Fooey", each player will throw down 1, 2, or 3 fingers. Total the number of fingers and then count around the circle from the leader and the player that the number lands on becomes the "IT."

Have all participants scatter throughout the playing area to find a spot that they want to call their own. This space should be away from any of the other players. Ask participants to sit in their space and to remember exactly where it is. From time to time, the leader can call-out "Find your special space!" At this time, all participants need to stop what they are doing and go directly to their space and sit down.

Participants mill around the play area and each time the leader blows his/her whistle the participants group according to the number of times the leader blows his/her whistle. Example: group leader blows whistle 3x - the participants need to group in 3's.


Divide the group into two equal parts; one group stand together on one end of the log, and the other group stands together on the other end. The goal is to get the two groups to switch sides with each other, without touching the ground. The most common solution is people working in groups of three. One person sits down on the log as a second person steps over them. The third person is there to offer a stable hand to whoever needs it. Another variation is to get into some kind of fun order (ex. Make believe animals, age, height, etc.) Without speaking.

Either take a wood box, a tree stump, or tape out a square on the ground. Explain to the group that they need to get their entire group to stand on/in the box or stump and sing happy birthday, Jesus Loves Me, etc. as loud as they can. They must sing the whole song and they cannot have any other part of their body touching the ground outside of the box. Once they successfully do it on a larger box, give them a smaller area to do it in. This usually ends up as a huge group hug. The smallest people inside and the larger people outside, so they can reach around everyone else. Another helpful hint is that they do not have to be touching the board with both feet. They just cannot touch the ground. Many groups have had the outside people hold one of their feet up in the air to save space!

The object of the spider's web is to get the entire group through the web without ringing the bells or allowing the spider to fall from the web. Send two of the stronger people through the bottom holes first. Then start passing the other participants through the high holes saving another two of the stronger people to crawl through the remaining bottom holes at the end. You can add as many challenges to this element as you would like. For example, having a web hole magically close after a person passes through it. Taking away eyesight, speech or the ability to stand on two feet. Have fun with this element; it is a classic. Another way to do this is to use a piece of retired rope, and have the group feed it thru all the holes with out touching the web, this way no one is being lifted, and therefore cannot be dropped
Mountain Tops
This element is like a puzzle. The entire group must move from stump to stump without touching the ground until they reach the final point. After realizing that the two boards they were given are of different lengths, they should decide which board goes into which slots. Then place the first board and get the entire team to stand on it. Once the entire team is on the board, place the second board. Once the team has moved onto the second board, remove the first board, pass it forward and place it in the next slot and continue on.
Camp Is ...
Have participants get together with a partner. Begin by teaching the "Camp Is ... " handshake to everyone by demonstrating the words and motions. The words are simply "Camp is ... ;" but, on the word "Camp" the two players do a high 10 slapping both hands together. Immediately the hands rotate downward and clap together about waist high and it's here that the partners say: "is ... " The ending of the handshake is completely up to the participants. They must add on to the "Camp is ... " handshake by adding their own word(s) and own action. One option: Camp is "is cool!" while leaning against each other shoulder to shoulder and fanning ourselves.

Divide the group into two, three or four even teams, with members of each team lined up one in front of the other. The leader stands in front of the two teams and calls out a letter of the alphabet. The first player in each line must name anything one could buy in a grocery store that starts with that letter. The first one to callout a product, goes back to the end of his own line. The other players that were on the front of the line drop out. This is done until only one player remains. In the case of items being called out at the same time, the leader can either callout another letter for the players that tied the call to answer or these players can go to the ends of their lines and play again.

This is a variation to the Rock, Scissors, Paper game. This game has been around for thousands of years and has many variations. Players play until there is only one player left in the group. Each player has a partner to begin with. Play the regular RSP game. If you lose, you sit-down. If you win, you go and find another player that has won and challenge them. If, at any time, two players "Tie" (do the same sign), they both are out of the game. This game moves along very quickly and players sitting down won't be there very long. Have fun with this simple yet traditional game.

Group Builders For Leadership Teams

15 H1MS  
Group Size: 15 +
Time: 10 minutes + debrief
Materials: 15 small objects or tallies on a white board
  • Who thinks I had knowledge (that you did not have) when we started playing?
  • How does knowledge lead to power?
  • How can we use power in a positive way?
  • What type of knowledge do we need in real life to be empowered?

*Secret numbers: In order to win, make sure to pick up item numbers 2,6, and 10. For instance, if the other person begins and picks up one item, you pick up one—that is item number two. They pick up two more; you have to pick up two more, that is item number six, and so on.

Group Size: Partner activity (20-40 participants)
Time: 7 minutes + debrief
Materials: Toothpicks and Styrofoam cups
  • As a team, were you successful in reaching the goal? Why or why not? 
  • When did you realize the center cup was the TEAM cup or YOUR cup?
  • Who were the vocal leaders?The watchers? The thinkers?
  • The planners? Were there other roles?
  • What does the center cup represent to our group?
  • What is the goal we are ALL trying to reach together?
  • How does working on filling "one cup" or living our mission as group, serve us better than competing for our own successes?
Group Size: Partnership activity (any group size)
Time: 5 minutes + debrief
  • What was your overall goal?
  • What was an easy way to score points?
  • Did I ever say there can only be one winner, or even a winner at all?
  • What made you think it was a competition?
  • What happened when you tried to beat each other?
  • What happened when you worked together?
  • Why is a win-win outcome more effective and better for the group?
  • Where can we have more win-win outcomes as a group and in real life?

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION (Group Size: 5-8 participants per group
Time: 20 minutes + debrief
  • What was it like coming up with your piece?
  • How did it feel to present in front of the group?
  • What role did you play on your team?
  • Who enjoys presenting or speaking in front of a group?
  • Why is it important to have public speaking or delivery skills as a leader?
  • How can we practice our presenting skills?

Group Size: 15 +
Time: 10 minutes + debrief
  • Who enjoyed dancing in front of the group?
  • Who felt a little uncomfortable?
  • What things in life are you comfortable doing?
  • What is it called when you move out of your comfort zone? (learning zone)
  • What are some things in your learning zone?
  • How can we continually challenge ourselves and grow as leaders?
Group Size: 3-5 participants per group (large group)
Time: 10 minutes + debrief Materials: Flip chart paper, markers Debrief (ask some of these questions to each group after their presentation):
  • How did you come up with these wishes?
  • Are your wishes possible? How can you make them come true?
  • How did you reach an agreement?
  • Did you have similar or varied ideas?
  • What did you learn from this experience? 
  • How did you pick your presenter or presentation style?
1.     Have participants do the activity solo.
2.     Change the type of wishes. Example: Only things or accomplishments.
3.     Focus can be on personal goals.
Group Size: Any size
Time: 30 minutes + debrief
Materials: Paper, scissors, markers
  • Is there a difference between the two sides of your mask? Why or why not?
  • Do you ever "mask" the real you? If so, why? In what situations?
  • How can you show the world more of your personal side?
  • Were you surprised about what you learned of other people's masks?
Group Size: 25+
Time: 5 minutes + debrief
Materials: Small unwrapped candy (enough for everyone)
  • Please raise your hand high if you realized when you opened your eyes that you did not get a piece of candy.
  • Everyone else, please raise your hand if you knew these people did NOT have a candy.
  • Ask the people without candy how they felt when they opened their eyes. (At this time, you can show the group how they responded. They typically step back and stay quiet).
  • How is our school similar to this experience?
  • How can we "share our candy"—or our time and energy—with those students who need our attention?

Group Size: Groups of 4 (any group size)
Time: 8 minutes + debrief
Materials: Colored piped cleaners
  • As team, how did you come up with that symbol?
  • Did you find it easy or difficult to be creative in this way? Why?
  • In what ways can you create a lunchtime activity if all you had was tennis balls, cups, and cones?
  • How does being creative help solve problems or create new ideas?
Group Size: Teams of 10-15 (2 or more teams)
Time: 10 minutes + debrief
Secret: They can do piggy back rides, hop, crawl on hands and feet to reach the number!
  • What led to your success in this activity?
  • How did you come up with your solutions?
  • The person who was sharing the loudest, did they have the "right" solution?
  • How many solutions were there?
  • How does being creative help us on our projects?
Group Size: 15+
Time: 7 minutes + debrief
  • What was the difficulty like in this challenge?
  • To be successful did you have to have skill, luck, neither, or both?
  • Did you notice if you were being competitive or just wanting to have fun?
  • In life, when you get"out"or mess up, what type of attitude do you have?

Group Size: 15+; Time is flexible
  • Describe your life as an ant at a family picnic.
  • What would you do if you had a tail?
  • Describe your perfect pet.
  • Tell about the most embarrassing moment of your life.
  • What would you like to invent to make your life easier?
  • Describe the worst gift you ever received.
  • What qualities do you look for in a friend?
  • What is the best age to be?
  • Describe a turning point in your life.

Group Size: Partner activity (any group size)
Time: 8 minutes + debrief
  • What was this experience like for you?
  • How did you come up with your actions?
  • How can improvising in school/life be effective?
  • How can improvising in school/life be a disadvantage?

Group Size: Partner activity (any group size)
Time: 15 minutes + debrief
Sample Topics:
  • What do you value in a friend?
  • What are the easiest and hardest emotions for you to express and why?
  • What is a motto by which you live?
  • What do you value most in life?
  • What do you like most about yourself?
  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What is one goal you have for next year?
  • What do you value in a loving relationship?

Larger Group (30+) Activities

This time, when "IT" tags a person, the person must hold hands with "IT", and the two of them run around together trying to tag others. The object is to capture everyone.
VARIATION ... The blob may be allowed to break up into smaller blobs and chase others. They must have at least four per blob. If one group yells, "Blobs Unite", all of the blob groups must get back together.

Divide the group into two teams. Have each team line up one person in back of another, placing hands on the hips of the person in front of them. Place a handkerchief under the belt of the last person in each line (not tied, but loose). Line up both teams so that the first person on both teams are facing each other. At the starting signal, the first person must attempt to get to the back of the other team and grab the handkerchief. A point is scored when the handkerchief is grabbed. A team also scores a point if the other team "breaks" apart, even if only one hand is dropped from a hip.

When a person is tagged by "IT", they must freeze with their legs spread a little further than shoulder width. When another player wants to "unfreeze" them, they must crawl between their legs. The leader must continue to switch the person who is "IT" so one camper is not running for too long.

Everyone is "it" in this game. When a camper gets tagged the first time, they put a "bandage" (which is their right hand) on the spot where they were tagged. They do the same for the second time they are tagged with their left hand. When they are tagged the third time, they must sit down and yell for a "medic." This counselor comes over and has the camper do something or simply tells them they are healed and then they run again.

Each team is formed of five or more players and a captain. Teams are an equal distance from the leader who shouts a letter of the alphabet. The captain then quickly arranges teammates in a formation to look like the letter called. The captain can be part of the letter. The first team to finish wins the round.

The player get into a line shoulder to shoulder, and each facing the opposite way. Two it's are choose, one to chase and one to be chased. The person being chased can only run in one direction, it chaser can run any dierstion they want. The chaser my get out of trouble by stepping in line BEHIND someone. When that happens the person who was stepped behind become the person being chased. When some gets tagged the become it and chase the other. NOTE if someone is having trouble cetching the other person, the leader can always decide to switch the person who is it at any time.

Couples stand spread out with elbows hooked between them. One player runs around between these couples while another player chases. If the runner is caught, the roles reverse. The runner can get a break by hooking elbows with one of the couples, creating a trio, forcing the person on the opposite end of the trio to now become the runner.

Tell the players that the object of this game is to build a group machine. One person starts an action and adds an accompanying sound (e.g., an arm moves up and down while saying "BEEP"). One at a time, other players hook on with a different action and sound until all are part of the "machine."
Kids find a partner and decide what animal they would like to be together. Some one is Noah and then tries to tag all the animals. The partner's must run together and when they are tagged they go to the ark. Probably just a grassy spot, unless you feel like making an ark for the effect and to make the game more interesting. Directions for building an ark are found in Gen. 6: 14-16.

Campers are split into 2 teams each having half of the field. Each team has a "jail" at the back of their half of the field. Once players cross to the other teams half, they can be tagged by that team and put in jail. If a player makes it to the other team's jail, they get a free walk/run back holding up the hand of a teammate they've rescued. Players can also put the other team's members in jail by crossing to their side and running in a circle around them and back to their own side without being tagged.

Designate a "safety zone" at each end of the playing field. Choose someone to be the "captain" and have the rest go to one of the safety zones. Each round begins with the group singing a taunting song to the captain: Ships across the ocean, ships across the sea. Captain, captain, you can't catch me! The captain then calls out a descriptor (clothing color, type of shoe, etc.) and all who match it must run to the other side. Whoever the captain tags must stop and freeze where they got tagged to become seaweed-seaweed may tag others trying to cross, but must remain seated and move only their arms. Those who make it to the opposite safety zone survive to brave the ocean again. Sometimes it helps to have more than one captain with very large groups. Anther way to play is the 2 IT's and the frozen people are Wheat, the called line is "Sarah and Abraham, May we please cross your wild wild wheat field"

All players are arranged in a large circle. One player is chosen to be the president and stands in the center of the circle, and another player is chosen to be the secret service agent, and they stand in front of the president. The point of the game is for the people in the circle to try to hit the president with a throwable object. The secret service agent is to guard the president by blocking the object. The president is not allowed to move during the game. When someone hits the president they become the secret service agent, the secret service agent becomes the president, and the president joins the circle. Safety rule: shots to the head of the president DO NOT count so don't throw at the head, and all throws MUST be underhand. Encourage the player to pass the object around the circle to tire the SSA out and get a clear shot.

Form groups of four. Have one person step away from the group while the other three pick who is "it." The fourth person comes back and the other three hold hands in a triangle as the fourth tries to figure out who is "it" and tag them.

This new game variation changes the way you score. Teams receive one, two, or three points, depending on how many different team members hit the ball before sending it over the net.

Just  For  Fun  Games

Starting with a large group in a fairly confined space, invite everyone to find a partner. Next, one partner is asked to turn around in place three times (the tagger) while their partner moves off to another location. If the tagger manages to touch their partner, (by walking - not running) these two people change roles. The new tagger rotates three times while their partner moves off to hide amongst the other players.
One of the most interesting components of this activity occurred during the debriefing process at the end of the activity. Pat asked, "when you were a tagger, those other people in the room, did they help or hinder you?" Most folks suggested that they hindered them. "But when you were trying to evade your tagger, were those same people helpful?" This time, the answer was a resounding yes. "How then is it possible that the same people could be both helpful and a hinderance at the same time?" Which brought about some very interesting conversation about the value of our contributions.

This is a fun, light-hearted, competitive (and noisy) activity. Ask everyone to find a partner and play Rock, Paper, Scissors.   The person who wins the match advances, the person who lost joins the winner's "team" as an enthusiastic fan and cheerleader. Winners continue to play by finding another undefeated participant to play against, while their growing fan bases cheers them on. Play until one person wins the final match and all the fans. Congratulations!  This is super easy and super fun!  Give it a will rapidly become your favorite game

Partners face each other, with hands behind their backs. On the count of three, they each present one hand, with fingers showing from zero (a fist) to five (all fingers showing). The first partner to correctly count the total number of fingers showing (theirs and their partner's) wins! For round two, partners can display one or both hands (answers range from zero to twenty). In round three, three players form a small group, starting play with one hand (answers range from zero to fifteen). And finally, for the highest level, three players with both hands (answers ranging from zero to thirty). One of the take-aways from this mathematically playful experience is the element of good sportsmanship. When your partner happens to win a round, they deserve a high five and a 'good job,' from their opponent. Teaching audiences how to play well together and with sportsmanship is a valuable life skill indeed.
A large circle is formed, with players standing. One person is selected to be the tagger and stands inside the circle. At the center of the circle is an object (a shoe, a stuffed animal, a book, even a cardboard box). We'll choose a mitten for this example. The goal of the tagger is to tag someone moving inside the circle, and trade places with them. But during this process two other hilarious things can happen. First, two players on opposite sides of the circle can attempt to exchange places. This can temporarily distract the tagger, which makes the next heroic move even more possible. And that is for a single person to run to the center, lift the object above their head and yell, "I am the mitten king!" and make it back to their original location (or a new position that opens up) without being tagged.
If they manage to return without being tagged, they are indeed The Mitten King!

Here is an excellent and brief activity for a large group of people. For each person in the group, there are two other people that are very important to them. One is a fire-breathing dragon (oh no!). But that's ok, because the other is a knight in shining armor. Once each person has chosen who will play these roles for them (without telling them who they are), the game begins. Each player attempts to stand in a position where their knight in shining armor stands between them and the fire breathing dragon. What happens next is pure chaos, as players begin to move around, quickly trying to get in the proper position. But alas, this configuration never settles, as players continuously try to position themselves as best they can.

Here is a game for partners that requires split second timing. Each round has three beats. On beats one and two, opponents slap their knees with their open hands. On the third beat there are three possible moves (each one requires both players to hold their hands in six-shooter position - or water pistol position, if you prefer).
1.     A player can raise both hands to the sky. This is the loading position (as rain falls, it fills your water pistol!)
2.     A player can cross their arms in front of them (making an X). This is the 'block' position -which prevents you from getting wet.
3.     A player can aim both barrels at their opponent. This is the 'shooting' position.
The goal is to get your partner 'wet.' When one partner is in the shooting position, and their partner is in the loading position, the loading partner gets wet.
Each player must 'load' before 'shooting.' It is possible however, to load several times, and then shoot several times, if desired.

In a small group of players, one ninja invites the others to take their position, with much ceremony and respect.
Ninja is basically a hand slapping game. At the very beginning, players stand in various combat positions. The lead ninja is allowed to make one simple movement with their arm in an attempt to connect with another player's hand. The only point of contact allowed is hand to hand. The opponent in this case is also allowed a simple movement to avoid contact. If contact is made, that opponent is out. If not, play continues with the opponent having another simple movement to connect (with the player on either side of them). A simple moment is described as a single fluidly-moving body part (arm, body, elbow), while a complex move would involve multiple movements of arms, legs and body at the same time. As ninjas are eliminated, players may use their turn to advance their position towards another opponent instead of striking. Play continues until a champion ninja is identified.  
Partners work together in this great game of human connection. Begin by inviting players to find a partner and form a large circle. The leader of this activity stands in the center of the circle and shouts out various (appropriate) body parts that the partners must connect. If for example, they yell, "elbow to elbow," both partners would touch one of their elbows to one of their partner's elbows. "Hand to ear," would connect one partner's hand to the other partner's ear. "Toe to toe," would connect at least one of each partner's toes to the other. Partners continue to hold their first connection point as they attempt to complete the second and third connections as well. After three commands, the leader yells, "people to people," and players scatter attempting to find a new partner for themselves (so does the leader). If the leader is successful in finding a new partner, the person without a partner become the new leader and begins the process again.
This communication activity requires three people per team. All three are needed to help find an object that has been placed in the playing area.
  • One Seeker - Who is searching for an object in the play area with their eyes closed and listening to the Communicator for directions.
  • One Director - Who watches the Seeker, but cannot speak. The Director must use signals (point) to assist the Communicator.
  • One Communicator - Who can talk, but whose back is to the Seeker. They must watch the Director and then shout instructions to the Seeker.
The challenge here is for the Director to steer the Seeker by instructing the Communicator who tells the Seeker where to go (forward, to your right, etc.). The object can be any small item (poker chip, playing card, shoe, cell phone). This situation is made a bit more challenging as multiple teams attempt to work in the same space. Some teams may even set out to steal your object before your Seeker can find it.

Here is an activity that combines creative problem solving and construction. Invite the members of your medium size group to take off both shoes. Toss one shoe in a pile and the other shoe in another pile. Next divide this group into two smaller teams. Each of these smaller teams takes one of the piles of shoes (they are identical) and attempts to create the tallest tower they can from only these resources. The challenge here is to find a way to stack these shoes, to create the tallest tower possible.

This physical challenge is best with partners of similar physical size. Stand facing your partner, with feet together, hands up (so that you could touch your partner's shoulders, but don't). In this sport, the only body parts that can contact each other are the player's hands. Players are asked NOT to interlock the fingers of their hands with their opponent's. The challenge here is to force your partner to take a step in any direction from their present position, by pushing with your palm against the palm of their hand. Strategies that work include brute force, faking contact, different pressure on each hand and a few more that you are sure to discover while playing.
This playful game is a great way to quickly mix your audience and an ideal method for dispersing a large group in a slow and orderly fashion. Begin by demonstrating the following commands to your audience:
  • Captain's Coming: Everyone stands and salutes the Captain (facilitator).
  • Front of the Ship: Everyone moves to the bow of the ship.
  • Back of the Ship: Everyone moves to the stern of the ship.
  • Mid-Ship: Everyone moves to mid-ship.
  • Dinnertime: Five people required. One forms a 'table' on their hands and knees, four other players kneel around the four sides of this table and mime eating.
  • Lighthouse: Four people required. One player stands in the middle, arms raised and 'beeps' as the lighthouse. Three other players join hands and circle around this person.
  • Row Ashore: Three people required. One person lies flat on the ground, two people stand over them using their arms to make 'rowing' movements (like paddling a canoe).
  • Couples Dancing: Couples dance in ballroom position.
  • Swab the Deck: Individuals. Everyone individually kneels to the floor and 'scrubs' it.
After demonstrating these commands to the crew, the Captain (facilitator) barks these commands out in random order while moving the entire crew from the bow to the stern to mid-ship and back again. Crew members successfully completing each command remain in the game while those without sufficient partners or failing to complete a command quickly and properly are asked to do one of the following:
  • Leave the game. Use this version if you want to slowly disperse your group on to the next activity location. This is an ideal way to serve snacks during a program, so that your entire audience does not immediately flock to the serving tables.
  • Form a continuous chain with other outcasts, walking about and singing 'yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!' until all players are members of the outcast group.

Wah is a game of the samuari (well, probably not, but it is fun to frame it that way!) So when you say, 'Wah!' you can't say it with a New York accent, you need to say it like a samuari, 'WHAT There are three basic movments to this game. Begin with multiple circles of about 8 people in Wha position - feet slightly spread (like the capital letter A), hands together, pointed forwards. In each circle, one person will volunteer to begin the game. This first person gains eye contact with another person, points to them with both hands and says, "Wha!" The second person now raises both of their hands straight up over their head, and says, "Wha!" The third and final move involves the two people standing on each side of person two, who make non-contact lumberjack chopping motions towards person number two, and also say "Wha!" If each person completes their task and says 'Wha!' with gusto and on time, the game continues. But, if anyone is early or late in the performance of their duty, or they just mess up, they are 'out' of the game. But the good news is, they are not permanently out of the game. They can quickly move to another circle and immediately get back into the game. After the third movement is completed, person number two (whose hands are still raised high above their head) become the first person in the next round, points to one of their group members and evokes the command, "Wha!" And the game continues.
Type of Activity: Problem Solving, Diversity
Purpose: This activity focuses on inclusion and diversity.
Props Needed: A deck of playing cards, preferably jumbo playing cards
Set Up: Plays well with 10 or more. Activity will focus on inclusion and diversity. Shuffle your deck of cards and give one to each participant. Ask them not to look at the face of the card.
Process:  As you explain the directions, ask the participants to hold their card so the face is down towards the floor. Tell them that in a moment you are going to ask them to place that card to their forehead. They are not to look at their own card, but everyone else can see their card. Instruct them that you are going to be intentionally vague with the directions. Figuring out what to do is a part of the game.
This activity involves the participants mingling around the room, holding their card on their forehead, and treating each other based on the face value of the cards that they see. You can play this game silently or you can allow talking—both ways are powerful. Playing the game silently usually has a more powerful impact. If you choose this option, instruct the group that they do not have the resource of their voice. Then ask them to place their card to their forehead and say, "Please treat each other based on the face value of the card that you see. Ready, Go." The mingling begins and there is some slight confusion at first. Some participants are uncertain how to treat others.

Typical behaviors are:
The royalty cards are usually bowed down to, given high fives, and generally treated very well.
Most cards want to 'hang out' with the high cards. Usually royalty cards start grouping together.
The middle cards are pretty much ignored. They sometimes get a 'so-so' hand motion demonstrated to them or a shrug of the shoulders.
The low cards are treated many different ways. Some get a dismissive hand gesture; some get the letter 'L' sign on a forehead depicting 'Loser.' Some low cards will get a pretend kick their way or dirty looks by others. Some will get a thumbs down motion. These behaviors are obvious and can look somewhat severe to onlookers. Often participants with low cards will form smaller subgroups and begin to back out of the middle of the mingling area.
After some mingling, ask the participants to stop talking and stand still—DON'T LOOK AT THE CARDS YET! Ask the group to separate into what group they think they are in, low cards, middle cards, or high cards. Participants place themselves based on how they were treated. When everyone is in a group, ask the participants to look around the room at the order of cards on each participant's forehead, and then look at their own card.
NOTE: This game can bring up some interesting emotions that you may have to deal with.  These are the teachable moments! Some teachable moments are more powerful than others for different people. Keep a watchful eye over all your participants. Make sure they all leave the activity with their self-esteem intact.

Type of Activity: Problem Solving
Props Needed: Jumbo deck of Playing Cards
Set Up: Give each participant a card and ask them not to look at it
Process:   Place the card on their forehead. Ask them to play 'Blackjack' but everyone in the group must be included in a group that equals a combined value of 19, 20, or 21.
Simple blackjack rules in case you are unfamiliar with it: Aces equal a value of 1 or 11. Royalty cards equal a value of 10. All other number cards are face value.  If you give them a range of 19,    20, and 21 they should be able to include EVERYONE in the group no matter how many participants you have. Even groups of 15 should be able to do it as long as there are a few aces thrown in. To make it a little harder throw a Joker card in and make it a 'wild' card, so it can be whatever value they want it to be.
  • How did you get into your groups?
  • Did anyone feel left out?
  • How did it feel when someone helped you find a partner?

GET 20
Type of Activity: Problem Solving
Props Needed: Jumbo deck of Playing Cards
Set Up: Invite your participants to get into groups of 4 or 5. Give each participant one card. For this game face cards have a value of 10.
Process: Ask them to use any math function (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) to get their cards into a sequence that would equal the number 20. For example, if one group had a cluster of cards that are these values: a King(10), Ace (1 or 11), 5, 6 and 8, the group would get into a line and explain to the group how they equal 20: a King plus an Ace would be 11,11 plus 8 equals 19, 19 plus 6 equals 25. 25 minus 5 equals 20. Make sense? Occasionally you will have groups that will not be able to make their cards work for a value of
20.    In this case you can invite other groups to invite a 'card' to their group and make a new sequence. You can also switch up cards to keep the same group intact but with different cards.
Variation: Have the group present their favorite equation by performing it for the other group. Group stands in order showing their cards and team members make symbols using body parts for plus, minus, time, divide, etc.
  • How did your group work together to come up with 20?
  • Were you able to come up with more than one solution?
  • How did you involve everyone in your group?

Team Building Initiatives

Blindfold your group, and have them stand in a circle holding onto a rope. Have them form a square or triangle shape while blindfolded. No one may let the rope leave their hands for more than five seconds and the group must decide together when they think they have formed the shape, at that time, they can remove their blindfolds. To make this harder, have the group stand in circle blindfolded and toss the rope 10 feet away from the group. They must first find the rope and then make the shapes you have requested.

Have the group get in a circle and all sit on each other's lap, while remaining in a circle. Once balanced, have them do things like walk three steps forward, backwards, clap, etc.

This activity requires a good amount of trust and group cooperation. Get a volunteer from the group to lie down on the ground. The rest of the group positions themselves around the sides of that volunteer. One camper should be assigned to pay special attention to the volunteer's head and neck, and this camper will give the command to lift. After a simple "1 ... 2 ... 3 ... LIFT!" the group will lift the volunteer up fully over their heads (or at least as high as the shortest campers arms will reach!) Use another count to ~ lower the volunteer. Now give each camper a shot at it!

A small group stands in a circle, touching shoulders, and eyes closed. The group must
try to count to 20. The rules are that only one person can say a number at a time (if 2 people say "12" at the same time, the group goes back to 0). One person cannot say more than one number in a row and the next person to go cannot be the person standing next to the one who just spoke.

The group must transport everyone across a thirty foot area using only four points of simultaneous contact with the ground (e.g. Foot, hand, knee, etc.) All campers must start at the marked starting point and cross the finish line. Once a body part has touched the ground it must stay and counts as one point throughout the game.

Ask your group to get in a circle. Explain that you are going to toss the ball to someone and that they need to throw it to another person who hasn't received the ball. They need to remember who they got it from and who they threw it to. Repeat the ball sequence this a few times, in the same order. Say that you are going to time them, and time it as fast as they can. Initially, it will average around 1.2 seconds per person. See if they can reduce their time by working more closely, and suggest they work harder. Keep encouraging them to drop the time. Don't be strict with the rules, allowing just about any suggesting. Sample ideas to allow: "Let's rearrange the circle so that the person standing next to you is the one you throw the ball to." "How about arrange the palm of our hands up so the ball simply rolls from hand to hand?" Show the group how the impossible becomes possible ..

You will need several plastic hoops and a playing area large enough for the group to move around. Divide into smaller groups and line them up. Make the first person in each line the "starter." The remaining people in each line then need to hold hands with persons in front and behind them. Members hold hands with the person behind them by placing their left hand between their legs. The starters place one hoop at a time on the head of the first person in the line, which then passes the hoop, without breaking his/her grip, to the next person in line. After the starter has passed the hoop down the line 3 times he/she then becomes the first person in line. As the hoop reaches the end of the line, the last person takes it to the front and becomes the starter, this cycle repeats itself until the original starter is back at the starter position. The "winning" team is the one who completes this task first.

All of the members of the group stand in a circle. Reach arms directly into the circle and grasp the hands of other members in the group. Now the task is to untangle the mess. No one should drop hands in order to do this. One note of caution ... make sure that no one takes the hand of the person standing next to them and that no one takes both hands of the same person.

Have all youth get on the towel/tarp and have them flip it over without getting off of the tarp/towel. Once they flip it successfully without stepping off the tarp/towel, fold 1/3 of the tarp/towel under and have them try again.

Give the campers a beach ball and scatter them throughout an area. The object is to keep the ball afloat by either hitting or kicking it, without letting it touch the ground. The campers try as a group to get to the highest score possible, giving one point for a hit and two points for a kick. No person can hit it twice in a row. After that, give the players a sequence, and players have to hit the ball in the sequenced order, requiring more team work.
Split into groups of 3-4. Explain that their goal is to get from point A to point B (twenty feet away). The only catch is, their group of 3- 4 is a monster and only four feet, two knees, five hands and one elbow can touch the ground as they move (make up however many limbs you want to allow). They must work as one unit. Race the groups across.

Create a box about 10XI0. Have the players assemble on one side, and explain to them that they have to get their entire group across with only four steps for the ENTIRE group. Once a player steps into the box (peanut butter river) their feet are stuck. (Answer: Don't tell the kids!! The group has to make a bridge with their feet, and the group steps on the 4 feet located within the box)

The group is given a piece of tape or chalk, and they must make an attempt to place a mark as high as possible on a wall or smooth surface. If you have a few different groups you can number the tape. The group is not allowed to use the tree or wall for climbing, but only as a support. Use a large diameter tree or smooth wall, and make sure the ground below is free of large roots, etc., in case of a fall. The leader should always help with spotting.

Ask participants to line up facing the back of the person in front of them. Stand at the back of the line and ask that person to face you. Give that person a short scene to act out (filling a car with gasoline). Then ask that person to act the scene for the next person in line who turns around to watch. The scene is then passed from person to person as each turns around to watch and then acts for the next person. At the end, talk about how the scene was changed and how rumors also distort and change stories.

Get the Norwegian skis from wherever they are stored at camp and have the group stand on them. They now have to walk as a group ("ski") with the skis. Next challenge the group with greater distances or patterns (circle).

Split the group into partners. Have the pairs sit on the ground back to back and link their elbows through their partner's. On the count of three, have them try to stand up together. Next, have two sets of two get together and try this (4 people). Keep adding on, and see how high you can go.

Set a distance of about the length of a basketball court. (You should use grass for this activity for safety. You can shorten this for younger campers.) The object is to move the whole group across the area as quickly as possible in the following manner. To cross an open area, a person must be carried. The carrier must return and be carried on the next trip across the field. If the carried person touches the ground while being transported, both members must return to the start. Only the last person can walk across the field.

Materials: A blindfold for each pair of campers. Tell campers that as Christians we often walk by faith and not by sight. Ask campers to line up in order of birthdays from January 1 to December 31. Then pair campers with the person next to them in line. Have one partner put on a blindfold. Tell the other campers that they are to lead their blindfolded partner around the area by touching one finger to their partner's finger. Give them time to explore and then switch partners. Remind them to be safe and avoid dangerous areas. Bring the group together and ask each camper to share what it felt like to be blind and trusting someone else. Also ask what it felt like to be the one with sight and responsible for the partner's safety.

Set-up: ahead of time run a piece of rope around several trees with no exit! The more twists and turns the better, don't let your group see the maze in advance. Blindfold your entire group and carefully lead them into the maze. Tell them they can not go over or under the rope and there is a way out. The only way for someone to exit is to verbalize that they need help or they can't do it alone. Once people are out, they may talk but do not give away the secret. Once the entire group is out, talk about how we all need help even with simple things.

The group will form a tight circle facing in, with one camper selected to stand in the center. The circle should stand with one leg in front of the other, and should have their hands up-spotting position. Blindfold the volunteer in the center (or just use closed eyes) and instruct him/her to try to remain as stiff as possible with hands in pockets or at the sides, and feet firmly planted in the center at all times. The volunteer should fall backwards into the waiting arms of the circle. The circle will then pass the volunteer's torso around the circle-like a willow wand the volunteers top may sway, but his/her feet stay rooted in the center the entire time. Try passing directly across the circle and reverse directions of passing, but be sure to keep it safe and gentle.

Digital  Ice  Breakers

Students use a web tool or app to create a video, comic strip, poster, book, or slideshow that includes the following: 3 things we should know about you, 2 hobbies, 1 dream job.

Students write down 3 activities they want to complete within their lifetime. They get into pairs and discuss their lists. They choose one bucket list activity to animate in a short video or comic strip. Useful web tools include GoAnimate, Powtoons, Little Bird Tales, ToonDoo, and Makebeliefs Comix. Useful apps include BuddyPoke 3D Avatar Creator, Tellagami, Drawing Cartoons, Comics Head, and Friendstrip. Find more activities and ideas in this lesson plan I wrote, A Visual Bucket List.

Students can introduce themselves with a Voki avatar or try one of these free avatar creators! Find several student examples here.

Each student will need to use a piece of paper or a drawing app like Tackk, Educreations, Magic Paintbrush, or Sketchbook Express. Name a category like favorite dessert, cartoon, sports team and so forth for students to draw the answers to on their tablets. Give them 30 seconds. When the time is up they should lift up their drawings and run to a peer they believe drew a similar choice. Give them 1 minute to talk about their drawings and exchange one fact or experience related to the choice. Find the Knowledge Swap handout that accompanies this activity in Learning to Go.

Students can use digital poster and scrapbook tools and apps to create goal collages and vision boards. In the poster they include learning goals, personal goals, inspiring images, motivational quotes, and sayings to support them in achieving their goals. Try any of these tools: Buncee, Tackk, Biteslides, Smore, ThingLink, or Pic-Collage
Give each student 3 notecards. Students write on one side a category like a talent, hobby, dream job, or favorite place. On the other side they write down an answer but show no one. Divide students into small groups. Each group will need to use a drawing app like Tackk, Educreations, Magic Paintbrush, or Sketchbook Express. Students stack all the cards with the categories facing up. When you start the timer, one student chooses a card and draws the word(s) on the app. The group tries to guess the answer and who it describes before the time runs out.

Divide students into small groups (3 to 5 students). Each student spends about 30 seconds sharing a personal photo from a mobile device and the anecdote behind the photo.

Students create multimedia timelines highlighting significant moments using a tool like Capzles or Popplet which both have free apps for i-devices.

Use a word cloud tool like Tagxedo or the Image Chef app. They can also do this as a digital poster using tools like Buncee, Tackk, Biteslides, Smore, ThingLink, or Pic-Collage.

Students choose one of the Mobile Show and Tell images to recreate as a group. They share the original then the newly created photo.

Pair students or divide them into small groups. Show them the Animal Selfies Tumblr or the Selfie Animal Tips video. They choose a favorite and write down reasons they liked this selfie. Then give each pair a stuffed animal, doll, character, or sock puppet. They will have to create 2 or more awesome selfies of this character.

Big  Circle  Games

Also known by such names as Speed Rabbit, Circus and Statues, this game does a great job of mingling together the members of a group. The first version I encountered began by teaching the formation for 'elephant.' In this inital version, one person (it) approaches three members of the circle, and pointing to the middle member of the group says, "elephant!" This person then takes both hands, makes fists, places them together upon their own nose to form the trunk of the elephant, while the two players on each side of this central person take their closest hand and form one ear of the elephant by placing their open hand behind the ears of the middle player. The last person to successfully place their hands in the correct position trades places with 'it' and goes off to select another collection of three players at a different location in the circle. Once players have experienced 'elephant' you can include other animals, such as 'crocodile,' where the central person extends both arms, like the long jaws of the crocodile, and the two people on each side provide the quick moving tiny feet. Additional choices can include 'palm tree,' where the central player raises their hands above their head like a giant palm tree, and the two people on each side play the role of hula dancers. You can even increase the number of group members to five by playing 'firecracker,' where the central person slaps their hands together as if they were lighting a match, the next two people outwards make the sound of the fuse burning ('Sssssss...") and the final two people provide the 'bang' sound. Best of all, you can play ALL of these variations at the same time, so that participants have to be ready for any variety of animals or scenes that they must recreate when needed.

An Energy Ball is an imaginery ball (about the size of a soccer ball) that gets passed around a circle of seated players using some specific commands. In this game, if you happen to make a mistake, you are not out, but merely need to correct your mistake and continue the game. Because of the imagination necessary to play, one of the very first things required in this game is for someone to create the Energy Ball. It can arrive in a box, like a present. It can be baked like a cake. It can be inflated like a tire. Be creative, and invent your own method. Next, there are a few specific commands that allow players to move the ball around the circle.
  • Pass - using their right hand to pass to the left, or their left hand to pass to the right (always crossing over the midpoint of their own body), players say, "pass," and then illustrate with their hands which direction the ball is to travel. Pass can only be used to keep moving the ball in the same direction it is presently traveling. In order to reverse direction, you need:
  • Bink - players hold their forearm straight up, to form a wall that the ball hits, bounces off and continues in the opposite direction.
  • Bounce - this command, which includes a chopping motion with one hand, bounces the Energy Ball at the feet of your neighbor (skipping past them) and arriving at the next player in that direction. The bounce command skips a person.
  • Over - this command allows a player on one side of the circle to pass the Energy Ball across the circle to a player on the other side. 

Using both hands (like they are throwing a ball with two hands) a player points towards the intended receiver of the Energy Ball, and says, "over." And finally, one of the greatest Energy Ball moves of all time, The Schwa!
The Schwa - is a behind the back (basket-ball like) pass that reverses direction and skips a person. If the Energy Ball is approaching from the left, a player would take their right hand, swing it around to the right, and behind their back (reversing the direction of the ball and skipping a person), while saying (as theatrically as possible), "Schwaaaaaaahhhhh!"
Now set the Energy Ball in motion and see how far you can send it without making a mistake. Or try creating new commands to move the Energy Ball, such as standing to twirl with the Energy Ball, or the entire group doing 'the wave.'

With partners standing back-to-back, demonstrate three possible characters. I typically use:
  • The Tiger - hands raised like claws and roaring.
  • The Rootin' Tootin' Cowboy - right hand over the head, swinging a lasso, and yelling 'Ye-haw!'
  • The Lullaby Fairy Princess - hands raised to the side and as they slowly drop, saying, "Ahhhhhh!'
When the group leader says, "1 - 2 - 3," partners quickly turn to face their partner and immediately demonstrate the character that they believe their partner is about to do. If both partners demonstrate the same character, they have ESP, and should high five each other. Play again, and this time encourage participants to think carefully about their partner. Which character are they most likely to be? Ready? 1-2-3! After a round or two with the same partner, encourage players to select a new partner and see if they can have ESP with this new person.
Also known as Vampire, 1-2-3 Scream, and Screaming Toes, this no prop game incorporates two unusual components: strategy and screaming! Begin with players standing in a small circle, and ask them to look down at their feet. When prompted to, 'look up,' each person is asked to stare directly at just one other player in the circle. If the person they are looking at also happens to be looking at them, both players scream. In the traditional version of the game, the first time your scream, you loose the use of one eye (which you cover up with one hand). Play continues, and if a one eyed player screams again, they are out, and the circle shrinks until only one or two players remain. If you like this game and would like to increase the energy (and noise level), try this variation, the first time two players look at each other, they scream, and the person who stops screaming first is out! I've actually seen players fall over from laughing so hard during this version of the game.
Pulse is an outstanding no prop table game, and it can be played on the floor as well. Begin with a small group of players seated, with one hand flat on the surface of a table. Imagine that there is a hinge at each player's wrist. The group leader begins the pulse by pointing out the direction the pulse will begin to travel (to the right or to the left) and then raising the fingers of their hand (while their wrist stays in contact with the table), and slapping the table once. The pulse moves in the direction stated, and the next person continues by slapping the table once, as the pulse continues to travel around the table.
At any point, a player can slap the table once or twice. If they slap once, the pulse continues in the same direction. If they slap twice, the pulse reverses direction and goes the other way. If anyone around the table lifts even a single finger when it is not their turn, they lose that hand for the duration of the round. Play continues until approximately half of the group has been eliminated, then players move up to the next higher level of challenge.
  • Round One - players place just one hand on the table. 
  • Round Two - players use both hands, side-by-side. 
  • Round Three - players use both hands, but cross them (to form an X) so that their right hand is on the left, and their left hand is on the right.
  • Round Four - players use both hands, but reach outwards so that their right hand crosses over the left hand of the person on their right and their left hand crosses over the right hand of the person on their left, forming X's with the partner on each side.
  • Round Five - players revert back to the starting positions in Round Two (two hands, side-by-sde) but an additional technique is allowed. If a player slaps the table with a fist, the pulse jumps over the next hand in that direction. If they make a fist and double-slap the table, the pulse reverses direction and skips a hand in the new direction.

While I first learned this activity as 'Who Is It?' I like the modernized name provided by players in a Youth Development program in greater Boston. One member of the group is chosen to leave the immediate area (step outside the room), while another member of the group is chosen to be the leader. This person initiates a movement, motion or sound, which the rest of the group follows and continues as the first person returns to the center of the group. The goal for the returning person is to identify within three guesses which person is The Beat Master (i.e. the person who is the leader). The Beat Master can alter their movements continuous, so that hand clapping turns to finger snapping to arm waving, to foot stomping. The members of the group who follow The Beat Master should help to draw focus away form their leader. Once The Beat Master is identified, the person in the center of the circle chooses another person to leave the group, and also chooses the new Beat Master.

THIS IS MY NOSE (A Game of Opposites) 
One person begins by walking up to another player and saying, "this is my nose," while pointing to any other part of their body except their nose (let's say their elbow in this case). The second person has five seconds to reply, "this is my elbow," while touching their nose. If they do not or cannot return the proper response within five seconds, they change places, and become 'it.' Encourage players to choose acceptable body parts for this activity!

ZIP - ZAP - ZOOM (A Name Game)
 One player approaches a member of the circle, looks them in the eye, points towards them and offers one of four possibilities (zip, zap, zoom, or they can point without saying anything). If they say 'zip' their opponent has five seconds to say the name of the person on their right. If they say 'zap' their opponent has five seconds to say the name of the person on their left.   If they say 'zoom' their opponent mustprovide their own name, and if they simply point and say nothing, and their opponent says anything, they must trade places. If a member of the circle cannot provide the correct name of their neighbors (or their own) within five seconds, they must trade places with 'it.’ The truly fascinating thing about Big Circle Games is that you can play them all at the same time. Imagine a circle of 100 people, with 10 or more people being 'it' in the center, traveling around and continuously evoking commands for which the members of the circle must quickly react. In the process, the entire group becomes wonderfully mixed together, players learn the names of their neighbors, participants become leaders as they rotate from being 'it' to being a member of the big circle, and best of all, laughter ensues as players discover that their ability to comply with the requests presented to them diminish as the game speeds up.

Collaborative   Games

3, 2, 1 UPS
Each group starts this activity with 1 soft object that can be thrown. One person is chosen to be the leader, and his/her job is simply to give the command: "1,2,3, Ups!" On the word "Ups," whoever is holding the soft object throws the ball a minimum of 10 feet in the air and the game requires someone else in the group to catch it. If the group is successful in tossing and catching the one item, they repeat the above. If they are successful a second time then they add another object. This time, on the command "Ups" both items are tossed up into the air with the group trying to catch both objects. To add another object the group must successfully make two catches in a row. If an object touches the ground they must start over.

Create a large circle with all participants. In the center of the circle have standing four plastic bottles/pins. Give 2 or 3 of participants in the large circle each a nerf ball. Select two volunteer who will be timed to see how long they can protect the bottles in middle of the circle while the remaining circled group members try to knock the bottles down as quickly as possible. If a bottle is knocked down, the protectors can put it back up. The center participants turn is over and the clock stopping if at any time 3 bottles are down.

"4" 1 FOUR
Have the group form into pairs. One partner will be on his/her hands and knees and the other will stand beside them. As leader, explain that you will callout four commands and that on your "Go!" the standing player will try to be the first to finish all four called out commands plus an ending pose before the other standing players can finish. The commands are as follows:
"Over" - place hands on shoulder and jump over your partner "Under" - crawl under your partner
"Around" - run around your partner
Callout 4 of the above commands in any combination and then create a finishing pose (example: after completing the 4 commands, the kneeling player must get up, both players must double high 5 and say, "We like ourselves!"). After each round, switch positions and play again.

Prior to beginning the game, scatter a variety of throwable objects on the ground in your play area. After instructing all participants to group into pairs, you are ready for this high paced, cooperative activity! Explain that the challenge is to get a pre-determined number of 5-pass series in a set amount of time. Determine who will start the challenge in each pair and explain that this person will be first to pick up one of the items and start the 5-pass throwing series. A complete series is as follows: Player #1 picks up an object, s/he throws it to his/her partner and they both say: "1." Player #2 (who just caught the bail), passes it back to player #1 and both participants say: "2." The ball is passed back and forth in this manner until the 5th pass occurs which will end with player #2 catching the ball (this also ends the series and the pair have just completed their 1st series of 5-passes). Player #2 then drops the object and both players must run to another object and start the 5-pass cycle again. Once an object is obtained, other players may not disturb or take an object being thrown and must run to find one that is on the ground. This activity will get the heart rates up and should be followed with a slow down activity.

Players sit in a circle close enough to take turns throwing a "die." The object of the game is for each player, in turn, to roll the die and as a group, add up the spots as quickly as possible to reach "33" or more before the other groups do so. If any player in the group rolls a 6, the whole group must stand, walk quickly to touch a wall, and return to their original places to sit. (Any predetermined action may be substituted.) Upon returning, the group continues to play, but must start again at "0." The first group to make it to "33" (or over) assumes the dead bug position (on back with arms and legs in the air) and starts to chant, "33, 33, 33 ... "

Make a large circle with all participants. Select two leaders by choosing two participants who are standing next to each other and hand them each a ball (the larger the better). Half way around the circle designate 2 other participants who are standing next to each other to determine the two teams. The object of this low level group cooperative is to pass the ball around half of the circle and back as quickly as possible trying to beat the other team back to the original leader. On the leaders "go," each team member hands the ball from one person to the next. When the ball reaches the last person, that person spins around one full turn and hand the ball back to the person they just received the ball from and the passing action continues back to the leader. The first team to get its ball back to its original leader is the winner.
'Variation: Make a Tic-tac-toe poster or Connect Four poster and put it in the center of the circle. When a side wins a round, the captain, at that time, (change captains and end players each round) comes to the center of the group and makes a play on the poster. Make sure you change the game a bit each 2 rounds. For example, 1st - regular pass with a spin by the end player, 2nd - place ball on a cone, playas normal with the round going to the captain that balances the ball on the cone first, 3rd - each player must pass the ball around their waist before passing to next player, etc. This keeps the game fresh!

Have your entire group scatter and sit on the floor. The object of this game is to get from A to Z without the breaking any of the activities rules. Each time a person hits the ball, the group should callout the next letter of the alphabet. The rules are simple; all seats must stay on the floor, if ball hits floor or ceiling, the group must start over starting with the letter "A". Most groups will achieve this without all that much trouble. If so, have them try it using only non-dominate hand, or feet only, or elbows and heads only, etc.

Form small groups of 6-8. Give each group a balloon and have them stand in a circle. Tell the group that they can use any body part except their hands to keep the balloon up in the air and one person cannot hit it two times in a row. Have them practice for a while, and then callout a body part like "elbow." Now they must keep it in the air using only their elbows. You can callout different body parts as you go, or a sequence like "nose, heel, shoulder" which they must follow in that order.

Participants group themselves in pairs with one person choosing to be the car and the other person being the driver. In this activity the person representing the car is blindfolded (or can close his/her eyes) with the driver standing directly behind them. The leader explains that there are three commands that determine the way the driver is to drive their car. The first command "city driving," allows the car and driver to move forward about 3 steps and then the car must make a 90 degree turn to either their right or left. "Country driving" allows the car to meander around the room with no fixed pattern. "Freeway driving" has the car and driving going around the room one way in a circular formation. During freeway driving, the car can go as fast as "the car" (person) feels comfortable. As the leader shouts out different commands, the car changes its form of driving to match the command. After about 30 seconds, have the car and driver switch places.

Players sit in a circle and put their hands on a table, putting their right arm under the arm of their neighbor so that they don't have both hands next to each other on the table. Someone starts the game by slapping the table and picking a direction. The slaps continue around the circle until someone double slaps. This changes the direction. If you slap out of turn you take that hand out of the game.

Campers form 2 lines sitting down, holding hands and facing each other with about 5 feet between each line. A counselor sits at the beginning of each line and flips a coin, (only the front person from each line can look at the coin, everyone else looks away) If it is heads, then the front person starts a squeeze down the line with the last person trying to be the first to grab an object at the end. Whichever team grabs it first rotates one person down the line. The object is to be the first team to rotate the whole line through. If the coin is tails and a group grabs the object, they must rotate back a person, (they cannot yell to stop the squeeze once it starts.) Have a counselor sit at the end to judge the grabbing.

Just as the name says ... everybody's it! The object is to tag without being tagged. Once someone has been tagged, they squat down and they are temporarily out of the game. The "tagged" can resume play when the person that tagged them squats down from being tagged. Note: If two simultaneous tags occur between two players, both player's squat and they count to 60 before they can continue to play. Honesty is the key.

Campers sit in a circle. While their eyes are closed, select a "frogger," everyone else are "bugs." Everyone opens their eyes; the frogger tries to catch the bugs by sticking out his/her tongue at them without being noticed by anyone. When they're noticed a new round begins.

The object of this game is to be the last standing at the end of the game .. Players scatter all over the hall and selected players toss the ball into the air and as it bounces all the players say, "Ga (1 st bounce) Ga (2nd bounce) and Ball on the 3rd bounce. The game begins on the word "Ball." At this time, any player may strike the ball with either a fist or open hand. The group will decide, before hand, which way they want to play - fist or open hand. It is a foul and the player is out ifhelshe strikes the ball the wrong way. A player is out ifhit below the waist with the ball and the player hitting the ball is out if the ball hits a player above the waist. Anyone can go for the ball at anytime during this busy game. A player cannot hit the ball two times consecutively. This keeps one player from dominating the game. If a player is hit below the waist, they move to the side and are out of this round of the game.

To begin, create 4 hand signs to be used by all players. Player one chooses one of the hand signs. Player #2 then must repeat Player #1 's sign and then add either the same sign or one of the other three. Player #3 then must repeat Player #1 's sign, then Player #2's sign and then add their own. This continues until someone makes a mistake. The game is played identical to the electronic Simon game.

The object of the game is to get as many points as your team can get in a 1 to 2 minute time period. Points are only awarded for "Headers" (balls hit with head). In this activity, one of the players needs to be the "Counter." On the signal to begin, the beach ball is hit into the air by hand. From that point on, the group tries to keep the ball in the air by using hands or heads. A point is scored and counted for each head-hit. If the ball hits the floor A) pick it up and hit it with hand to start the action again or B) take a point away for each floor hit. Have each group announce their totals and ask them to try again to better their previous score.

Campers are in teams and sit in a section of the playing area. Each team has a "king" who wears a paper hat. The teams throw crumpled pieces of paper (snowballs) into the other team's area and trying to knock off the hat of their king. After the time is over, each time counts up how many snowballs are in their area (1 pt. Each) and adds 10 points for every time their kings hat was knocked off. The team wit the least points wins.

Many small groups sit in circles around the field. Duck, duck, goose is played at each circle, but the runners can go to any other small group open space to sit. The "it" then starts another round at that circle.

This is played like regular kick ball except when the ball is kicked, someone in the outfield catches it and the whole outfield team must line up behind that person. The kicker runs the bases, getting a point per base, until the other team is all lined up and has passed the ball from the front of the line to the end. There are no outs; let each team have 5 kickers and then switch.

Have all campers sit facing each other in a circle. Pass around the Priceless Ming Vase (plastic bucket) with their hands, being careful not to break it. Once this is mastered, have them pass with feet, then turn back-to-back and pass with feet. Next fill with water and challenge them to pass without spilling-whatever water remains your group can dump on you (or someone else you've preasked/warned! Talk about being thirsty, carrying the living water with them.
Select relay teams and have them start at one end of the gym. The first player on each team is given a stick, jump rope, or swim noodle. On the signal to begin, this player, with the equipment, will run forward to touch a line some 30 feet away with their foot. When this player gets back to their team, he will hand the stick to the next player and both of them will lower the stick to about 6 inches from the ground. They slide the stick back as each of their teammates jumps the stick. When the last player jumps the stick, the original runner stays there and the other player runs to the far line, touches it with their foot and returns to repeat the action. Play continues until all players have had a chance to run and the original player is on the front of the line again.
Variation: Players form relay columns and stand behind the starting line. The first two players of each team hold a stick about two to three feet long by its ends. Holding the stick close to the ground, the first two players run down the length of their column. Each player in the line must jump over the stick as it reaches him.
When the two players with the stick reach the foot of the line, the first player lets go of the stick and takes his place in the back of the line. The second player runs back to the head of the line and teams up with the third. Together they repeat the action, and then the third player teams up with the fourth and so on until all players in a team have run with the stick. The first team to finish is the winner.

Formulate equal teams for this relay. Have all teams stand facing the same direction with the leader of each group on the same starting line. The players should be about 3 feet apart from each other. When this formation is established, have the leader of each team move 10 feet in front of his team and turn around to face his/her team. The leaders are given a basketball or any other item that can be tossed safely. On the signal, the leader tosses the item to the first player. This player returns the item to the leader and squats down. The leader tosses to the second player in line and they toss it back and squat, also. This continues until the last player has passed the item back to the leader. This could end the round or the game could continue with the last player receiving the item and running to the front of the group to take the place of the first leader. The old leader moves forward and turns to receive the item from the new leader. All the other players move back a spot. This action continues until the original leader has returned to the front.

Select equal relay teams. Each team makes a line with about three feet between each player. All stand in a straddle position and the front player rolls a ball through all the players behind them (all help to pass the ball along). When the last player gets the ball, s/he will take the ball and run to the front of the line while zig-zagging through the other players on his/her team. When they get to the front, they bend over, roll the ball between their legs and start the process again. Play until the original first player is back in his position which will designate the winning team. The original name of this relay was "The Tunnel Relay."

This is a wonderful filler activity that while considered an elimination game, has participants participating again very, very quickly. Begin by teaching all participants the three following actions that are used in the contest:
  • Gorilla - Up on toes, arms raised, and growling
  • Slinghot - Squat down acting like you are shooting a slingshot while saying, "Boink!" 
  • Man - Strike the pose of the international sign for mankind (hands folded across chest with the head tilted to one side)

After practicing the above actions have all participants get with a partner. Have each pair stand back to back and instruct everyone that in a moment, they will jump and turn around (now facing their partner) and when they land on the ground make one of the above signs. In classic Rock, Paper, Scissors style there is a progression of who wins. The progression is as follows::
  • Man controls the Slingshot so the man wins.
  • Slingshots can "Boink" the Gorilla scaring the Gorilla away, so the Slingshot wins over the Gorilla.
  • Gorilla can crush (or hug) the Man so the Gorilla wins over the Man.

Practice doing this a couple of times before beginning the contest by explaining that you will count to 3 and on the count of 3 all pair will simultaneously turn and make their sign. Once everyone understands the game and which action wins over the other, introduce the twist. Explain that from this point forward, if both of the actions match "You're outta the game!" (both people lose). Start the contest and instruct winner to remain standing and to quickly find another player that is standing to challenge. Remember, if a pair both do the same action, both people sit down. Continue this process until one player is left and declared the winner. You will find that this happens very quickly and seldom will a player repeat as a back-to-back winner.

Ask one camper to volunteer for a challenge. Tell the other campers to stand in a circle, shoulders touching. The goal is for the Volunteer to get into the middle of the circle. The natural response is for them to use force and for the group to keep them out (even though you never described this in the rules). Explain that we need to ask for help and we also must be willing to let others into our group.

While campers' eyes are closed, a "sleeper" is chosen. Then campers mingle around shaking hands. The "sleeper" tries to put as many people to sleep as possible by poking them in the wrist with their pointer finger while shaking hands. Campers can guess the "sleeper" by asking the counselor. If they guess wrong, they sleep.

This is a great activity for team building. Form groups of 8-15 participants and have them form a circle with arms around each other. Have each team move to a predetermined starting line and provide each group with a soccer ball (or any kickable bail). Then have each group place the ball in the center of their group and you are ready to start the soccer circle relay! Explain that on the "GO" signal, each group has to stay together while kicking the ball and moving their group to the finish line some distance away. If the ball gets away from the group while moving toward the finish line the group must stop, and before moving again every player spins around twice while one player retrieves the ball and drops it back into the center of the circle. The group then continues toward the finish line. The first team to get their entire team over the finish line with the ball in the center is declared the winner. Challenge groups by adding 2 or 3 different kickable balls and then racing back to the original start line. Participants will have a ball with this cooperative relay!!

Many balls are located throughout the playing field. Have players spread out throughout the boundaries. Players underhand balls to other players. If you are tagged, you sit down and wait for the player that hit you is frozen. Once the player that froze you is squatted, you may return to the game.
SoN So Knows
All players are aligned in a circle. One person is located in the middle of the circle. The person in the middle calls out a persons name located within the circle. The middle person begins to walk towards the person he/she called out. If the middle person touches the called out person before the called out person names another name, they have to go into the middle, and the previous person returns to the circle. However, if the called person is able name someone else, the middle person must turn around and walk towards the newly named person in the circle.

In Great Britain they have a game called Dr. Tangle that the kids love to play on the playground. The game of Knots has been around along time and is a favorite among ROPES facilitators. This game is a combination of both of these fun games and I think you will see the value to it. Make groups of 8, 10, or 12 members each. Give a bandanna or three-foot piece of rope to Yz the group. The players with the rope put them on the floor so they cross each other in an asterisk like shape. Once this is done, invite the other players in the group to take hold of the other ends of the ropes. This is where the Dr. Tangle comes in. Allow each group two to three minutes to tangle the ropes as much as possible without letting go of the ends. At the end of the time, ask the teams to carefully place the tangled ropes on the floor so the ends of the ropes can be seen. Once this is done, ask the groups to move to another team's tangle. Each player will grab the end of one of the ropes and the group will try to untangle the ropes until they are standing in pairs. The first group to untangle is awarded 10 points, second will get 7 points and third will get 4 points. After each group has become free, ask them to repeat the process and play again. Play to 25 points or play for a set amount of time. You'll like this one.

This activity really makes a group of three players think and communicate. Group participants in 3's and scatter them about the area. Ask for each team will stand in line facing the same direction. There are three commands that the groups must follow:
Switch - means that the lead player and the back player exchange places.
Change - means that the entire group simply turns and goes the opposite direction. Rotate - means the lead player goes to the back and the center player is the new leader.
To begin the activity, have each group march in place and try to execute the commands as the leader calls them out. Once they have a good grasp on the idea, have them walk (anywhere in the area) and try to do the commands. After walking, challenge the groups to jog or power walk while following the commands.

Group all participants into pairs having one person start by being the tank, and the other person start by being the commander. The object of the game is to be the team that has the fewest number of hits when time is called. The game is played by having all tanks blindfolded and explaining that the commanders are to by verbal means only (no touching is allowed in this game) guide their tank to ammunition (fleece balls) that will be placed onto the floor. Once a tank finds a fleece ball, the tank picks it up and again by verbal instruction only tries to hit another tank by throwing the fleece ball underhandedly at another tank. No overhand throws are allowed. If a tank is hit, that's one hit against their team and that person takes off their blindfold and gives it to their partner and the process starts over. A person becomes a tank only when their blindfold is on. The commander can protect their tank by getting in front of fleece balls, but can't use his/her hands to swat shots away.

Select equal teams of 6 to 8 players each. Have each group make a circle of 6 players holding hands. The other 2 players will get into the center of the circle. The teams are now ready for this fun relay. Mark a starting line and another line some 30 to 50 feet away. On the signal to go, all teams power walk to the far line (some of the players will be moving backwards). When the group gets to the far line, the just reverse the action and the players that were moving forward are now moving backwards. The 2 players in the center are always moving in the direction the group is going. When the group returns to the start line, 2 other players from their group will go to the center and the center players join the circle to repeat the trip. Continue this relay until each player in the group has had a time in the center. Everyone will move forward, backward and have a chance to be in the center.

For this activity, you need to have participants grouped in pairs. Once in pairs, one person becomes the "counter" and the other person the "walker." On the leaders signal, the "counter" stays in his/her place and counts to 10 while the "walker" moves as far away from the "counter" as possible. When the "counter" reaches 10, s/he chases the "walker" trying to touch him/her. Once the "walker" has been touched, the two people switch roles; the "walker" becomes the "counter" (who immediately starts counting to 10) and the "counter" becomes the "walker" (getting quickly as far away from the "counter" as possible). The game continues for about a minute with roles being reversed each time a "walker" is touched. Let the participants rest as the next section of the game is explained.
Have the pair that has been playing their own game of walk tag now form a team and link arms. Have these linked pairs find another linked pair and play another round of walk tag with one of the pairs starting the game as the "counters" and the other pair being the "walkers." A third round of the game can be played with these 2 pairs combining to form a linked group of four chasing another linked pair of four.

Campers form pairs holding onto beach towels. A water balloon is then launched from the towels over the net. The other team tries to catch it with a pair's towel. See how many times they can pass it before it breaks.

Miscellaneous  Games

Campers sit in groups of four and playa dice game where they are partnered with the person opposite them. Each round has a number from the dice that is worth points. In round 2, for every 2 that is rolled, the team gets one point. If al14 dice are 2's they yell out "Bunko" and get 21 points. Once the person does not role a 2, they pass the dice to the next person. This continues with teammates totaling points together until the group at the top position gets 21 points. Then the winning team rotates to the next group, but they switch positions to play with a new partner. These rounds continue with campers trying to be the ones with the most wins.

Earth, Air, Water
Campers form a circle with an "it" in the middle. This person will callout someone's name and then say earth, air, or water. (ex: "John, earth) John must then sayan animal that lives on land before the "it" counts to five. For air, they say a kind of bird, and water, a kind of water creature. They must sayan animal that has not already been said. If they don't say it in time or repeat, then they are the next "it."

Garbage Bag Soccer
Fill a large garbage bag with inflated balloons, tie it off and wrap masking tap around it. Use this as the soccer ball and play with the following rules: players must not kick the ball, but can hit or throw it, and the goalie may not use his/her hands to block the ball.

Have the group form 2 lines, facing each other about ten feet apart. The players from the
right end of each line step in from the line so that they are standing in between the lines, facing theperson from the other line. These two people must turn away from each other and then on the count of three they face each other and using any voice or actions they want, say "Hagoo." If someone laughs or smiles, they become part of the other team. If neither person laughs nor smiles, they take three steps closer and repeat the "Hagoo." The players on the sidelines can try to make the other team's player laugh but they cannot touch the person or step out of the line. The next round begins with the next person from the right end of each line stepping forward.
Need four kick balls. During this activity, campers will playa chaotic game of kick ball with kick balls potentially coming from every direction. Set up the playing area to consist of four different kick-ball playing fields. Have all of the playing fields sharing second base. Play four games of kickball. Any team member can catch an air ball, and the player kicking the ball is "out." There is a lot of action, sometimes confusion, and fun when playing this game.

Run or Serve
Need a large playing field, a soft ball about the size of a volleyball, and three cans. (Coffee cans with the sharp edges removed work well.)AII campers stand in a circle around three cans stacked in a pyramid. Hand the ball to a camper to be the "Server." The Server tries to knock down the cans with the ball. As soon as the cans are knocked over, all other players run as fast as they can away from the cans. The Server hurries to restack the tower, yelling "Freeze!" when the cans are back in place. All runners must freeze. The Server must also freeze where he or she is and look for the closest runner. The Server's goal is to try to hit the nearest camper below the waist with the ball. If he or she misses, that person is again the Server for the next round. If the runner is hit, that person becomes the new Server.

Everyone sits in a circle looking down at their laps. On the count of three everyone looks up at someone in the circle. If the person you are looking at is also looking at you, then you both scream and the person who screamed second falls asleep. If the person you are looking at is not looking at you then you are safe that round and stay awake. However, if the person you are looking at is not looking at you, but you scream anyway, you are asleep. Rounds continue until only 2 people are left.

Winter Predator
Need a blindfold and sticks or other objects found in nature. In the winter, food can be scarce for animals. Quietness is key to earning a day's meal. Have one person sit on the ground with a blindfold on. Place the sticks beside the blindfolded person. The sticks represent prey. The rest of the campers are "predators" who are stalking the prey. At the start of the game, as the leader calls them out, the predators start making their way to their prey as quietly as possible. If the prey hears the predator, they point in the direction of the sound they heard. If they are pointing to a predator, that predator goes back and has to try again-the prey heard them and ran away. The prey can also wave their arms and hands around to try to touch a predator as they are trying to grab a stick and make it back to where they started