Director of Youth Programs & Innovation Katie Anderson makes her ClubX Blog debut with this list of games that you are going to NEED to bookmark!
It’s no secret that playing with youth is a great way to build healthy & supportive relationships. It’s also no secret that finding the money to pay for supplies for new games and activities can be difficult. To help, here are five games that require no supplies besides you and your youth.
Statues in the Garden
This is a great game for getting youth moving. You can play indoors or outdoors. It appeals to a wide variety of ages too- I’ve played it with kindergarteners all the way up to high schoolers. Here’s how to play:
- Choose one player to be the “gardener.” All other players will be “statues.” (Tip- if you have more than 15 statues, pick two gardeners.)
- Define the play area, which is called the “garden.” The statues and the gardener must always stay inside the garden. If anyone leaves the garden, they’re out.
- Have the gardener stand at the edge of the garden and turn their back on the statues. Have the statues get into any pose they want. (Hint- this should be a pose that they’re comfortable holding for a while.)
- Once the statues are ready, have the gardener turn around and enter the garden. The gardener will then move around the garden to check on each statue.
- Whenever the gardener has their back to a statue, that statue should change their pose. Statues can also move around if they want. The statue must freeze in place before the gardener spots them, however.
- If the gardener catches a statue moving, the statue is out and should leave the garden.
- The last remaining statue gets to be the gardener in the next round.
This is a super active game that is a huge hit with the 6-9-year-old crowd. It’s best played indoors in an open space. Make sure there is enough light when the lights are out to move safely, like a window or a desk lamp. Here’s how to play:
- Choose one player to be the “parent.” All other players are the “babies.” (Tip- if you have more than 15 babies, pick two parents.)
- Define the play area, or the “bedroom.” The babies and the parent must stay inside the bedroom during play. If anyone leaves the area, they’re out.
- Have the babies all choose a spot on the floor and lie down. They should pretend to be asleep. The parent then says, “good night, babies” and turn off the lights.
- Once the lights are off, the babies should all get up and move around the bedroom.
- The parent can turn the lights on at any point. As soon as the lights are on, the babies must instantly fall to the floor and pretend to be asleep again. If the parent catches any of the babies moving after they lay down, the player is out.
- The last remaining baby gets to the parent in the next round.
This game is great for any age, even adults! It can be played inside or outside. It also works well as a Community Builder. Here’s how you play:
- Divide the players into teams of 3-6 people each. The teams should each stand in a circle facing each other. Allow for space between each team.
- Create a knot by having every teammate reach out their right hand into the circle. They should grab the hand of a random teammate. Then, they should reach in with their left hand and grab a DIFFERENT teammate’s hand. (It’s very important that players not grab both hands with the same person. Otherwise, the knot won’t work.)
- Once the knots have been created, count the teams off with a “ready, set, go!”
- Teams should try to untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands. They may have to climb, bend, twist, and duck to get over and under each set of arms and hands.
- The first team to successfully untangle themselves wins!
Tip- you can adapt this game for youth with disabilities by using a ball of yarn in place of hand holding. Give the ball of yarn to one player. Have them hold the loose end of the ball and then toss it to another player. Continue around the circle until everyone is holding onto part of the strand. Players can then work to untangle the yarn strand. This requires less physical movement and can even be done with a seated group.
This is my favorite game for group bonding because it’s just so silly! It also doesn’t require any movement, so it’s easy to use with youth with physical disabilities. Here’s how to play:
- Choose one player to be “it.” Have all the other players stand or sit in a circle with the It player in the middle.
- Have one player in the circle start by asking an appropriate question to the It player. For example, “What do you brush your teeth with?” (Tip- you may want to define what is an appropriate question before the game starts, especially with middle & high schoolers.)
- The It player must answer every question asked with “sausage.” That’s all- they can’t say anything else. They also can’t laugh while they answer.
- The first player who makes the It player laugh gets to take their spot in the middle of the circle. You can continue playing for as many rounds as you’d like. You can even change the answer word if you’d like.
This game is a good way to start discussions on how our similarities and differences can bring us together. It’s an excellent Community Builder as well. Here’s how you play.
- Choose one player from the group to be “it.” Have them look at the other players and silently pick one person. They should not reveal who they chose.
- Have the rest of the players take turns asking the It player a yes/no question to help figure out who the mystery person is. Examples include, “does the person have red hair?” or “are they wearing a green shirt?” Each player can only ask one question per turn.
- Players can try to guess once per turn who the mystery person is. If a player guesses wrong, play continues to the next player. If a player guesses correctly, they get to take over as It.
What are your Club’s go-to games? How do you bring world class experiences on shoestring budgets? Let us know! Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email ClubXBlog@bgca.org.
About Katie Anderson