GROUP GAMES

We are presenting a few group games here. They are adapted from International HIV/AIDS Alliance, with permission. Look for more such games and have a collection of them. But not every game is fit for every group. You have to take into account the age, culture, mentality, etc, of the group.

 

 

Howdy Howdy

    Participants stand in a circle. One person walks around the circle and taps someone on the shoulder. That person walks the opposite way around the circle, until the two people meet. They greet each other three times by name, in their own language. The two people, then, race back, continuing in opposite directions around the circle, to take the empty place. Whoever loses walks around the outside of the circle again and the game continues until everyone has had a turn.

     

    Juggling ball game

    Everyone stands in a close circle. (If the group is very large, it may be necessary to split the group into two circles). The facilitator starts by throwing the ball to someone in the circle, saying their name as they throw it. Continue catching and throwing the ball establishing a pattern for the group. (Each person must remember who they receive the ball from and who they have thrown it to). Once everyone has received the ball and a pattern is established, introduce one or two more balls, so that there are always several balls being thrown at the same time, following the set pattern.

     

    Names and adjectives

    Participants think of an adjective to describe how they are feeling or how they are. The adjective must start with the same letter as their name, for instance, “I’m Henri and I’m happy”. Or, “I’m Arun and I’m amazing.” As they say this, they can also mime an action that describes the adjective.

     

    Three truths and a lie

    Everyone writes their name, along with four pieces of information about themselves on a large sheet of paper. For example, ‘Ramu likes singing, loves football, has five wives and loves children’s parliaments’. Participants then circulate with their sheets of paper. They meet in pairs, show their paper to each other, and try to guess which of the ‘facts’ is a lie.

     

     

    Connecting eyes

    Participants stand in a circle. Each person makes eye contact with another person across the circle. The two walk across the circle and exchange positions, while maintaining eye contact. Many pairs can exchange at the same time, and the group should try to make sure that everyone in the circle is included in the exchange. Begin by trying this in silence and then exchange greetings in the middle of the circle.


    Match the cards

    The facilitator chooses a number of well-known phrases, and writes half of each phrase on a piece of paper or card. For example, they write ‘Happy’ on one piece of paper and ‘Birthday’ on another. (The number of pieces of paper should match the number of participants in the group). The folded pieces of paper are put into a hat. Each participant takes a piece of paper from the hat and tries to find the member of the group with the matching half of the phrase. Both can have a short conversation between themselves.

     

    What we have in common


    The facilitator calls out a characteristic of people in the group, such as ‘having dogs’. All those who have children should move to one corner of the room. As the facilitator calls out more characteristics, such as ‘likes football’, people with the characteristic move to the indicated space.

     

    Who is the leader?

    Participants sit in a circle. One person volunteers to leave the room. After he/she leaves, the rest of the group chooses a ‘leader’. The leader must perform a series of actions, such as clapping, tapping a foot, etc, that are copied by the whole group. The volunteer comes back into the room, stands in the middle and tries to guess who is leading the actions. The group protects the leader by not looking at him/her. The leader must change the actions at regular intervals, without getting caught. When the volunteer spots the leader, he/she joins the circle, and the person who was the leader leaves the room to allow the group to choose a new leader. The volunteer is given three chances. If he/she is not able to find out the leader, he/she must perform a short entertainment, such as, singing, dancing, etc.

     

    Who are you?

    Ask for a volunteer to leave the room. While the volunteer is away, the rest of the participants decide on an occupation for him/her, such as a driver, or a fisherman. When the volunteer returns, the rest of the participants mime activities. The volunteer must guess the occupation that has been chosen for him/her from the activities that are mimed. Here too, the volunteer can be given three chances. If he/she is not able to find out the leader, he/she must perform a short entertainment, such as, singing, dancing, etc.

     

    What kind of animal?

    Ask participants to divide into pairs and to form a circle. Put enough chairs in the circle so that all but one pair has seats. Each pair secretly decides what type of animal they are. The two participants without chairs are the elephants. They walk around the circle calling the names of different animals. Whenever they guess correctly, the animals named have to stand up and walk behind the elephants, walking in mime. This continues until the elephants can guess no more. Then they call “Lions!” and all pairs run for seats. The pair left without chairs become the elephants for the next round.

     

    Killer wink

    Before the game starts, ask someone to be the ‘the killer’ and ask them to keep their identity a secret. Explain that one person among the group is the killer and they can kill people by winking at them. Everyone then walks around the room in different directions, keeping eye contact with everyone they pass. If the killer winks at you, you have to play dead. Everyone has to try and guess who the killer is.

     

    The sun shines on...

    Participants sit or stand in a tight circle with one person in the middle. The person in the middle shouts out “the sun shines on...” and names a colour or articles of clothing that some in the group possess. For example, “the sun shines on all those wearing blue” or “the sun shines on all those wearing socks” or “the sun shines on all those who have red ribbons”. All the participants who have that attribute must change places with one another. The person in the middle tries to take one of their places as they move, so that there is another person left in the middle without a place. The new person in the middle shouts out “the sun shines on...” and names a different colour or type of clothing.

     

    COCONUT

    The facilitator shows the group how to spell out C-O-C-O-N-U-T by using full movements of the arms and the body. All participants then try this together.

     

    Body writing

    Ask participants to write their name in the air with a part of their body. They may choose to use an elbow, for example, or a leg. Continue in this way, until everyone has written his or her name with several body parts.

     

    Names in the air

    Ask participants to write their name in the air first with their right hand, then their left hand. Finally, ask them to write their name in the air with both hands at the same time.

     

    Family members

    Prepare cards with family names. You can use different types of professions, such as Mother Farmer, Father Farmer, Sister Farmer and Brother Farmer. Or you could use names of different animals or fruits. Each family should have four or five in it. Give each person one of the cards and ask everyone to walk around the room. Explain that when you call out, “family reunion”, everyone should try to form a ‘family group’ as quickly as possible.

     

    Who am I?

    Pin the name of a different famous person to each participant’s back, so that they cannot see it. Then ask participants to walk around the room, asking each other questions about the identity of their famous person. The questions can only be answered by “yes” or “no”. The game continues until everyone has figured out who they are.

     

    A’s and ‘B’s

    Ask everyone to choose silently someone in the room that is their ‘A’ person and another person who is their ‘B’ person. There are no particular criteria on which to base their choices – selections are entirely up to individuals. Once everyone has made their choices, tell them to get as close to their respective ‘A’ person as possible, while getting as far away from their ‘B’ person. People can move quickly but should not grab or hold anyone. After a few minutes, participants stop and reverse the process, getting close to their ‘B’ persons and avoiding their ‘A’ persons.

     

    Group statues

    Ask the group to move around the room, loosely swinging their arms and gently relaxing their heads and necks. After a short while, shout out a word. The group must form themselves into statues that describe the word. For example, the facilitator shouts “peace”. All the participants have to instantly adopt, without talking, poses that show what ‘peace’ means to them. Repeat the exercise several times.

     

    Move to the spot

    Ask everyone to choose a particular spot in the room. They start the game by standing on their ‘spot’. Instruct people to walk around the room and carry out a particular action, for example, hopping, saying hello to everyone wearing blue or walking backwards, etc. When the facilitator says “Stop”, everyone must run to his or her original spots. Repeat with various actions.

     

    Banana game

    A banana or other object such as a bunch of keys is selected. The participants stand in a circle with their hands behind their backs. One person volunteers to stand in the middle. The facilitator walks around the outside of the circle and secretly slips the banana into someone’s hand. The banana is then secretly passed round the circle behind the participant’s backs. The job of the volunteer in the middle is to study people’s faces and work out who has the banana. When successful, the volunteer takes that place in the circle and the game continues with a new person (one who has been caught with the banana) in the middle.

     

    Taxi rides

    Ask participants to pretend that they are getting into taxis. The taxis can only hold a certain number of people, such as two, four, or eight. When the taxis stop, the participants have to run to get into the right sized groups. This is a useful game for randomly dividing participants into groups.

     

    Fruit salad

    The facilitator divides the participants into an equal number of three to four fruits, such as oranges and bananas. Participants then sit on chairs in a circle. One person must stand in the centre of the circle of chairs. The facilitator shouts out the name of one of the fruits, such as ‘oranges’, and all of the oranges must change places with one another. The person who is standing in the middle tries to take one of their places as they move, leaving another person in the middle without a chair. The new person in the middle shouts another fruit and the game continues. A call of ‘fruit salad’ means that everyone has to change seats.

     

  1. Delhi buses

  2. This game can be called after any type of local transport. Select a number of ‘drivers’. Assign a certain number of passengers for each driver to pick up. (Make sure that you have counted correctly, so that no one is left without a ride!) Ask the drivers to go around the room making vehicle noises and touting for business. The passengers form up behind or alongside their driver to make it look like they are in a vehicle. Now, all the ‘vehicles’ drive around, as if in traffic, sounding their horns and shouting at other drivers and vehicles.

  3. Rabbits

  4. Someone starts by putting both hands up to their ears and waggling their fingers. The people on either side of this person put up one hand only, to the ear nearest the person with both hands up. The person with both hands up then points to another person across the circle. This person now puts both hands up to their ears and waggles their fingers. The people on either side have to put up the hand nearest the person with both hands up and waggle their fingers. The game continues in this way until everyone has been a ‘rabbit’.

  5. Port/starboard

  6. Participants stand in the centre of the room. If the leader shouts “Starboard”, everyone runs to the right. If the leader shouts “Port”, everyone runs left and if they shout “Man the ship”, everyone runs back to the centre. Other statements can be introduced; for example, “Climb the rigging” when everyone pretends to climb, “Scrub the decks”, and so on.

     

    I’m going on a trip

    Everyone sits in a circle. Start by saying “I’m going on a trip and I’m taking a hug”, and hug the person to your right. That person then has to say “I’m going on a trip and I’m taking a hug and a pat on the back”, and then give the person on their right a hug and a pat on the back. Each person repeats what has been said and adds a new action to the list. Go round the circle until everyone has had a turn.

     

    Find someone wearing...

    Ask participants to walk around loosely, shaking their limbs and generally relaxing. After a short while, the facilitator shouts out “Find someone...” and names an article of clothing. The participants have to rush to stand close to the person described. Repeat this exercise several times using different types of clothing.

     

    Touch something blue

    Ask participants to stand up. Explain that you will tell everyone to find something blue, and that they have to go and touch it. This could be a blue shirt, pen, shoe or whatever. Continue the game in this way, asking participants to call out their own suggestions for things to touch.

     

    What has changed?

    Participants break into pairs. Partners observe one another and try to memorise the appearance of each other. Then one turns his/her back while the other makes three changes to his/her appearance; for example, putting their watch on the other wrist, removing their glasses, and rolling up their sleeves. The other player then turns around and has to try to spot the three changes. The players then switch roles.

     

    Birthday graph

    Ask people to line up according to their birthday months or seasons. Discuss which month or season has the largest number and what reasons there might be for this.

     

    Body ‘tig’

    Explain to participants that you will ‘tig’ someone. They then use just the part of their body that you have ‘tigged’ to ‘tig’ someone else in turn. Continue the game until everyone has been ‘tigged’.

     

    Five islands

    Draw five circles with chalk on the floor, big enough to accommodate all of the participants. Give each island a name. Ask everyone to choose the island that they would like to live on. Then warn participants that one of the islands will sink into the sea very soon and participants on that island will be forced to move quickly to another island. Allow the suspense to build and then call out the name of the island that is sinking. Participants run to the other four islands. The game continues until everyone is squashed onto one island.

     

    The animal game

    This game helps to divide a large group into smaller groups. Make slips of paper for each member of the large group. Write the name of an animal on each slip, using as many different animals as you need smaller groups. Hand the papers out at random and ask people to make the noise of their animal to find the other members of their smaller group.

     

    Mime a lie

    Everyone stands in a circle. The facilitator starts by miming an action. When the person on the facilitator’s right says his/her (facilitator’s) name and asks “What are you doing?”, the facilitator replies that he/she is doing something completely different; for example, the facilitator mimes swimming and says “I am washing my hair.” The person to the facilitator’s right then has to mime what the facilitator said that he/she was doing (washing their hair), while saying that he/she (the new player) was doing something completely different. Go around the circle in this way until everyone has had a turn.

     

    Bring me

    Participants sort themselves into small teams, and the teams stand as far as possible from the facilitator. The facilitator then calls out “Bring me...”, and names an object close by. For example, “Bring me a man’s or woman’s shoes.” The teams race to bring what has been requested. You can repeat this several times, asking the teams to bring different things.

     

    The king is dead

    The first player turns to his/her neighbour and says, “The king is dead!” The neighbour asks, “How did he die?”, and the first player responds, “He died doing this”, and starts a simple gesture or movement. All participants repeat this gesture continuously. The second player repeats the statement and the third player asks, “How did he die?” The second player adds another gesture or movement. The whole group then copies these two movements. The process continues around the circle until there are too many movements to remember.

     

    Locomotion

    Everyone sits in a circle and a leader stands in the middle. The leader then walks or runs around the outside of the circle, imitating some means of locomotion such as a car, a train or swimming. He/she stops in front of several people, gives them a signal and they follow the leader, imitating the form of locomotion. When the leader has six to ten people behind him/her, he/she shouts “All change” and everyone, including the leader, races for a seat. The person who is left without a seat must start the game again, with a different form of locomotion.

     

    Don’t answer

    Ask the group to stand in a circle. One person starts by going up to someone and asking them a question such as, “What is your most annoying habit?” However, they must not answer the question themselves – the person to their left must answer. People can make their answers as imaginative as possible!

     

    Pass the parcel

    The facilitator has prepared a parcel wrapped with many different layers of paper. Each layer has a small gift and a slip of paper on which a task or a question is written. Examples of tasks are ‘sing a song’ or ‘hug the person next to you’. Examples of questions are ‘What is your favourite colour?’ or ‘What is your name?’ The facilitator starts the music, or claps his/her hands if there is no music available. The participants pass the parcel around the circle, or throw it to each other. When the facilitator stops the music or the claps again, the person who is holding the parcel tears off one layer of paper and carries out the task or answers the question that is written on the paper and takes the gift. The game continues until all the layers have been unwrapped and each one has got a gift.

     

    Fox and rabbit

    You need two scarves for this game. Participants stand in a circle. One scarf is called ‘Fox’ and the other is called ‘Rabbit’. ‘Fox’ must be tied around the neck with one knot. ‘Rabbit’ is tied around the neck with two knots. Start by choosing two participants who are opposite each other in the circle. Tie the ‘Fox’ scarf around one person’s neck and the ‘Rabbit’ scarf around the other. Say “go”. People need to untie their scarves and retie them around the neck of the person on their right or left. The scarves should travel in the same direction around the circle. The ‘Fox’ scarf with only one knot will travel faster than the ‘Rabbit’ scarf. The people tying the two knots for the ‘Rabbit’ scarf will try to go faster and faster to get away from the ‘Fox’ scarf.

     

    The longest line

    This game requires a lot of space and may need to be done outdoors. Divide into groups of eight to ten people. Each group must have the same number of members. Explain that the task is to create the longest line using anything they have. Participants are not allowed to collect other things from the room/outside. Give a signal for the game to start and set a time limit, such as two minutes. See the creativity and the spirit of surrendering themselves fully to achieve the goal. Appreciate each group for the achievement of the members.

     

    Robots

    Divide the participants into groups of three. One person in each group is the robot controller and the other two are the robots. Each controller must manage the movements of their two robots. The controller touches a robot on the right shoulder to move them to the right, and touches them on the left shoulder to move them to the left. The facilitator begins the game by telling the robots to walk in a specific direction. The controller must try to stop the robots from crashing into obstacles such as chairs and tables. Ask participants to swap roles so that everyone has a chance to be the controller and a robot.

     

    King of the Jungle

    The group sits in a semi-circle. The ‘King of the Jungle’ (usually an elephant) sits on one end of the semi-circle. This person makes a sign to show they are sitting in the elephant’s position. At the other end of the semi-circle sits the monkey, and the person in this seat makes an appropriate sign. All the seats in between belong to different animals, such as lions, fish, and snakes, which people define with different signs. Once everyone has defined the sign for their seat, the game begins. The elephant makes his/her sign, and then makes the sign of another animal. That animal makes his or her own sign, then the sign of another animal, and so it continues. If someone makes a mistake, or doesn’t notice that their sign has been made, they have to swap places with the person next to them, moving down towards the monkey. They then take on the sign of the seat they now occupy, and the person who moves up a place takes their sign. The aim is to move all the way up to take the place of the King of the Ju ngle.

    Participants stand or sit in a circle, hold hands and silently concentrate. The facilitator sends a series of ‘pulses’ both ways round the group by discreetly squeezing the hands of those next to her/him. Participants pass these pulses round the circle, as in an electric current, by squeezing the hand of the person next to them and literally ‘energising’ the group.

 



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