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Mike Spiller L.T.D.F (License to Deliver Fun)
Large Group Games
Three Down / Just for
Fun Game / France /
Back in the 8os, I was in Paris and saw this game being played in a park by school age children. I brought it back to the states and it has been a favorite with schools, camps and youth groups for some time now. Four clubs are placed in the center of a 30 to 40 foot circle. They are arranged in a square about three feet apart in the middle of the circle. Two players are selected as the pinsetters. Players in the outer circle roll or throw the two soft / safe balls at the clubs, attempting to knock them down, while the pinsetters keep setting the clubs back up. When three clubs are down, the circle players call, three down". The pinsetters then choose two new pinsetters and the game continues. This can be a timed event to see which pair can keep the pins up the longest.
Variation 1: If pinsetters are too good, reduce to only one pinsetter.
Variation 2: Use beanbags and allow five to be in action at one time. Circle players must slide the bags at all times.
Pip, Squeak and
Wilbur / Just For Fun / Large Circle Game
Arrange the children in groups of three. One person in each group is Pip, one Wilbur, and one Squeak. These groups are arranged in one big circle. The leader calls out one of the three names; this person runs around the outside of this big circle until he gets back to his group. Then he runs under the arch that the other two have made and into the center of the circle and tries to grab one of the beanbags in the middle and return to his group. There should be two less beanbags than there are groups. If the runner gets a beanbag, his group scores a point. The group with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Note: I found that students would dive, slide, and smash into each other during this game, so I changed it some. Each team has a beanbag. Have one player per team step into the large circle and place the beanbag on the floor about three steps toward the center. When the bags are on the floor, they should make a nice circle with about 5 to 10 feet apart. The game is played the same except the called player returns through the archway and grabs his/her bag only and returns to the other two players, steps into the center as they drop their arms around the player with the bag. Last team to get back to their group has to jog around the circle as all the other players sing, “Round the circle you must go, you must go, you must go - Round the circle you must go - Better luck next time!” The song continues until they are back to their original position.
Rattlesnake - Posted 11-21-09
Goal: To find and bite the other rattlesnake -
Number of players: 2 at a time in the center of a people
Equipment: 2 coffee cans and a handful of coins or pebbles - Playtime: About 10 minutes per round - Play Space: Any large open area
Rules of Play: This game is best played with a large group of people outdoors. Choose two players to be the rattlesnakes and have the rest of the group form a circle around them about 15 feet in diameter. Blindfold each snake and give each snake a coffee can with a few pebbles in the bottom to hold in one hand. Then, spin each snake around to get them disoriented as to where the other snake is. On the signal “Go,” the rattlesnakes begin to wander around the circle (being kept in bounds by the other players), trying to find and bite (tag) the other one. To get a fix on his opponent, a snake can shake his rattle (can). The other snake must respond immediately by shaking his. You may play that one bite kills a snake, or, to make the game last longer, each snake can withstand three bites before he is eliminated from play.
Variation: Allow the snakes to tag with a 1/2 swim noodle. They cannot swing the noodle. They can only poke with it. For this variation, make your circle of players larger.
Abandon Ship! Team Challenge Posted 1-29-2010
This is a great large group game and it is to be played on a gym floor. Place several tumbling mats on the floor in a circle. The mats should be at least 20 feet apart. Place four 2-liter plastic bottles in front of each mat. Divide your group and put equal numbers on each mat. The objective is to end up on the winning ship / mat. Each team is given 3 to 6 bean bags as torpedoes. These projectiles must be slide across the floor to knock down the opposing ships bottles. If a ship has all its bottles knocked down they all yell, “Abandon ship!” the players on that ship must now go to another ship of their choice and the game continues. Anytime a ship looses their bottles, all must abandon ship. Play continues until there are 2 ships left in the battle. You want to be on the winning ship at the end of the battle. Make sure the items you use as torpedoes are soft and safe and cannot injure players if hit by them. I have used soft Frisbees, fleece balls, bean bags, paper wads, beach balls and all of these items make for a great game. Another way to accommodate the new shipmates is to stop the war and slide mats together to make a larger ship. Have fun with this great game!
Activity Ball / Team Ball Game Posted 1-29-2010
This game is played on a regulation baseball field. Each
batter must kick the ball, run to each base, perform a
skill and get back to home base before the fielding team
can do the same skills. For example; The ball is
kicked to the outfield. The outfielder must throw the
ball to first. The runner and the first baseman must do
the same skill and run or toss the ball to second. At
each base there will be a different thing to do for each
the runner and baseman. The object is for the runner to
do all the skills and get home before the fielders do
the skill, toss the ball to the next base, do the skill,
etc.. and get the ball to the catcher before the runner
Skill at first: Run and touch the rock by the tree
Skill at second: Spin around three times
Skill at third: Kick down a plastic cola bottle and set it back up using only your feet
Each player bats per inning, count your score and the next team comes to bat.
Aggie Volleyball Posted 3-2-2010
Divide the group into two equal teams. Have group members scatter in their 1/2 of the playing area or court. Decide which team will serve the giant beach ball first. The object of the game is not to let the ball(s) touch the floor on your side. Any number of hits are allowed on a side before the ball is returned to the opposing team. All hits are to be made in an underhand motion (no spiking is allowed). A point is scored when the ball touches your opponents floor. I suggest not letting the players kick the ball during the play. Play to a predetermined number.
Advancing Suits / Lucky Guess Race / Posted 1-7-2010
Each player is given a playing card (use a different card for each race). The teacher will shuffle the deck. Set-up a race track using cones about every 10 feet. Ten cones is usually a long enough track. Make 3 index cards (#1, #2, and #3). When ready to play, turn-over a playing card and if the player has that suit or card they advance 2 spaces on the track. After all the players have advanced, have each player guess 1, 2, or 3 by showing fingers. The leader will shuffle the index cards and take the top card. If a 1 is shown, all the players with 1 finger up will advance 1 space. Play until you have a win, place and show.
All vs. All / Large Group / Ball Handling Posted 11- 25 - 09
This is an all vs. all game. Give each player a ball and have him or her scatter throughout the marked playing area. On the signal "Go," each player must try to kick the other players balls out of the playing area without having his kicked out. All players must dribble their balls and keep the play moving. Non-aggressive players will be asked to move out of the circle. The reason for this is that the game can go on and on if you have a few players that will not engage each other. The last player in the circle with his ball in control is the winner. As the players leave the contest area, have them continue to dribble around the outside boundaries until the next game. This game moves rather quickly and there won't be much waiting between games.
Backhand Tag / Tag Game Posted 3-2-2010
This is a simple non-elimination tag game. Each player will place one hand on their own back with fingers extended. The other hand is the hand that they will use to tag with. The object of this unique tag game is to tag as many hands as possible in a matter of 30 seconds. Each time a player makes a good tag, they will count that tag. At the end of 30 seconds, the leader will stop the group, gather them together, and ask the group to get into a line (or circle) according to the number of tags they made. After the group has made their circle or line and everyone sees where they placed, the leader will shout out, “Start again!” I suggest that players shout=out the numbers as they make tags.
Beach Ball – Blast Ball / Team Game / Spiller Original / Posted / 6-20-2011
This is a fun lead-up game for volleyball. Divide your group into 2 teams and have them cover their side of the court while standing. Give one team a regular beach ball to start the match. Each team must cover their entire side of the gym. Balls are still in play even if it hits the wall. To start, a selected player will throw the beach ball to another player. This player will catch the ball and toss it to another player on their team. No ball can be held more than 3 seconds. This, the 3rd player, can now serve or smack the beach ball over to the other side. Once the ball is on the other side of the court, that team must catch, throw, catch, throw, catch and smack it over again. A point is made if the other team can’t follow the correct order or if the ball touches the floor of the opposing team. Play to a set score, declare a winning team, choose new team and play again.
Bowling Pin Basketball / Large Group Basketball Game Posted 11- 25 - 09
For this game you will need 4 basketballs and 1 bowling pin. Each team has one corner of the BB court to roll the BB from (to knock down the pin). Each team has one basket for shooting baskets (either free throws or shots from anywhere around the basket) depending on who knocks the pin down first. Team #1 shoots at basket #1, Team #2 shoots at basket #2, etc. The game starts with a whistle. Each team rolls their BB from their own corner and tries to knock down the pin that is set up in the middle of the BB court. The team that first knocks the pin down retrieves the nearest ball and goes to their respective basket to shoot as many baskets as possible from anywhere they want until the 'time stops'. If team #4 knocks the pin down, they go to basket #4 with the advantage to shoot from anywhere while teams #1, #2 and #3 shoot free throws only at their respective baskets. The time for each round is stopped by one of the three other teams making two free throws (or I free throw, 3 free throws--whatever is appropriate for the age group/ skill level). A modified free throw line closer to the basket can also be used. As soon as a team makes their free throws, they yell at the referee to stop the shooting time. The bowling pin is set up each time a new round is started and the four teams return to their comers to get ready to bowl again.
British Warm-Up / Cooperative – Tag / England / Posted 8-12-2010
To begin, divide your group into teams of 5 to 8 per group. One group will be the “Ball Throwers” and the opposing group will be the “Stay Alive” groups. Mark off the boundaries of play (usually 1/2 the basketball court will do). The “Ball Throwers” start on one end and the “Stay Alive” group on the other. The object of the game is for the “Ball Throwers” to get the other group out as quickly as possible as this is a timed event. One ball (safe and soft) is given to the “Ball Throwers” group. Throughout this game, no player can run with the ball. On the signal to begin, everyone scatters and the ball is tossed from one player of the “Ball Throwers” to another. If a “Ball Thrower” is close enough to hit a “Stay Alive” player, they try to do so (all hits must be below the belt). If a player is hit, that player is out of action and goes and sits near the timer. This type of play continues until the last “Stay Alive” player is hit. The stopwatch is stopped and the time recorded by the timer, but not given out as yet. Now, the “Stay Alive” group becomes the “Ball Throwers” and the “Ball Throwers” become the “Stay Alive” group. Play as before and note the time when the last hit is made.
Clipper Ships / Tag Game / England / Posted 8-12-2010
Divide your group in 2, 3, or 4 equal groups. Give each group enough clothespins for each player to have three. Each player will place the pins on the back / bottom of their T-shirts. Each team should have a different color pin (spray paint them). Separate the teams and on the signal to begin, the teacher can call any number they like. For example: the teacher calls 3! Three players per team enter the contest area and try to collect as many pins as they can from opposing team players. Allow each round to proceed for 30 to 45 seconds. Players take the pins back to their team area. If the teacher calls, "All ships!" Every one will be in the area collecting pins. A player may not use his/her arms to block another player. A player is not out if he/she looses all their pins. Play for a designated time and then have the teams count their loot (pins). Team with the most is awarded the title "Ruler of the Sea!"
Counselor Find / Large Group / Wide Game Posted 2-3-2010
The kids at camp always look forward to this exciting
event. Divide your camp into as many equal teams as
possible. We usually have about 5 to 10 campers per
team. This is a simple game to explain and it leads to
big fun. To be most effective, you will need a large
area to play in. Gather all the campers and counselors
in one area. Shuffle a deck of playing cards and have
each of the counselors that are going to hide, select a
card and keep the value of the card a secret from all
others. Have all the campers gather in their groups and
send the counselors out to hide. If this event is
announced a few days ahead, the counselors will be
looking for just that perfect hiding place. Boundaries
need to be given, of course. Give the counselors 5
minutes to hide. Counselors cannot change hiding places
or run from a group when found. Make sure you have a
filler activity for the campers to do that will help
pass the time. When it is time for the hunt to begin,
there are two ways to play.
Have all of the campers in each group hold a long rope. This will keep them all together during the hunt. Allow the groups to scatter (in pairs) or set-up their own team plan.
When a counselor is found, he/she will have to stay with the camper/s that found them. Allow 15 to 30 minutes for this game to continue. At the end of the selected time, blast the horn, ring the bell or whistle all the players back to the starting location. At this time, each captured counselor will show his/her card. Each group will get points per counselor found. If a card of 2-10 is shown, that’s how many points that team gets. A Jack is 11, a Queen is 12, a King is 13 and an Ace is 20 points. Play once a day for 3 to 5 days. Post the points per day on the chow-hall wall. Team with the most points at the end of the week gets to have an Ice Cream Party or something else special.
GaGa Ball / Large
Group / Beach Ball - Dodge Ball /
Many years ago I found this great game and was told it was created by a USA/Israel Youth Movement. I took the game idea and made it into a n activity for a large numbers of players. I was at a conference at the Green Family Camp in central Texas and the program directors told me this game keeps his campers / students busy for hours. For rules of the original game, Google "GaGa Game." At this camp, the game is played in a Gaga Dome. My version can be played in a regular gym or large outdoor area. In this version of the game, the object is to be the last standing at the end of the play session. Players scatter all over the hall / gym and selected players toss the beach balls into the air as everyone yells "GaGa Ball." If I have 20 players on the floor, I will use 5 beach balls. The game begins as soon as the beach balls hit the floor. At this time, any player may stop the ball from bouncing or rolling and 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 if he/she strikes the ball the wrong way. A player is out if hit below the waist with the ball. Anyone can go for the ball at anytime during this busy game. There is a rule that 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. Play until there are a few players standing or play until there is only 1 player left. Each round will only last a minute or two. Gather all the players once again and start the next round.
Asteroids and Ankle Biters / Swim Noodle -Tag Game
Divide your group into 2 groups. One group is the “Asteroid” group and will stand in a scattered formation with a sword (1/2 of a swim noodle). The “Ankle Biters” are stationary, sitting on the floor (or with one knee down on the floor). On the signal to begin, everyone with a sword tries to run and hit -- BELOW THE WAIST / ON THE BACKSIDE -- another Asteroid (who is also running) with his/her sword.
If a player is hit, they must throw the sword into the air (or to a nearby sitting player) and become an Ankle biter. Play continues until all participants are out of breath!!