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17 Party Games For Kids

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by Serena (subscribe)
Just a girl spreading the word about all the fun (and probably nerdy) things to do!
Published April 20th 2013
Inside, outside, rain or shine there can always be fun
For a while now I've been accumulating lots of fun games for kids as I've been to many kids parties and learnt of many games, I feel now is a good time to spread this knowledge. These games are a combination of indoor and outdoor games so they can be played rain or shine even at lunchtime in the school playground.

Game 1: Captain's Coming
Select one person to be the captain (if there's an adult running the game it's best to use them) the captain will call out a term such as "scrub the deck" and all the players must do the action associated with the term. As an added step if the captain calls "Captain's Coming" then all players must stand up and salute, and must not do any other movement until the term "Captain's Gone" is called. If the captain calls "Captain's Coming" then "scrub the deck" if anyone moves then they are out. This continues until "Captain's Gone" is called. If a player does the wrong action they are similarly out.
The Actions:
Scrub the deck - on your hands and knees scrubbing the floor
Climb the riggings - act as if you are climbing a ladder (quickly)
Man the lifeboats - players get into pairs and put their feet together and link hands rocking back and forth as if rowing a boat (if there are odd numbers the player with no partner is out)
Man on fire - players run about flailing their arms as if on fire
Port - all players run to the leftmost wall
Starboard - all players run to the rightmost wall
Captain's coming - stand up and salute
Captain's gone - blow a raspberry and open your palm placing your thumb on your nose and wiggling your fingers
Captain's girlfriend - put your hands on your hips and spin your hips in a circle (like with a hula hoop) and go whoowhoo (like the whistle call)

Game 2: Fruit Salad
Get all the children into pairs and make them take off their shoes (and socks). Have each pair sit with their feet pressed together and line up all the pairs so that you end up with one long line. Now let each pair of players be assigned a fruit, have one person call out the different fruits at random and when a particular fruit is called the pair that is assigned that fruit must run down the line of players taking at least one step between the legs of each player on their side of the line (the red arrows) then sit back down the first person to sit back in their spot wins a point for their side.
Children playing Fruit Salad
Fruit Salad Game Plan

One whole turn of the pair must be run before another fruit can be called. If "Fruit Salad" is called then all the pairs run one by one starting from one end making their way to the other end. Only one person from a side may be standing at once and the first side to finish wins the point.
When playing this game be careful that people don't step on toes or trip over legs.

Game 3: Round and Round the Big Fat Pony
All players stand in a circle (yes standing) and there are about 4 people who are in (depends on the size of the group) and stand inside the circle. All the players sing the song "Here we go around the pony, round and round the big fat pony. Here we go around the pony, this is how we do it" and as it is being sung the 4 players in the centre of the circle run or skip around the circle. By the end of this bit all 4 people must be standing in front of 4 people of the circle.The next bit goes "Front, front, front my baby. Back, back, back my baby. Side, side, side my baby. This is how we do it." For the 'front' part the pairs (one in the circle and one out) jump facing each other, back is back to back and side is side to side, and "this is how we do it" players swing arms and a new set of people are it.
This one's a little hard to explain verbally so here is a video link.

Game 4: Red Light Green Light
A person is 'it' and stands at the end of the room, they turn to face the wall and all the other players (starting from the other end of the room) move towards the player who is 'it' in order to tap them. At random the player who is 'it' turns around, and all the other players must freeze, if they move they must go back to the other side of the room. The first player to tap 'it' wins and becomes the new player who is 'it'.

Game 5: What's The Time Mr Wolf?
Similar to Red Light Green Light, a player stands at the end of the room (the wolf) and everyone else at the other end. The wolf faces the wall and the others yell "What's the time Mr Wolf?" and the wolf replies with "____ o'clock" whatever number is picked is how many steps the others must take. After each round the wolf can see how close the other players are. The aim of the game is that the wolf must be tapped, and as soon as he/she is the wolf must run after the other players (who all try to get back to the starting point) if a player is tapped then they become the new wolf.

Game 6: Murder Winks
In this game everyone sits in a circle and one player goes outside and covers their eyes and ears this player is the detective. A player at random is picked to be the murderer who will wink at people to kill them. When the murderer is picked, the detective comes back and stands in the middle of the circle, and the murderer starts winking at players who then die a dramatic death. The detective has 3 guesses to pick who the murderer is. Then the players swap and the murderer becomes the new detective. - Royalty-Free (RF) Images

Game 7: Keep The Pattern
Sit the children in a circle and have one child stand outside and close their eyes/cover their ears. Silently pick a child within the circle to be the pattern changer. That child will start off doing a movement like clicking their fingers, or tapping their legs and everyone else will follow. The pattern changer will periodically change the motion they are doing and the child who was outside must come back in (standing in the middle of the circle) and guess who the pattern changer is within 3 guesses.

Game 8: Keep The Pattern Variation
In this version there is only one person who changes the pattern, and everyone knows who it is. Basically, on person starts off by doing a motion such as clapping their hands, then they change to for example tapping their knees. The 'audience' only starts clapping their hands once the 'motion changer' has started tapping their knees. The 'motion changer' changes again to clicking their fingers, and that is when the 'audience' can start tapping their knees.
To make it harder and harder leave more and more changes before the 'audience' can start. For example that the 'motion changer' has done 4 actions before the 'audience' can start on the first motion. It's a good way to see how well you can remember things.

Game 9: Earth Wind Fire Elvis
Once again, a variation on musical statues, when the music stops a narrator calls out one of the four Earth/Wind/Fire/Elvis and the players must do the action associated. The last player or whomever does the wrong action is out.
Earth - Bob to the ground
Wind - Spin in a circle with your arms out
Fire - Jump about as if on fire
Elvis - Play the air guitar (with sound)

Game 10: Cat and Mouse
All players (except for two) are linked in a circle and all hold hands. The players can hold their hands down or up making opening and closing archways. One player is the cat, and the other is the mouse. The mouse starts on the inside of the circle and the cat on the outside. The aim is for the cat to try and catch the mouse, and both players are able to run through the circle. The players who make the circle can choose to "open" doorways by raising their hands or "closing" them by lowering their hands. For example they could raise their hands to let the mouse through but then lower their hands to stop the cat from following. Players aren't allowed to go under 'closed' doors.
With all running games be careful of falling, and try to make sure you don't bring down your hands on someone's head.

Game 11: Tangled
Some Very Tangled Teenagers

Tangled is a game simple enough, everyone clumps into a group and holds hands with somebody else and everyone in the group must untangle themselves until they make one giant circle.

Game 12: A Pineapple?
All players make a line and from one end a player starts by saying to the person next to them "here is a pineapple" and they say back "a what?" then the first person says "a pineapple, pass it on". Next, the second person turns to the third and says "here is a pineapple" and the third says "a what?" then the second turns to the first and says "a what?" and the first says "a pineapple" and the second to the third "a pineapple, pass it on" and this continues until it reaches the end of the line. Now, from the other end of the line, the same continues but with "a banana" and this continues (and once it crosses over in the middle people really start to get confused) until you reach the ends or everyone just gets muddled.

Game 13: Fly
For this game, you'll need some sticks or ribbons as markers. What you do is place the sticks into a line (like a ladder) a decent space apart. All players line up and jump through the gaps (must be two feet together, one jump per line). Once everyone has passed through the last person takes one of the sticks away, and everyone jumps through the gaps again. This continues until there are no sticks left or only one player left. If a player takes more than one jump between sticks or doesn't jump with both feet together they are out. You are able to take a running start before your first leap but not between jumps.
This game is best done outside where there's less chance of slipping and sliding.

Game 14: Chinese Whispers
Another straight forward game that everyone knows, all players sit in a circle and one person starts off by whispering a phrase to the person next to them. Each person repeats the message once and only once to the person next to them until it makes its way around the circle and is said aloud to the whole group, usually twisted and morphed hilariously.
Chinese Whispers Circle

Game 15: 24 Home
A combination of Tip and Hide-and-Seek, where the place that the person who is 'it' has been counting (to 24) is 'Home'. While 'it' is counting, all other players must find a hiding spot. Once 'it' has finished counting, players must try and run back to 'Home' and touch it and say "24 Home". The last person to get back to 'Home', or is tipped by 'it' is the new 'it'.

Game 16: Stuck in the mud
This should be played outside, where players can run about. Two players are 'it' and when they call "START" all the other players must run from one side of the field to the other. When a player gets tipped they are then 'stuck in the mud' and must stand with their hands out and their legs apart. If another player crawls through their legs then that player becomes un-stuck and can run away again. This continues until either everyone is stuck or get too tired to play on.

Game 17: Octopus
Octopus is very similar to stuck in the mud however when you get tipped you are stuck for good and you may tip other players as they run past and make them stuck too. When you get down to only about three players left it really is a skill to be able to dodge everybody!

So next time you're in need of a game to play at a party or when you are simply bored check the list and keep the fun times coming!
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Why? Lots of fun for any weather
When: Whenever
Where: Indoors and Outdoors
Cost: Free
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