There are so many game ideas that it would be impossible to list them all, but we’re happy to provide you with some starter points. Don’t forget – if you come up with a great game that your kids really loved, contact us and let us know so that we can share your idea with everyone!
Evolution Janken - This game always goes down really well. Everyone starts off at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder – for instance, in the Christmas game, everyone starts as a stocking, crawling around on the floor on their bellies. Each person plays janken with the first person they meet. The winner gets to move up the ladder – for instance, they become a Christmas tree, and get to stand up with their arms sticking out. They can then move around the room, playing janken with other Christmas trees, in order to move up to the top of the ladder, from Christmas tree to snowman, to reindeer to Santa Claus. The person who loses janken moves back down the ladder. Each person should only play janken with people who are at the same level e.g. if both are stockings. It really helps if you bring in some simple posters to show the stages of evolution and think of some funny accompanying movements to go with each stage!
Bingo - I doubt this needs much explanation! This is a great way for the volunteers and kids to sit and chat together, particularly if you ask a different person each time to call out a number. Asking different people for numbers is also a good way to introduce everyone to the group. It’s good to bring some prizes, but keep them small – stickers or a scented stamp on the back of the hand are great tokens.
Memory game - Make a small set of cards with pairs of simple pictures or words on them; for example, you could make a set with numbers or colours. In small groups, spread out all the cards face down on the floor. Take it in turns to turn over any two cards. The aim is to find as many matches as possible and the person who finds the most, wins!
Any card game is good for smaller groups – Why not ask the kids if they know some card games to teach you?
Big Chief - Have everyone make a circle. Choose one person to be the leader. Choose another person to be “It” and have them stand in the center of the circle. This person will have to guess who the leader is. It’s important to note that the guessing person should be outside of the room when the leader is being chosen! The leader will do many different actions (clapping, jumping up and down, etc.) and everyone else will mimic the leader. You can limit the number of guesses to make sure the guesser doesn’t point at everyone! Generally, the leader will become the next person to guess. The more creative the actions are, the more fun the game will be.
Marshmallow Towers - Set out some paper to cover the ground or table, give the kids marshmallows and toothpicks and let them loose. You can set a time limit to make it more competitive. The team with the tallest tower wins! However, everyone ends up being a winner because they all get to eat marshmallows. Note: you might want to check with the staff beforehand to make sure there are no dietary restrictions.
Snowball Fight/Snowman Building Contest - Some of us up north are blessed (or cursed) with loads of snow during the winter. What better way to make use of it than with a snowball fight? You can play snow dodgeball, or make teams to have a snowman building contest. Make sure you remind your volunteers to bring their snow gear!
For other game ideas, turn to good old Google – just type in ‘game ideas.’ Other good sites to check out are GenkiEnglish.com and the BBC.