Short Rope Activities
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Individually tie their ends together and you have rope circles. Tie them together to make longer ropes. Use them as jump ropes, finish lines, or safety zones. Here are some games you can play with these short ropes.
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Some of these games are played with the tarp used as a tarp. Some of the games described in this section, however, are “board games” and the tarp is used as the board. For most of the board games, you will need to make a grid pattern on one side of the tarp. And instead of making the grid each time you play a game, we recommend that you make the grid one time, leaving it permanently on one side of the tarp, whether you use the grid for the game or not. The grid consists of seven horizontal lines (a foot apart from each other) that intersect seven vertical lines (a foot apart from each other). We use tape (either masking or duct) to make the lines. Your tarp should look like a big piece of graph paper containing 64 fairly equal 12 inch squares. And for the game of checkers described later, you will need to fill in every other space with an “X” (or painting the entire square in black) made out of tape so it really does look like a checkerboard. For the games that do not use the checkerboard, you can flip the tarp over and make the game-specific board on that side.
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Here are some balloon games. For some of them you will want to play them only when you know that you will not be using balloons for the rest of the day because during the game they will get popped, either accidentally or on purpose, and if many of them pop you will diminish your supply rather quickly. And anyway, once you tie a balloon, you’re pretty much stuck with it, until you pop it to get rid of it. So either way, if you use a balloon, you have used it up. For that reason if you are planning on playing more than one, you might want to have some extra balloons on hand and play the games first that will not result in popped balloons. There are many other games besides the ones that follow that can be played with a balloon. These involve substituting a balloon for beach ball and a footbag in games that are found in the Beach Ball and the Footbag sections.
Single Ball Activities
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Playing a game with a ball is a human pursuit that dates back to pre-historic times. Early people created games played with a ball that at times meant life or death for the losing team. We don’t want you to take it that far but do let your imagination run wild with the possibilities of variations of the games and activities in this chapter. For some of these games, one ball works better than another. If that is the case for a particular game, it is so indicated.
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In these activities, the propellers are taken apart and the handles are used as sticks. The sticks are then used in the following games. Most of the games are to be played by two people or two groups of people. The game “One Line China” I have played for a group of ten or so kids, with each one trying their luck against me, one at a time. In this version of this game, it can be just as informative to watch two players playing as it is to be playing. That way the other players can really concentrate on figuring out the pattern (the secret).
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These propellers make an excellent icebreaker, especially when you have a group where the members arrive to your training/activity at different times. They also make a fun give-away after a day’s play. When disassembled, the handles of the propellers can be used for the stick games and discovery games found at the end of this chapter. Some of the games are unique to the propellers. Propellers can also be used in some of the games found in the SINGLE BALL section.
Multiple Ball Activities
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Sometimes, working with groups takes more than one ball. Sometimes it takes a lot of balls and so you better be ready to lead games that use more than one ball. These activities will have groups juggling balls, tossing balls, hiding balls, running with balls, grabbing balls, stuffing balls, and just generally having a ball.
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Many of these games are variations of the old school Kickball game we used to play in school, so when a game is described as having kickers and runners, the game should look something like the Kickball games we played as a kid. And you, the Group Leader, are responsible for making sure it does. You will have to decide things like: out of bounds areas; distance between bases; distance between pitchers and kickers; whether you will have pitchers or let the Group Leader do all the pitching; how many points are scored for each crossing of home plate; how many outs per inning; how many innings; etc. Or better yet, empower the group and let them decide. Obviously the Kickball is your main prop here, but you will need additional props (to be used primarily as bases and boundaries) on most of the activities.
Long Rope Activities
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It’s a boundary line. It’s a net. It’s a maze. It’s an end-zone. It’s a jump rope. It’s a center line. It’s a metaphor. It’s an obstacle. It’s a great prop for lots of activities, like the ones that follow.
Flying Disc Activities
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Flying discs make great warm-up props, especially when a group arrives at different times to your training. Just throw a disc out there and groups will generally play along. This gives a chance for groups to interact on their own while waiting for the others to show up. As a general rule, most everyone can learn to throw a disc with a little practice. For the more proficient folks you could show them some of the more “advanced” throws (assuming you know them yourself) and let them try those out as well.
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Pity the poor bandana. No piece of equipment in our Gaggle of Games pack has historically been so misunderstood and misused. This once noble piece of cloth has been degraded by bank robbers in the old west, “troubled youth” in the new west, and farmers with a bad case of the sniffles in the midwest. So maligned are bandanas due to fears of gang-related behavior that they have been banned from many public schools. Our bandanas, however, have a different purpose entirely; one, we hope, with much purer intentions. As a blindfold, a guarded treasure, a stepping stone, and a generally friendly (but sometimes challenging)piece of equipment to be used in the games that follow.
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the great thing about spots as props is that you can make a spot out of just about anything. a paper plate, a twig, a quarter (a dollar if you are rich), a business card, etc. once you have a “spot,”you can do any of the spot games in this chapter. the spots in our gaggle of games Pack are rubber jar openers. after trying several prototypes, we decided that the jar openers are the cheapest in the long run. If you find a better spot, please let us know. a great spot will be lightweight, will not slide or slip (safety for runners), and won’t break the bank. Many of these activities require other props but the variety is endless and I’m sure you can add a bunch more spot games to the ones we’ve compiled for you.
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The footbag is an excellent way to get teenagers excited about a program. All you have to do is break one of them out of your pack, throw it to the group, and the group immediately starts “hacking” (kicking the footbag around); often times with no instruction from you. And we have known groups that could go for hours, perfectly content playing off in a corner by themselves with no need for supervision or guidance from the Group Leader. This alone makes the footbag a worthwhile investment in your games repertoire. We have also given the footbag to individuals who have for whatever reason chosen not to participate in a given activity (or a whole days worth of activities). This gives them something to do (instead of sitting around bored out of their head) that requires no policing from you; giving you peace of mind that all of your students are occupied. We have included two in the Gaggle of Games pack to allow two groups to “hack” simultaneously, whether they be two groups of different skill levels , separate boy and girl groups, or groups with players you want to keep apart from each other.
Beach Ball Activities
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Beach balls are fun to hit around with your friends at the beach, in the backyard, at a Britney Spears concert, and most importantly, with your group of corporate executives, teenagers, and camp kids. We’ve included games that use either a giant beach ball (48 inches in circumference) or a smaller one; and some that you could play with either one. As a Group Leader, you may want to play games with the small beach ball for two reasons: One, with little kids (4th grade or younger) the big beach ball might physically be too much for them to handle; And two, playing any of these games in a confined space (a classroom, for instance) might be better suited for the small ball. Most of the games that follow involve hitting the ball up into the air and keeping it up in the air with the help of your teammates.