Games encourage groups to break down barriers by having a little fun together. Sometimes it takes a little inspiration to find some new things to do with your team. We’ve got you covered! Here is a list of 25 new ideas to inspire you!
1. Foot Tower
Have everyone lay in a circle with their feet in the middle of the circle, and try to make a foot tower as high as they can.
Everyone loves chocolate and talking about themselves. Have everyone take a handful of M&Ms but don’t eat them yet. Then, you go around the circle and each person shares one thing about themselves per M&M. You can assign different colors different topics like family, pets, friends, love etc. if you want to get fancy.
3. The Question
Simply ask a question at the beginning of each session and let everyone who wants to answer it. This is simple, but people really get to know each other. I was in an awful freshman seminar, but the question game was my favorite part of the day. You can also have everyone put a question into a hat and then someone else picks a question, reads it, go around the circle and answer it. Passes are optional.
4. Group Juggling
Everyone stands in a circle. Start with one ball, saying one person’s name and tossing it to them – it should get to everyone with no repeats and then back to the facilitator. You may want to remind them to remember who they threw it to. Then have them repeat a little faster, and then add other objects. Start with things like tennis balls and then move up to the stuffed gorilla to get people to laugh. I really like this, but not everyone does. I like that it gets people to laugh and you can see who is able to focus.
5. Middle names
Tell us what it means. Go around the circle. Done. Good little time filler.
6. Animal Game, Quaker style
Sit in a circle, and everyone go around and decide on what will be their animal sign. Then you get a rhythm going so that its kind of like name tag: clap clap your own gesture, clap clap someone else’s gesture. Then that person has to do their own gesture and someone else’s gesture, on and on, til someone messes up. Fun and silly.
7. Screaming Toes
Stand in a circle. The facilitator will say either “look down” or “look up.” When they say look down, everyone looks at their toes. When the facilitator says “look up” they look at someone’s face. If the person they are looking at happens to be looking back, they have to scream and then they are both out. Surprisingly amusing.
8. CY Smackdown
Everyone lays down on their bellies with their heads towards the middle of the circle. Everyone puts their right hand face down, and then their left hand underneath the right hand of the person next to you. Then try and go around without a person using the wrong hand at the wrong time. If you mess up, the hand that messed up is out, but the other hand is still in til it messes up. Play with misses, double hits to reverse, knock to skip a hand, and double-knock to reverse skip.
Say “Zoom” to pass the game to the person to your left, then you can reverse the direction either with Zoom or you can make up a different word. Add other random words to move things along: “Ramp” you put your arm diagonally and the play skips the person next to you. “Zap” moves the play to any person in the circle you are looking at, and they have to continue. “Wow” makes everyone change places except the person holding the “energy ball” and “Superwow” everyone has to dance to a new spot. Make stuff up as your creativity allows. This is a game to get people focused and energized. You can play it elimination style where if you hesitate or say the wrong thing.
10. This is a What
Players sit in a circle on the ground. This is a focus game that for some reason when I was a kid we played for a long time – it’s a focus game. So, you need a pile of random objects in front of the person starting out. Let’s say they pick up a spoon and they turn to the person next to them and the following dialogue ensues.
1. This is a spoon
2. A what?
1. A spoon
2. A what?
1. A spoon
2. Oh, a spoon!
Then 2 turns to 3 and repeats this little dialogue. Meanwhile, 1 starts another dialogue with 2 with a different object. So you try to go around the circle with no one messing up the order. You might have to see it to get it.
11. Ducky Fuzz
Everyone sits in a circle. Saying “fuzzy duck” passes the play to the person on the right, and “ducky fuzz” passes the play to the left. If you mess up, you have to do a silly dance or are out.
12. Ninja Training
I always tell people that in this game, do as I say, not as I do. The facilitator will tell the group that they are going to say either “head” “shoulders” or “knees” and the players will have to touch any of these places. However, the instructor might say “head” while touching his/her shoulders and will mess everyone up. Elimination or just to test themselves and improve.
Everyone stands in a circle, and you put your right finger in the left palm of person next to you. Make sure everyone has flat palms. When the leader says “gotcha,” try to get your finger to escape and grab the person’s finger next to you. Then you can reverse (left finger, right palm) to test people. People LOVE this.
14. Finger Wiggle Thing
You know the thing where you put your hands together so that your middle fingers look like they’re one big finger wiggling in the middle? Palms together, cross middle fingers and then turn your hands in opposite directions so they are still palm to palm, but one middle finger up and one finger down. Try it by yourself, then try to do that with a partner. Then stand in a circle and see if you can get the whole group to finger wiggle together.
Define boundaries so everyone has enough room to move around. Then everyone silently picks one person at random to be their enemy and a different person to be their protector. Once everyone has picked both people, then the facilitator says “go” and everyone tries to get as close to their protector and as far away from their enemy as they can go (within the boundaries of course) Maximum fun time for this game is very short, but it’s a goofy fun one.
16. Scream Test
Great stress reliever. Everyone stands in a line, shoulder to shoulder. Then you run as long as you can scream in one breath. Then each person stops where they ran out of breath. You can do this individually or have the entire group go. Some people use this as a chance to talk about diversity in people and in nature, and how without diversity, neither groups of people nor nature would continue to function. Some people don’t. But who doesn’t like to scream and run?
17. Two Truths and a Lie
One person in the group says three things about themselves – two of which are true and one is a lie. The group has to guess which is the lie. This game is fun in its simplicity.
18. Jedi Mind Trick
A City Year fave. Everyone stands in a circle and one person in the middle is “it.” Everyone starts looking around. Once they make eye contact with someone they have to switch places. The person who is “it” will try and take someone’s place while they are in transit. A safety note – kids should cross their arms over their chest and keep these “bumpers” up during the game to reduce pushing and shoving.
Everyone stands in a circle. One person begins by clapping their hands together towards another person and screams “wah!” The person they pointed to claps their hands over their head and says “wah!” At the same time the two people standing next to the person who was pointed at pretend to chop at that person in the stomach and shout “wah!” Then the person who was pointed out points at someone else and the process starts again. Elimination game.
20. Dippety Dippety Dip
This is even more ridiculous than Wah. So, one person (A) begins by saying “Dippety Dippety Dip!” On each word A points their hands (which are clapped together) at someone. The person they point to on “Dip”, let’s call them B. B then says and points the “Dippety Dippety Dip” thing. Meanwhile, the two people standing next to B say “Dip Dip Dip” while bouncing in a circle on each “Dip.” It’s wicked confusing. So if you mess up you are out!
21. Heads and Butts
Divide into two groups. One group is the heads, and they put one hand on their head. The butts put one hand on their butt. Define boundaries. When the facilitator says “Go!’ then everyone starts to tag each other. If a head tags a butt, they become a head. If a butt tags a head, they turn into a butt. The game ends when everyone is either a head or a butt. If you go out of bounds, you have to put one hand on your head and one hand on your butt and do the “danky butt-head dance.” Way fun.
Elbow Tag – A classic. Everyone stands in a pair with elbows linked except for two people. One is “it” and one is being chased. If the person being chased gets tagged, they are it. The person being chased can be saved by finding another pair of people and linking elbows with one of them. The person on the end of that chain has to then be chased by the person who is it.
22. Giants, Wizards, Elves
A big version of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Divide the group into two groups. Each group starts out behind a set of cones or line of some sort. The groups have to decide if they are going to be giants, wizards or elves. Then the have a showdown where they shout “Giants! Wizards! Elves!” until they meet in the middle and they present whatever they are. Giants have hands above their heads, wizards have their hands out in front and elves make little elf ears with their hands. Giants beat wizards, wizards beat elves, elves beat giants. Whoever wins the showdown tries to tag the other group before they make it over the line. Anyone the winning group tags joins their team.
Tie everyone together and make them move from one place to another
24. Eetchee Meeney Hoi!
A GREAT game. This is a competitive team game, but involves no skill whatsoever. The set-up is a baseball diamond, preferably with the bases closer together than normal. Divide the group into two teams and have them each line-up behind home plate. The first person in line from each team starts walking the bases, but one team heads to 3rd base first, and the other heads to 1st base first. They should WALK until they meet the opposing team. Then they do Rock, Paper, Scissors, but they have to say Eetchee Meeney Hoi. The loser is out, and the winner continues to try and score a run. Whoever has the most runs wins. SO fun!
Stand in a circle. YEHAW with an arm movement to the left or the right passes movement around the circle. You can HAYBARN with a movement with your arms above your head and your hands together. This skips the person next to you and goes to the next person. DOWN LITTLE DOGGIE you turn your fingers into little guns and point to someone in the circle, and they are now it. If anyone messes up, they become hecklers on the side. This is usually a short game.