Updated 10/12/12

 Indoor Games (full descriptions and instructions below - click on game)   Keep in mind, almost all indoor games can be played outside
Game Name Description Set-up Maximimum time Ages
Garbage Can Game Elimination game, kids get other kids to touch a chair Need a garbage can or chair, and clear area 20 minutes 8 and up
Human Tic-Tac-Toe Teams compete in tic-tac-toe Need 9 chairs 20 minutes 5 and up
Clumps Elimination game, kids clump into groups None 20 minutes 5 and up
Shuffle Your Buns Perpetual game where individual tries to sit in circle One chair per participant 20 minutes 5 and up
Chair Soccer Teams play "soccer" sitting down in two rows One chair per participant and a ball 20 minutes 5 and up
Indoor Soccer Just soccer, but indoors - use softer ball Goals - need confined space 60 minutes All
Human Foosball Teams compete to score goals One chair per participant and a balloon 20 minutes 5 and up
Letter Game Teams compete to make shapes with bodies None 20 minutes 5 and up
Yes/No Brain game involving a couple individuals None 10 minutes 8 and up
Trust Fall More of a lesson/activity than a game Chair or elevated platform to fall off of 10 minutes 5 and up
Broom Game/Black Magic None or a broom 10 minutes 8 and up
Sticker Tag Teams put as man stickers on each other as possible (GREAT game) Packs of dot stickers 30 minutes All
Mafia Deck of cards 30 minutes 8 and up
Murder Detective tries to figure who murderer is Index cards for each person and a pencil 30 minutes 6 and up
I Never... (Switch if...) Perpetual game helps kids learn about each other One chair per participant in circle 15 minutes 4 and up
Dodgeball No description needed Balls (get the good ones - rhino), clear area Forever 5 and up
Balloon War/Snowball Fight Team event to get most balloons on other teams side Balloons (more the better) and a tape line 15 minutes All
Burst the Balloon Elimination game where you burst balloons on other players feet Balloons and string (precut is better) 20 minutes (10 playing) All
Bomb, Torpedo Elimination game, better outside, but about ability to follow commands None 25 minutes All
Days of the Week
(Seasons of the Year)
Elimination game, more about quick mind but need quick feet 7 rows of chairs/pews 20 minutes 6 and up
Say What? Elimination game - party environment (play in background of other activity) baby pins - 1 per person Background - 1 hour 8 and up
Two-by-Two Ice Breaker index cards (or printed pictures of animals) 10 minutes 2 and up

Outdoor Games (full descriptions and instructions below - click on game) 

Game Name Description Set-up Ages
Jail Break 5 and up
Capture the Flag (Glow and Regular) 5 and up
Color Wars 5 and up
Fishy Fishy/Octopus Octopus 5 and up
Blob Tag 5 and up
Elbow Tag
Steal the Bacon
Mission Impossible
4-way soccer
Treasure Island
Mission Impossible
Frisbee Toss
Counselor Hunt

Party Games
Game Name Description Set-up Maximimum time Ages
Christmas:  Guess the Christmas Carol (words) Print out sheet for each person 20 minutes 10 and up
Christmas:  Guess the Christmas Carol (pictures) Print out sheet for each person 20 minutes 8 and up
Find the Person who... (Christmas and non) Print out sheet for each person 30 minutes 8 and up
Christmas:  White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules below and there is a nice rhyme Everyone brings a gift, and printout rhyme Depends on people but usually 30 minutes 5 and up
Funny hat game (or santa hat) Elimination game - party environment (play in background of other activity) Need a hat for each person
Say What? Elimination game - party environment (play in background of other activity) baby pins - 1 per person Background - 1 hour 8 and up
Christmas:  Human Christmas Tree Pick a couple volunteers and have the other kids decorate them like a Christmas Tree
Gift Wrap Twins

Garbage Can Game 

Set-up: Any number of people.  Hold hands in a circle around a garbage can (other freestanding objects such as a chair or box can be substituted).  Two rules:  1.  If you touch the garbage can you are out.  If you separate hands with the person next to you, you both are out.  Object: To be the last one remaining  Gameplay:  Participants try to get the individuals next to them to make contact with the garbage can by pushing or pulling them into it. 

Human Tic-Tac-Toe

Set-up:  Two rows of people (one row is X’s the other row is O’s) facing each other with 9 chairs in a tic tac toe pattern between them.  Must play with an even number of people.  People on each row should be given a unique number (say one to ten).  People in the opposite row should be given identical numbers (again one to ten).  An adult should act as the number caller.  When the adult calls out a number, both people (one from the Xs and one from the Os) will race to sit in a chair.  The first chair they touch they must take.  First team to get 3 in a row wins.  If there is a stalemate (neither team gets 3 in a row), the board should be cleared.  However, another deviation on this game, since there are nine total seats is whichever team gets 5 seats filled wins.


Very simple game played by any number of people.  Usually at least 20.  Very simple concept.  The game organizer would calls out a number,  "4".  The individuals need to combine into groups of four.  Anyone unable to complete a group of four is eliminated (so if you had 18 kids, you'd get 4 groups of 4 and 2 kids would not be in a group and eliminated).  After the two kids were eliminated, the organizer would then say "mingle" which indicates the kids need to walk around so they don't form the same groups each time.  After a few seconds, the organizer would call a new number "5".  Since there were 16 kids, you will now get 3 groups of 5 and 1 kid will be eliminated.  The object of the game is to be one of the last people remaining.

Word of caution.  This can be a REALLY fun game, but you need to make sure that there isn't any cliches or bullying going on.  The organizer also needs to keep an eye to see who are the stranglers as they will try to join a "clump" late.  At a camp I worked at, this was the favorite game for a couple years, so it can be very successful. 

Shuffle Your Buns – Chairs in a circle with one open.  Person in the middle tries to sit in the open seat.  If does, person they replaced is now it

Chair Soccer – two lines of chairs, drop ball in center.  One group kicks in one direction, other group kicks in other direction.  If it makes it out of chair line, it is a goal.

Indoor Soccer – Soccer indoors with a softer ball

Human Foosball – have two people sitting next to each other in chairs facing opposite directions.  Use a balloon.

 Letter Game

Two teams, one line per team (two total lines).  A judge will call out either a letter, number or picture and the people in the front of the line will lie down on the ground and make the object as fast as they can.  The first team to make the object to the judges satisfaction gets a point.  It is often helpful for each team to have a person at the front of the line to direct traffic.  For example.  The judge says “I want to see the letter ‘T’”  The front two people in each team should go as fast as they can and lay down on the ground to make a letter T.  The first team to make the letter to the judges satisfaction gets a point.  Those two people then go to the end of the line, and the judge will ask for, say, an “A”.  The next three people (or however many people the team deems necessary) will make an A.  The judge says who won that round, and the three people going to the end of their teams line.  It’s actually a very simple game and can be played for long periods of time,


Send three people out of the room.  Tell the large group of people that whenever the people ask a question that ends with a vowel – A,E,I,O,U they should all respond “yes”.  When they ask a question that ends with a consonant, they should all respond “no”.  Clarify “y” – either respond “maybe” or “no”.  Bring the three people back into the room and tell them, “Something happened and it is your job to try and figure out what.  You can ask us any question you want, we will only respond with a yes or no answer”.  The joke is, they will be making up the story based on the questions they ask.  For example, if they ask, “Did it involve a car” No “Did it involve Steve” YES “Was Steve outside” YES “Did he fall down” NO “Did he get upset” NO and so on.

Trust fall

Similar to trust walk, purpose is to teach people to trust others.  Have four pairs of people interlocking hands.  Person stands above them on the edge of the wall but is not aware they are there.  They need to fall back and get caught by the group


Organizer has an index card (or piece of paper) for each participant.  If there are 20 kids or under, you mark one card "Detective" and one card "Murderer" (If over 20 kids may want to consider having 2 murderers and 2 detectives.  Each kid gets a card but doesn't show their cards to other people.  Kid looks at card, and then organizer collects cards.  "Who is the detective?"  Detective raises hand.  "Everyone is going to mingle for 2 minutes, there is a murderer in our midst.  The murderer is going to find a victim by whispering to someone 'You are dead'.  Continue to mingle, and the victim cannot reveal they are going to die or who the murderer is.  When the lights turn out, the victim will scream and fall to the ground.  The lights will come back on and the organizer will say 'there has been a murder, detective, please guess who the murderer is'.  If the detective guesses correctly, the game ends and we play another round, if not, we continue until everyone is dead (or you can stop at 5 people)".

Switch (if you…) aka “I never” or “I like someone who” – Everyone sits in a circle of chairs with every seat filled.  Person in center says “I like someone who xxx (has blue eyes)”.  Everyone with blue eyes must get out of their seat and find another seat that is open while the person who was in the center finds a seat.  Whoever cannot find a seat is now in the center and says “I like someone who xxx (has been out of the state)”

Advice:  This is a really great game to be an ice breaker.  I've played it with 5 people and with 80 people and it is fun either way although you might want to consider having multiple circles if your numbers get higher than 30.  Another fun thing is for the person in the center to target people like "I like someone who got engaged in Hawaii last summer".  Then that person has to get up, and there are no seats for them to go to, so they are stuck in the center and have to be the caller.

Sticker Tag – You need to purchase the following stickers (see below) or something similar.  The neon stickers are more fun cause they can be used during a glow night as well.  You can break kids up in teams many ways, but shirt colors, gender, etc (something easily identifiable is better).  Give each kid a sticker sheet (it is good to give them different color sheets but not essential).  When you say "Go" their job is to put as many stickers as they can on members of the other team.  After about 2-3 minutes yell "Stop" (If you let this go too long you will be out of stickers and it will take forever to count, we keep giving kids more sticker sheets).  Have the kids reassemble into their teams and count which team has the fewest stickers.  The team with the fewest stickers wins.  You can switch up teams, or just play a couple more rounds.  Note, with older kids (Junior and Senior Highers) we say you can only stick people on their back.

Application - A great tie in would be the book "You are Special" by Max Lucado.  If you have read thee book, you will understand.


Balloon War/Snowball Fight

A glow night activity (or non glow night) is a neon balloon snowball fight.  All you need is to divide a room equally, we used neon duct tape since it glows with black lights.  You play music and tell the kids to throw ballons on the other team's side of the neon line.  When the music stops, whoever has the least snowballs on their side wins.

glow balloon wars

Burst the Balloon

Each player has one balloon tied to each foot.  At the word “go,” the players scramble to try to pop the other player’s balloons.

When both of a player’s balloon are popped, s/he is out, and has to sit on the sidelines until the game is over.

The last person with an unpopped balloon wins.

This works best in a confined space.  As players get eliminated, you should reduce the space they can use.  If the game starts to drag, you might have to add rules, like, no keeping your feet off the floor, and you can add assassins (people who were already eliminated can come back to help pop balloons)


This is a game where kids have to follow commands quickly.  We usually play a few rounds before we start calling people out.  We call kids out for one of three reasons:

1.  They are the last one to execute the command 50% of kids eliminated
2.  They flinch when we call the same command twice in a row 30% of kids eliminated
3.  They do the wrong command 20% eliminated

The commands we use are as follows:

1.  half deck/trees - we usually pick some object to the left of all the kids and tell them to go in that direction.  "TREES!" is yelled by leader or "HALF DECK"
2.  quarter deck/house - our house is in the opposite direction of the trees so we tell the kids to go in that direction, or we use "QUARTER DECK"
3.  bomb - this is a squatting position where the kids make themselves into a ball and put their hands around their legs
4.  torpedo - kids are laying down on the ground and should be facing the last direction you called

optional additional commands:
5.  freeze - kids need to stop in place
6.  missile - much like torpedo but instead of being on their stomachs they are on their backs with their hands together over their heads


I would start by calling "trees (wait 2 seconds), house (2 secs), trees (2 secs), house (2 secs), bomb, (2 seconds) torpedo (2 seconds)"  Do this or similar commands a couple times until the kids get the hang of the game.  Like simon sez, you try to get more difficult as time goes by and the last one into the bomb or torpedo position is out.  When the kids get really good, you start calling bomb twice in a row or torpedo twice in a row and if the person flinches, they are out.  Freeze is also a great way to get kids out.

Last kid remaining wins.  Kids are good to play this game 2-3 times.


Two-by-Two is a loud game that will get everyone laughing.

You can distribute animals anyway you want to.  We made a stack of 3x5 cards with a picture of an animal on each card (need to have an even number of cards so the organizer may have to play if you have an odd number).  We threw the cards in the air and let everyone pick one up, but if you don't like chaos, it probably makes more sense to pass them out.  

After being given a few moments to think, at the word “go,” everyone acts like their assigned animal – flapping their wings, stomping their hooves, waddling like a penguin – and tries to find their “mate” in the room.  When they find their "mate" they sit down, and the last two to find each other lose.  (we just play 3 rounds and move to the next game).

They aren't allowed to use words at all!


Balance Beam Jump

Simply get your entire team over a balance beam or wall without touch the wall.  Wall should be roughly 3-4 feet tall.  If a player touches the wall, they will need to go back onto the other side and try again.  The entire team needs to start on one side of the wall and time stops once they are on the other side of the wall.  The last person will most likely have to hurdle the wall.


Trust walk

Put a group of people in a line (like a train) with each person holding the person in front’s shoulders.  Blindfold everyone except the person in front.  Walk through rough terrain or an “obstacle” course.  Purpose is to teach people to trust others.



Handicapped Relay

Do a relay or obstacle course giving each person a handicap.  Blindfold one, tie a rope around an arm for another.  Ear plugs for a third etc.  Make them do various activities like climbing walls, walking balance beams, etc.  Purpose is to teach compassion and utilizing strengths.  Also teaches teamwork as the team is not done until the last person is finished.


Frisbee Toss

Play with 6-12 players.  Each player places one foot inside a tire (or paper plate or rock) that is situated in a circle.  Each tire should be at lest 8-10 feet apart.  The first person in the circle passes a Frisbee to the second person, who passes it to third and so on until it reaches the last person in the circle.  If the Frisbee drops, the team will need to start from the beginning until they can successfully pass it throughout the circle without a single drop.  Once the last person catches the Frisbee, it is their job to throw the Frisbee into a garbage can (or through a hula-hoop).  If they miss, the other teammates are allowed to vacate their positions and retrieve the Frisbee for the last person.  Once the Frisbee lands inside the garbage can the clock should stop.  The team that completes this game quickest wins.  The purpose of this game is to teach individuals to place people in positions based on their skills.  Individuals that are weakest at this short should be placed at the beginning since mistakes at the end of the circle are much more costly time-wise than mistakes at the beginning.

 Drip, Drip, Drop – Duck duck goose but you drip on someone’s head instead of saying duck and splash them instead of goose.

Party Games

Christmas:  Guess the Christmas Carol (words)


Christmas Carole Participant and Answer Sheet

Christmas:  Guess the Christmas Carol (pictures)


Find the Person who ...


Participant Sheet

Christmas:  White Elephant Gift Exchange

We do a complicated gift exchange for adults, but it is a lot of fun.  

For each adult/older kid who brings a present, we put a number in a hat.  They each get to pick a number out of a hat.  Next step is to get a gift in each person's hands.  Since it took forever for the adults to pick a gift from under the tree, we use this rhyme to get the gift, but after they get the gift they cannot open it!

Rhyme (word doc)

After everone has a present, we let #1 open his/her gift.  After number one has chosenunwrapped it, number two can swap a gift with #1 or unwraps his/her gift. If a swap occurs, the person given the unopened gift can either swap with someone else or open the gift.  There are no swap backs (you can't take the gift stolen from you back immediately).  We play, if a gift is stolen 3 times it is locked with that person.

When all of the gifts are opened, #1 ends the game by have the right to the last swap.  After #1 decides to keep or swap, your gift is your gift.  You can trade, but you can't steal anymore...

Funny hat game (or santa hat)

As each person enters the room, hand them a fun hat (or Santa hat) and instruct them to keep it on until they see you take yours off.

Once everyone is wearing a hat, mingle and engage in conversation until everyone starts to forget about the game. Once your guests are distracted, quietly remove your hat and wait to see who catches on and does the same.

The last guest to have his hat on is the loser, and can be the one to start the next round.

Say What?

One of my favorites.  When everyone arrives, give everyone a baby pin (I do this at dinner or announcements).  If you say the word "what" you need to give the person who discovers it first (or the person you were talking to if two people hear it simultaneously) your pin.  If someone gets everyone's pins that person wins, otherwise the winner is the person with the most pins at the end of the night.  Even if you lost your pin, you can still play (if you can get someone to say "what").  People who get the most pins quickly become targets and very popular (so it gets people to talk to strangers).  You can substitute the word "what" with "Christmas" or "me" or something else, but you want to use a word people use often (but not too often like "the").

Gift Wrap Twins
This is a game for teams of two, regardless of age.

Each team stands side by side, and has their inside hands tied together.

The person on the left has his right hand tied to the left hand of the person next to him.

Each team is given a box, wrapping paper, ribbon, scissors and tape. With only one hand each, they have to completely wrap the package and tie it with a bow. The team that wraps the package correctly and quickest wins.

How to build a carpet ball table ($50 + cost of poolballs)

Home Depot (and I assume Lowes) sells carpet in 12 foot lengths, so that was ultimately my target.  I bought a carpet piece 2'x12'.  I also got a piece of the brown plywood looking board (that is pretty light).  It comes in 4'x8' sheets.  Cut the sheet in half so you have a 2'x8' segment.  I also got 2 boards of decent quality pin wood that are I believe 1"x15"x12' long (the only important dimension is in must be at least 10' long).  I cut the board at about 10' long and used the extra 2' for end boards.  Also needed one 2x4x10 (12 is better) to cut up as 5 support beams.

I will try to draw a picture and email it, but you basically build a box with the 2 1x15x10s (cut an angel for appearance if youd like), and the 2 1x15x2 (leftover from the 1x15x12 - cut these down to match the angel on the big boards) and you put the 5 2x4x2 as supports in the middle.  Screw everything together.  Put the 2x8 brown board on the 2x4s, and all you have left is the angles.  I patched them together with scrap would, you you can use a 1x4 to support the angle, and use the extra 2x8 segment for the angel.  then you just staple gun the strip of carpet over the top.

So material list is:

carpet piece commercial 2'x12' ($10)
light plywood/brown board 4'x8' ($10)
2 good quality pine 1"x15"x12' (for the "box" and left over pieces for scrap to build the angel pieces) ($20)
2x4x10 for structure  ($2)
about 20 screws ($2)
10 poolballs and a cueball (I like the minis better but you can use full sized)