Red Light, Green Light: With enough room, this game can easily be played inside. One person is the traffic light at one end, and the other players are at the other end. When the traffic light faces the group, he or she says, “Red light!” and everyone must freeze. The traffic light then turns his or her back and says, “Green light!” while the group tries to get as close to the traffic light as possible. The traffic light turns around quickly, again saying, “Red light!”, and if anyone is spotted moving, they have to go back to the starting place. The first person to tag the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light.
Mother, May I: This game is set up in the same way as Red Light Green Light. One person in the group asks the person in the front, “Mother, may I take <insert number> steps forward?” The person at the front then says, “Yes, you may.” or “No, you may not.” You can vary your requests by including options such as taking baby steps, spinning steps, leaps or whatever strikes your fancy. Again, the first person to tag the person in the front wins and is the next person in the front.
Simon Says: This game can be played anywhere, even in a car or other small space. One person is Simon and starts by saying, “Simon says, ‘<insert action here>.'” Everyone must then do the action. However, if Simon makes an action request without saying, “Simon says” to begin the request, anyone who does that action is out. The last person still playing in the end will be Simon for the next round.
Tag: It seems that everyone knows how to play tag, but just in case it wasn’t in your childhood game playing repertoire, here is how you play. A group of kids decides who will start out as being “it.” That person chases the other people around, trying to tag one of them with their hand. The newly tagged person is now “it.” There is often the rule of “no tag-backs” where you can’t tag the person who just tagged you. The game ends when everyone is tired of playing.
Shadow Tag: In this fun version of Tag, you tag each other’s shadow with your feet instead of tagging their body. Thus, it must be played on a sunny day. The closer to noon, the greater the difficulty.
Freeze Tag: This is a variation of Tag where if the person who is “it” tags you, you have to freeze where you are. Another participant can tag you to unfreeze you.
Telephone: This game is one in which most people end up laughing quite a bit, so if you’re in the mood for silliness, give it a go. Players sit in a circle. One person thinks up a sentence or phrase and whispers it to the next person. That person repeats it to the person on their other side. This continues around the circle. When it finally reaches the last person, that person says the sentence out loud. Hilarity ensues. The ending sentence is usually quite changed from the beginning sentence, since errors tend to compound as they go around the circle.
Capture the Flag: This game is most fun when played with a large group. Split the group into two teams, each team having a flag or other marker at the team’s base. The object of the game is to run into the other team’s territory, capture their flag and make it safely back to your own territory. You can tag “enemy” players in your territory, sending them to your jail. They can be sprung from jail by a member of their own team running into your territory, tagging them and running back, with one freed person allowed per jail break. It is sometimes played that all the people in jail could hold hands and make a chain back toward their own territory, making it easier for members of their team to tag them. We also played a similar game called Steal the Sticks. It had almost the same rules, but several sticks were used instead of one flag.
Hide and Seek: Everyone has played this one. Most parents have played with their kids, since hiding and finding is a common interest of small children. I’ve heard of all kinds of variations on this game. Sometimes you count to twenty, sometimes ten, sometimes one hundred. Sometimes there is a home base that you can run to and tag, becoming “safe,” sometimes you just wait to be found. The general idea is that one person is “it,” that person closes his or her eyes and counts to a certain number without looking and then he or she tries to find the others.
Do you have an activity to add to the list?