The Benefits of Group Games for Kids
The benefits of group games and activities for kids are numerous, as well as being easily executable and straight forward to organize. First we’re going to examine the two core benefits and explain exactly why group games should be practiced from an early age for maximum effectiveness. Your kids won’t be able to navigate through many of life’s challenges without learning how to effectively work and cooperate with other people.
First and foremost, working with others is what group games can teach kids from a young age. This is an invaluable skill and will provide a solid platform of success in social interaction to slowly build upon into adulthood. Learning how to effectively problem solve and work towards a common goal with other people is a key factor in social development, and something that is greatly encouraged in group games.
Through consistent participation in group games and activities kids will learn the valuable nuances of social interaction and key social skills, including when to assert themselves and when it is appropriate to take a step back. Furthermore, the second core benefit that group games can provide kids is a step-up in physical health.
Some activities can provide a physical challenge to kids that will allow them to grow and eventually get use to consistent levels of activity. Kids naturally have a ton of energy that needs to be expended, which works perfectly with a lot of group game setups. In fact, if utilized correctly, group activities can act as the catalyst that sparks a healthy and consistent relationship with physical activity and exercise that will continue long into adulthood.
The specific type of benefits kids may experience from this will include maintaining a healthy weight, keeping fit in general and improving concentration levels. The latter is especially important in performing well academically by keeping good school grades. So now you have the low down on just how important and beneficial group games can be for kids, we’re going to give you some awesome examples of some that you can replicate at home or elsewhere.
7 Fun & Simple Group Games for Kids:
Blind Man’s Bluff
A simple but iconic group game that dates all the way back to the tudor times, you and your kids will have a blast playing this classic! Simply designate one kid to be “it”, or even better ask for a volunteer. Once you have your “it”, you must blindfold them so they cannot see. No peeking! Now spin them around a few times to throw them off a little bit. The aim of the game is that they most walk around without being able to see and try and tag another kid to make them “it”!. As you can imagine, this spawns a lot of giggling kids and a ton of excitement. Once they’ve tagged someone, it’s the tagged person’s turn to be blindfolded and have a shot themselves. You can make it competitive by timing each run to see who does it the fastest. Just remember to keep all excitable kids safe to prevent any accidents.
Cat and Mouse
A cute and fun group game that will make you think back to the classic Tom and Jerry! We recommend this game is played outdoors, although if you have a big enough room it can be played inside too. First of all you need to choose one kid to be the cat and another to be the mouse. Everyone else leftover must form a large circle linking hands together. The cat and the mouse will remain outside the circle. The kids in the circle will start saying the following rhyme while moving clockwise or counter-clockwise:
“What time is it?”
“Just struck nine.”
“Is the cat at home?”
“He’s about to dine.”
Once the rhyme is finished, the kids in the circle will stop moving and the cat must begin to chase the mouse. The catch is, the cat MUST follow the mouse’s path. The kids can weave in and out of the circle chasing each other in a way that’s sure to cause maximum excitement and a lot of laughs! Once the cat has caught the mouse, you can nominate another two kids to take a turn. Repeat until everyone is Tom and Jerry’d out!
Duck, Duck, Goose!
Keeping the animal theme, Duck, Duck, Goose! Is yet another classic that will wear kids out in no time. Get the kids to form a circle and sit down facing each other. Designate somebody to be “it”. It will be their job to walk around the circle quietly and calmly tapping each kid on the back and saying “Duck”. They can do this for as long as they see fit, but eventually instead of tapping someone and saying “Duck”, they must tap and say “Goose!”. This is where the high intensity fun begins! The “Goose” must then give chase around the circle and tag the other kid before they get back to their empty spot. This is an awesome fun group game for tons of reasons! In particular things can get really tense while they move around the circle waiting to say “Goose!”. Encourage them to take long pauses for dramatic effect to really ramp the fun up!
A brilliant twist on an old classic, Freeze Tag functions a lot like normal tag, except when someone is tagged they have to freeze on the spot with their legs comfortably as wide apart as possible. They must remain frozen until another person playing the game crawls through their legs to unfreeze them. The last player to be frozen becomes “it” for the next round. This group game in particular teaches teamwork and cooperative play. Encourage all the kids to try and unfreeze as many of their fellow players as possible. You can easily incentivize this by giving points to whoever performs an unfreeze. At the end you can tally who has the most and crown them the best teammate!
My Favorite Things
We recommend this especially for shyer kids as a unique confidence booster. You will need a piece of paper divided into four sections, one that says Toy, Animal, Person and Game. Encourage the kids to draw their favorite selection of each in the appropriately labelled part of the paper. Once they have finished, collect everyone’s paper and put them in the middle. Take it turns for each of them to pick up someone else’s paper in the middle. They must guess who’s paper it is! This is a great way to encourage kids to get to know each other better, share common interests and just generally communicate more. Over time this type of activity will build up confidence and important social skills like group talking.
What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?
Another tense and hilarious classic, this is the type of group game that will have you and a bunch of excitable kids laughing for hours! One player must be designated Mr. Wolf, a boy or a girl is fine! Once chosen they must turn their back to the rest of the kids and stand a fair distance away. You can experiment with what the best amount of distance is depending on where you are and how many people are playing. To start the game, the kids must all shout “What’s the time Mr. Wolf?”. Mr. Wolf must then respond with a time of his choosing. If he says it’s 3 o’clock, the kids must take three steps forward. If he says it’s 4 o’clock, they must take four steps forward. So on and so forth. The aim of the game is for the kids to try and reach where Mr. Wolf is standing and tag them to win the game! However, Mr. Wolf will be working against them! Instead of sometimes saying a time, he might say “It’s dinner time!”. This is the key phrase which means the player has to turn around and try and catch one of the kids who had been moving towards them. You will notice the kids develop different tactics compared to others. Some will take small steps to ensure they can run back to safety when it’s dinner time. Others will take larger steps in an attempt to try and tag Mr. Wolf quicker. You can really have a lot of fun chopping and changing techniques with the kids. We recommend you play the first round as Mr. Wolf so all the kids are given a good understanding.
Look Up, Look Down
A simple but hilarious game, Look Up, Look Down is ideal for groups of friends or even as a way to get kids to socialise and get to know each other better. Get the players to form a big circle and stand around one or two feet apart. Make sure to get all the kids to look down. Once some time has passed, you or another adult must shout “look up!”. The kids must immediately look up and at another person in the circle. If two kids find themselves looking at each other, they have to scream and immediately leave the game. As you can imagine, this game gets noisy very fast! The remaining players must keep staring at their chosen person until they are told to look down. The game then repeats until there is nobody left. You will notice lots of kids will look at their friends first and foremost. Failing that, if they have no prior friendships with the kids who are participating, they are likely to look at someone they want to be friends with. This makes it an excellent game to develop social skills and long lasting friendships.
As you can see by these different examples of group games for kids, they aim to stimulate and promote well being in many different ways. You can adapt the rules of the game to your own personal preferences, especially if you are dealing with kids who have unique difficulties or just need a bit of extra help. The key as an adult or moderator in holding group games for kids is to make sure everyone is involved and given a fair go. If you notice shyer players, try and gently build them up to having a more prominent role in the game, or use an activity that you might think they will personally excel at. It’s up to you to direct and guide the games and ensure your kids see the success they deserve!