By Pankaj Singh
Group games can help children develop a range of important skills. Teamwork and cooperation are key to success in later life, but children also learn skills such as strategy and tactics, as well as communication. Competitive play also helps children learn how to win and lose in a friendly way. Here are some games that work well with small and larger groups, but don’t be afraid to think back to the games you played as a child – kerbie, hide and seek and kick the ball all still have lots of play value today, just as they did when we were younger.
Blind Man’s Bluff
A simple but iconic group game that dates all the way back to the Tudor times, your kids and you will have a blast playing this classic. Simply designate one kid to be “it”, or even better ask for a volunteer. Next, 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 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.
Capture the Flag
Split the children into two teams and allocate each team with one half of the area. Each team chooses a base position, where they keep their “flag”, and a goal position, where they will keep their prisoners, and makes it known to the other team. Each team now tries to capture the other team’s flag. Whenever a team member ventures onto the other team’s territory, he is at risk of being caught (tagged) by the enemy team. When caught he is taken to that team’s goal, where he must remain until he is freed (touched) by one of his team members. When someone manages to capture the other team’s flag and return it to their own territory, their team wins.
Kick the Can
This game is a variation of tag and hide & seek. One person or a team of people are designated as “it” and a can is placed in the middle of the playing area. The other people run off and hide while the “it” covers his or her eyes and counts to a certain number. “It” then tries to find everyone. If a person is tagged by “it”, they go into a holding pen for captured players. If one of the un-captured players manages to kick the can, the captured players are released. The game is over once all the non-“it” players are in the holding pen. (Number of Players: Ideally at least three. Equipment: A metal can.)
You will need a bean bag, pencil, eraser or a similar object to place on the head. Play music as each child walks around balancing the object on their head. If the object falls off the child is frozen until another comes and places the object back on the head. Everyone stops and resets their object when the music stops. Game starts over when the music again starts.
(The writer is Managing Director, Jalsa ventures Pvt Ltd, Cambridge Montessori Pre-School.)