One of the first things you need to do when your campers arrive is actually learn their names! I can guarantee that on the first day of camp, when all those kids start to pull in to camp and unpack their trunks into your tent/cabin, you’re going to be thinking ‘how on earth am I going to remember all their names?!’. But you’ll soon memorise them all and you might find the ability to remember lots of names very quickly becomes a skill that stays with you for life.
If you do find yourself struggling though, there are some handy ‘name games’ that pretty much all camps play to help you out. These are also really good for introducing your campers to each other as well, especially on the first day of camp when you might have some kids that have never been to camp before and don’t know anyone.
1. Dance Moves
Get everyone to stand in a circle. You start the game by stepping into the circle and saying “Hi, my name’s (your name), and I do the (dance move of your choice).” You then do this dance move and step back into the circle. Everyone else has to respond “Hi (your name)” while copying the dance move you just did. Everyone around the circle does this until it gets back round to you.
There are two ways you can play this – you can do it exactly like I described above, where each person just introduces themselves and their dance move, or, you can play it so each person has to repeat the names and dance moves of all the people who went before them – it can be challenging (especially for the people at the end), but I actually think it’s more fun this way, and helps you to remember people’s names better.
2. Tennis Balls
Everyone stands in a circle. You start with one tennis ball. Throw it across the circle to someone and say their name (if you don’t know it, ask before you throw, so they know the ball is coming!). If they catch it, they say “thanks (your name)”. They then throw the ball to the next person and say their name. This repeats until the ball has made it into everyone’s hands and back to you. If anyone drops the ball at any point, you must start again from the beginning.
You can make this game more exciting by adding a second (or even third) tennis ball – simply throw the next ball to the same person you threw it to before and now try and get both balls around the circle, following the same route as before.
3. The Picnic
You may know this one (or at least, a variation of it). Get everyone in a circle – if you hadn’t guessed yet, most name games happen in circles. You basically are all pretending you’re going on a picnic and each person has to bring an item.
Start off the game by saying “I’m (your name) and I’m going to bring some apples to our picnic”. Then the next person has to say their name, your item and a new item they’re going to bring. And so on, until everyone has had a turn and you have a whole heap of fun things on your (imaginary) picnic.
You can make this as easy or hard as you like – I often like to start by doing it alphabetically, which I think makes it easier to remember everyone’s items – so the first person starts with an item beginning with ‘A’, then next person says an item starting with ‘B’ etc.
4. Shopping Trolley
This game’s quite similar to the one above, but instead of going on a picnic, you’re at the supermarket putting items in your shopping trolley. So, “I’m (your name) and I’m going to put some cereal into the shopping trolley”.
As long as you are each saying your name and a new item each time, you can really play this game any way you like.
So there you have it, a few handy games to play with your kids to help you (and them) learn everyone’s names!
Do you know any other good names or ways to help you remember names? I’d love to hear some new ideas!