Next up in this series of epic games to play with your campers is a collection of ‘field games’… think the sort of thing you used to play in the playground – easy to explain, crazy fun to play.
1. Captain on Deck/Ships and Sailors
This game has different names depending on what country you’re from, but the rules are the same. There are some simple instructions you need to give and then the kids just have to remember what to do – if they do the wrong thing, they’re out… keep going until you have just 1 person left!
When you shout ‘ships‘ or ‘port‘, all the kids have to run to your left. Shout ‘sailors‘ or ‘starboard‘ and they have to run to your right.
‘Sea‘ – run away from you, ‘Land‘ run towards you.
‘Climb the rigging‘ – they have to pretend to climb up the ‘rigging’.
‘Scrub the deck‘ – get down on hands and knees and pretend to wash the floor.
‘Beached whale‘ – lie on their tummy, hold onto their ankles and blow a raspberry.
‘Captain’s girlfriend‘ – stand up and swing their arm around at their side, saying ‘woo woo’.
‘Captain’s coming’ – stand to attention. (With this one they then have to wait for you to say ‘At ease‘ before they can respond to the next instruction. If they follow instructions for a different action before you say ‘At ease‘, they’re out.
‘Shark attack‘ – you (and a couple of fellow counselors) chase them around – any you catch are out (this is a good way to move the game along a bit if they’re all just too good at it!).
2. Eskimo Baseball
You will need:
A tennis ball and a large sock. Put the ball inside the sock – this is your ‘Schnook’ (don’t ask me why its called that?!).
This it potentially one of the weirdest games I know, but it’s super fun if you have a large group. Split the group in two – these are your two teams.
Throw the Schnook as far as you can. Both teams have to race to get to it – let’s call the first team to pick it up Team A.
Once Team A have the Schnook, they must stand in a line and pass it from the front to the back, alternating passing it under their legs and over their heads. When it gets to the person at the back of the line, this person must throw the Schnook as far as they can, away from Team B.
While Team A are passing the Shnook along their line, Team B must huddle as close together as possible while one person runs around the outside of the huddle. The team need to count out loud how many times the person goes around them. As soon as Team A release the Schnook, Team B need to run after it and get into a line to pass it along (as above), while Team A get into the huddle and the thrower of the Schnook runs around the huddle while their team count.
Keep doing this until one team reaches a predetermined number of times they have run around their group huddle – you can set this as it really depends on the size of the group (use a larger number for a smaller group) but as a guideline, for a group of 15 people the target could be 20.
3. Rob The Nest
You will need:
5 hoops and an assortment of different sized balls (e.g. tennis balls, basketballs). Put one hoop at each corner of your playing area, and one in the middle. Put all the balls inside the middle hoop.
Split the group into 4 teams and have the teams stand behind each of the 4 corner hoops. This is their ‘nest’.
Explain that the balls in the middle are all worth different amounts of points – you can assign this yourself, but as a guide I always make the smallest balls worth the most – so for example, tennis balls are worth 10 points, while basketballs are worth 5.
The aim of the game is to end up with the most points in your team’s nest.
In order to do this, each team must send one person at a time to the middle nest to grab a ball and bring it back to their nest. Keep going until all the balls in the middle are gone. This is where the fun really begins.
Once all the balls have gone from the middle nest, teams can steal balls from the other team’s nests, again just sending one person at a time. Very important note – teams are not allowed to protect their nests or block people from stealing their balls.
Let this continue for a few minutes and then shout ‘stop’, giving a countdown if you want, so the teams know the game is almost over. Get the teams to count up the points of the balls in their nest. The team with the most points wins.
4. Chicken in a Hen House
Ask everyone to pick a partner and label themselves ‘A’ or ‘B’. Tell them all to gather around so they can see you.
This is where you’ll need a friend to help you out with the explanation of the game. Demonstrate each of the actions they are going to need to do with their partners.
‘Chicken in a Hen House’ – one person goes onto all fours on the ground, while the other person sits on their back and pretends to be a chicken. Chicken noises are a must, maybe lay an egg or two.
‘Row Boat‘ – The pair sit on the floor, one in front of the other and sing ‘row, row, row your boat…‘ as loud as they possibly can, whilst pretending to row back and forth.
‘Lover’s Leap‘ – One person has to leap into the other’s arms.
‘Bunk Beds‘ – One person lies on their back on the ground. They must lift up the other person above them, top to tail (so they hold their partner’s ankles and their partner holds their ankles, like bunk beds!)
Explain that you are the judge of how well they perform each action and that that you might also make a few other fun instructions up – creativity is key!
Once everyone is clear on the actions and instructions, get all the A’s to hold hands and make a circle, then get all the B’s to hold hands and make a circle around the outside of the A’s. Get the A’s to move around to the right, singing ‘moving in a circle to the right, do do dooo‘. Then get all the B’s to move around the the left, singing (yep, you guessed it) ‘moving in a circle to the left, do do dooo‘.
When you shout out one of the instructions, the A and B partners must find each other and perform the actions. The last pair to get into the position is out. As the game progresses any pair doing non-enthusiastic actions can also be out. Keep going until you have a winning pair.
Once you get bored of using the same 4 actions, or people are just too good at them, you can add in some random ones that they will just have to interpret, which can be absolutely hilarious. Some of my favourites are ‘Cat in a Washing Machine‘ or ‘Dinosaur chased by a Butterfly‘, but anything with two elements works.
5. Swim Fishy Swim
A great game that I’m sure you all played way back in Primary School, but it always goes down a treat at camp.
Get everyone to line up on one side of the field. If you have a soccer pitch, use the lines as markers. Their aim is to get from one sign of the field to the other without being tagged – they are the ‘fish’.
Designate a few people to be the ‘sharks’ in the middle – they can only patrol the middle and their aim is to catch the fish.
Stand in the middle of the field and give instructions such as, ‘If you are wearing blue, swim fishy swim’. Anyone wearing ANY blue item must attempt to run across to the other side without being caught. If the sharks catch them, they become ‘seaweed’ and must kneel down where they are and wiggle their arms about like, well, seaweed. The seaweed can help the shark tag more fish, but only if the fish come close enough for them to touch – seaweed can’t run around.
Keep giving out instructions and making people run across the field until there is a winner.
Other instructions can be things like, ‘if you have brown hair’, ‘if you are a boy’, ‘if you have been at camp for more than 1 year’, ‘if you own a dog’ and so on… the list is endless.
6. Human Javelin
This is a super simple game that can really be done anywhere with a lot of space and its a great way to fill some time or just burn off some of that excess energy we all know kids have.
Get the kids to line up at the edge of a field. One by one they have to take a big breath and start screaming/shouting and running at the same time. They can only take one breath. Once they run out of breath and can’t shout anymore, they stop running. The person who gets the furthest is the winner. You can do this a few times, or go in teams depending on how big your group is.
7. Human Tic Tac Toe
You will need:
9 hoops, 3 red bean bags, 3 yellow bean bags (or whatever colours you have)
Lay the hoops out in rows of three, so it makes a 3×3 square – this is your tic tac toe ‘board’.
Separate your group into 2 teams – smaller teams work best, so maybe set up a couple of ‘boards’ so everyone can play and no one gets bored waiting for their turn.
Create a marker for the team’s starting point (cones work well for this). Move this further away or closer to the ‘board’ depending on the age of your group or how far you want them to run, but about 15 feet is a good starting point. You can either have the teams standing next to each other or put them on opposite sides of the ‘board’. Get the teams to line up behind their markers and give each team their 3 bean bags.
On your count, the teams must send one person running up to the ‘board’ to place one bean bag inside an open hoop of their choosing. That person must run back and high-five or tag their next teammate in line, who can then run to place their bean bag. Once all three bean bags have been placed, team members can move the bean bags around on their turn, continuing until one team gets three in a row and is crowned the winner.
I like to mix this up a bit and give instructions on how each team member must get to the ‘board’, so instead of just running back and forth, I’ll ask them to jump, hop, shuffle, or even do a slow motion walk.
Do you know any more epic camp games? I’d love to hear about them – pop a description in the comments below!