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Practical Games for Groups of Children

Apr 17, 2008
The following group games for children are planned primarily for the use of teachers and game leaders. It has been my experience that many of the games described in various books do not meet with universal approval on the part of children because the end and aim are not what they desire.

I have, accordingly, taken the liberty of changing the plan of many familiar games to suit the psychological reaction of the child, and they therefore appear in this book in a slightly altered form from that presented elsewhere; this does not mean that they are, in any sense, original as a whole.

Game: Animal Chase. Playground; gymnasium. Grades 1 through 4. 10 to 40 players.

Plan of Game: One player is selected as the chaser. The others divide into groups of four or six, and each group chooses the name of some animal, telling only the teacher what name has been chosen. Thus there will be several tigers, bears, etc. The animals then gather at one end of the field or gymnasium about 50 feet from the chaser who stands in the middle. The teacher then tells the chaser the names of the different animals that have been chosen, but does not indicate to which groups the names belong.

The chaser accordingly calls out at random "Bears" or "Tigers", whereupon all children in the group so named start to run to a designated place at the opposite end of the field or gymnasium, while the chaser tries to catch them before they reach there. Any players so caught remain in the center and help to catch the others. The last one to be caught becomes the new chaser.

Remarks: This game has all the good points of "Pom-Pom Pullaway" with the added feature of interest in choosing the names of animals, thus making the groups more distinctive, and teaching, in a small sense, team loyalty. Any other names may be substituted for those of animals, as flowers, birds, trees, etc.; this gives variety, and helps enlarge children's vocabularies. From the point of view of the chaser, this is a good memory drill as it trains the mind to carry a number of different names at one time. The same precautions as are urged in "Pom-Pom Pullaway" apply here.

Game: Automobile Race. Playground; gymnasium; schoolroom. Grades 1 through 6. 10 to 50 players.

Plan of Game: If played on a playground or in a gymnasium the players are lined up in parallel columns facing the same way, the number of columns formed depending upon the number of players. Every line or team takes the name of some make of automobile. When the signal is given, the first one in each team runs to a designatedspot and back, touching the hand of the next one in line who then runs as the first one did, while the first one goes to the end of the line. In this manner each player runs in succession until the whole team has run. The automobile (team) getting through first wins.

When the game is played in the schoolroom, each row serves as an automobile and as soon as a player has run, he takes his own seat after touching the hand of the next runner. When several rows are playing each row may have a different spot to touch so that one row of players will not have to run farther than another.

Remarks: Emphasize the fact that each player must wait on the line or in his seat until his hand is tagged. If he starts too soon, make it a rule that the whole team becomes disqualified. Thus he will learn how important his actions are to the success or failure of his team.
To add interest to the game, significance may be attached to the merits of different makes of automobiles.

Game: Cat and Rat Playground; gymnasium. Grades 1 through 6. 10 to 80 players.

Plan of Game: Players form into a circle and join hands. Two are chosen to act as cat and rat. The players in the circle try to keep the rat from being caught by the cat, by keeping their hands firmly interlocked and holding them low in order to keep the cat out, when the rat is inside of the circle, or by raising their hands to let the rat out if the cat gets in, and vice versa. When the cat catches the rat, the rat chooses another player who becomes the new cat, while the former cat becomes the rat.

Remarks: Encourage those in the circle to make the game more exciting by letting the cat into the circle sometimes when the rat is there, and thus make it harder for the rat to escape. This will be a great help in keeping the attention of all players in the circle, and will keep one cat and rat from monopolizing the play too long.
About the Author
Malcolm Blake has researched many types of games covering all age groups, ranging from old to modern games such as PSP games.
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