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July 20, 2007 6:21 PM   Subscribe

Best (indoor) grade school games of all time?

I'm temping for an arts nonprofit, working at a kids daycamp. We have a week left and I need some cool games for us to play in the first 30 minutes, which we use as a warm-up to ease into the day. The kids are 8 - 14 and Duck-Duck-Goose is not going to cut it.

So far we've done some getting-to-know-you and improv-style games, hangman, and some more arty activities, but the games work best to get the more hyperactive kids involved. Physical games are not good, they need to be engaging games with minimal movement, as the goal is to get them to chill out and stop running around and throwing stuff, not amp them up more.

What were the best, most engaging games you played inside in grade school? Think back to playing 7-up during recess on rainy days...
posted by SassHat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I loved heads-up, 7-up.
wikipedia says..
posted by idiotfactory at 6:28 PM on July 20, 2007

I remember back in 5th-8th grade we self-organized double elimination tournaments of all sorts of games (paper football, that basketball game with the levers, etc.) and did that. Lots of good fun and everyone (boys and girls) appeared to have a good time rooting and participating.
posted by mmascolino at 6:29 PM on July 20, 2007

Two words: 4-square (well a number and a word plus a hyphen)
posted by Gungho at 7:34 PM on July 20, 2007

A few related threads:
craft-like activities for kids
conversation and word games
kids' activities for a neighborhood block party
short but entertaining games (boardgames and card games)
games from various cultures
outdoor kids' games
kids' games without words

Also, songs and chants are great for campers. "Flea", "a Austrian went yodelling", "Found a peanut"and so on. They have hand movements or clapping that go with them, and they're good for getting everyone together, energetic but focusing. Younger kids love call and response songs, and older kids can be the callers ("Flea" is a nonsense call-and-response song)
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:40 PM on July 20, 2007

Decks of cards and the freedom to play with who we wished.
posted by mdonley at 7:41 PM on July 20, 2007

Also I worked at a computer day camp once where the cool head counselors would randomly burst into rooms and shout "Dexterity check!" and then break into a semi-complicated pattern of clapping. The kids would drop whatever they were doing to try to clap along; there was just a single pattern and you learned it as the weeks went on, and it was very much a cool-kid thing to be able to clap along.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:43 PM on July 20, 2007

You could play categories, having the kids sit in a circle and pass a ball around/across to someone who hasn't said one yet. Whoever gets the ball but can't think of an item in the category has to name the next category.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:48 PM on July 20, 2007

I remember 7UP fondly too, but I think that your kids might be a little old for it.

Maybe Werewolf?
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:59 PM on July 20, 2007

Also, lateral thinking puzzles are great for certain groups.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:07 PM on July 20, 2007

I remember 7UP fondly too, but I think that your kids might be a little old for it.

The last time I played 7UP was a year ago senior year on a "do nothing" day. Still a fun game.
posted by daninnj at 8:26 PM on July 20, 2007

no one is ever too old for "heads up 7UP."
posted by Sassyfras at 9:07 PM on July 20, 2007

Paper Football tournament?

Some sort of improvised blackjack (give everyone a card. Ask each person if they want another one, &c&c. - whoevers are at 21 or closest get a point)? At the end of the week whoever has the most "points" get a treat.

I did a day-long course for highschool kids; we got them to settle down by getting them to make team names (points for best team name) for themselves - then awarded "points" during lulls for answers to questions that we had told them the answers to previously and ended with a Jeopardy-type at the end. with points going to teams.

In-betweens, we'd assign points to teams for random (well, semi-competetive) stuff (it was a science lab so whoever got the best results &c.).

Maybe the team-thing will help instill some sort of self-policing to reduce random hyperactivity?
posted by porpoise at 9:13 PM on July 20, 2007

Huckle buckle beanstalk. Choose a smallish object of some sort, then have the kids put their heads down and hide their eyes. "Hide" the object somewhere in the room, leaving at least a part of it in plain sight. Walk around the room a bit after hiding the object so they can't tell from your footsteps where you left it. They can either walk around the room looking for it, or sit at their desks and browse around. If they're at their desks, the first one to spy it raises his hand and yells "Huckle buckle beanstalk!" He then gets to hide the object.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:59 PM on July 20, 2007

This won't work for the whole 30 min, and from what I remember, it's best w/ a lot of kids.

One rainy afternoon at camp a counselor told us he could make the room sound like a swamp.

He had each of us say the name of a vegetable over and over while holding our noses.

Combined w/ the rain on the roof, it was one of the coolest things my ten year old ears had ever heard.
posted by JulianDay at 10:38 PM on July 20, 2007

The Quiet Game

Find the Bacon (Similar to Huckle Buckle in the above answer, but the kids clap their hands faster and slower to guide the person looking for the hidden object)

Around the World (Math facts game)

posted by rcavett at 10:43 PM on July 20, 2007

Oh, and Charades of course!
posted by rcavett at 10:43 PM on July 20, 2007

7up. We also used to play connect four and battleship. They were both pretty bad ass.
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 12:01 AM on July 21, 2007

Buzz aka Buzz Buzz.

Also like Spoons.
posted by plinth at 6:59 AM on July 21, 2007

We really loved silent speedball.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:30 PM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I loved Heads Up, Seven Up. : )
The Green Glass Door was always fun.
Don't discount singing camp songs! I went to Girl Scout day camp way back in the day. You bet I still can sing a lot of the songs!
posted by SisterHavana at 9:38 PM on July 21, 2007

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