Examples of Simple Games

The following games can be played one-on-one with your child, or together with several children.

Game: Slippery Coin
(Indoor game)

Age of Players: 7 and up
Number of players: 2 or more
Goal or purpose: To slide a coin across a smooth table or surface, with the object being to get the coin as close to the edge as possible without falling over the side. Good to combine with guided discussion on not giving up when attempting a goal, and how we often need to improve and get better in whatever we attempt before we can succeed.
Materials: Smooth table or countertop, or other flat surface; Coins. If you have no coins a smooth lid may also be used.
Setting: Anywhere with a tabletop
Directions: Players are at opposite ends of a table, and slide coins to each other, trying to get as close to the edge as possible without falling over. It’s fun to keep score, taking turns of three slides of the coin each. Getting a coin to hang half over the edge on the first slide counts as 3 points, on the second slide 2 points, and on the third slide 1 point.

Game: Hidden Elf
(Quiet indoor or outdoor game)

Age of Players: 9 and up
Number of Players: At least 2, but large groups work well also.
Goal or Purpose: This game is useful when players need to settle down in a small space, but need something interesting to do. In this imaginary hide and seek game, players try to guess where the Elf is “hiding” by asking questions. Good to combine with guided discussion about not giving up when searching for answers and seeking solutions.
Materials: None
Setting: Anywhere
Directions: One player is the Elf, and thinks about a place in a designated area, like a room or yard, where he’d like to hide. He can imagine himself to be any size at all, either shrunken or enlarged, and can hide any place he can imagine within the boundaries set. When the Elf is ready, the other players must ask questions to find out where he is hiding, however the Elf can only answer yes or no to these questions. The players can ask general questions, such as “Are you higher than my head?” or “Are you to my right?” or “Are you on something that is electric?” or “Are you on something smaller than my hand?” etc. However, once a player makes a direct guess, naming a specific place where he imagines the Elf to be, such as “Are you under the cup on the table?”, if the answer is no, then the Elf gets one point. Three points and the Elf wins the game, so guess wisely. If you want to make it harder, you can limit the number of questions for the Elf, such as 20 or 30. Happy hunting!

Game: Telescope
(Quiet indoor or outdoor game)

Age of Players: 6 and up
Number of Players: At least 2, but as many as you’d like
Goal and Purpose: One player describes an object while other players try to guess what he sees. Good for guided discussion on perseverance, and how it often takes us time to solve problems and answer questions in life.
Materials needed: None
Setting: Anywhere
Directions: One chosen player looks around through his imaginary telescope and thinks about an object he sees. He then describes it, stating something like, “I see something blue that’s not very big…” describing it in a general way. He can talk about its general shape and size, what it does, who might use it, etc. (“I see something that people use in school”) Try to go into as much detail as you can, but as vaguely as you can, to keep the players guessing. If the fellow players give up and have to be told the answer, then the player holding the “telescope” describing continues to play, choosing a new object to describe. If someone guesses the object, then they get to look through the telescope next.

Game: Sock Fun
(Indoor or outdoor game)

Age of Players: 6 and up
Number of Players: 2 or more
Goal or Purpose: Keep a “sock ball” bouncing in the air without touching the ground, only using your feet. A good game to combine with guided discussion on teamwork, perseverance and learning to improve our skills over time to accomplish a goal.
Materials: 3 socks and a rubber band. Alternatively, rags, balloons, light weight beach balls, badminton birdies, or any other object that can be kept in the air using the feet, can be used.
Setting: Open space
Directions: Roll up two socks and fasten them shut inside a third sock using a rubber band. After the sock-ball is thrown in the air, its hands off! Using feet, propel the ball from person to person and keep it in the air as long as possible.

Game: The Limbo
(Indoor or outdoor game)

Age of players: 6 and up
Number of players: Any number
Goal and Purpose: To pass under an ever-lowering string while bending backwards. This game can be used with guided discussion on a variety of topics (overcoming fear, perseverance, etc.) If fear is the topic, use the game as an upbeat opportunity to discuss how viewing new and increasing challenges in the right way can help us overcome our fears, and find out just how much we are capable of doing.
Materials: String or stick (music optional)
Setting: Open area
Directions: Two players hold a piece of string or rope about chest height, or tape it on either side of a doorway. The players must pass under the string, leaning backwards to get underneath. They cannot touch the floor or the string with their hands, and anyone who does is eliminated. After everyone has passed under the string once, lower it 10 centimeters and repeat the process. Eliminate all the players until a winner is left. Lively music makes the game more interesting.


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