Posted by: andeek | July 10, 2010

How to Play With Your Friends

On June 28th, I taught two workshops at the Bulverde/Spring Branch library. (I’ll be doing a performance there with the Travelin’ Hats Troupe on July 14th at 11am – it’s free – and I’ll be teaching another two workshops on July 15th.)

The plug was: No Batteries Required.

Here are some fun games you can play with a group of friends/family. And guess what? No batteries required!


  • Black Snake
    Pick an object that will be hidden. You can even pick (gasp!) a person! One person leaves the room – or goes where s/he can’t see. The rest of the group then hides the object. When it is safe and sound and can’t be found, they call out, “You can come in now, Person’s Name.” The person enters the room and starts to search for the object. The group sings out, “Black snake, black snake, where are you hiding?” alternating between soft and loud, depending on how close to the hidden object the person gets. Sing the loudest when they’re right on top of the object. Once it is found, a new person can be picked to leave the room. By the way, I didn’t ever really learn a tune for “Black Snake.” You can set it to anything. Also, this game can be played with just a few people. Good for when those kids are bored.
  • Duck Duck Animal
    This tried-and-true game with a twist never fails. Play it with 4-6 year olds. It’s just like Duck, Duck, Goose! Only instead of “Goose,” you call out the name of a different animal each time. Then the person has to run (or crawl or creep or hop) as whichever animal they’ve been “assigned” around the circle. We always change the chant to reflect each new animal. So the first person would say, “Duck, Duck, Jaguar!” The next person would say, “Jaguar, Jaguar, Lizard!”
  • Have You Seen My Sheep?
    Stand in a circle with one person in middle, who is It. “It” goes to a Player in the circle and asks, “Have you seen my sheep?” The Player replies, “How is it dressed?” “It” describes someone in circle – what they’re wearing, their hair, their eyes, etc. As soon as the person being described recognizes their description, they make a run for it – no, not for “It,” they just run around the circle in an attempt to get back to their spot before they’re caught. If “It” catches the runner before she gets back to her spot, the runner becomes the next questioner. If the runner is safe, It is still It. This is a little old for 4 year olds. You can try it with 5 year olds, but it’s best with 6-11 year olds.
  • Rhyme Charades
    Like it sounds – this is charades, rhyme style. The “Thinker” calls out, “I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with…” The rest of the group is not allowed to say a word. One at a time, people jump up and mime what they think is the right word. Everyone guesses the answer. The person with the correct guess can be the new Thinker. Although I’ve found that before the kids are familiar with the game, if they’re too young (under 6), it’s best if the grown-up or an older kid is the Thinker.
  • What Time Is It, Ms. Wolf?
    There’s always something exciting about chase – in whatever shape or form. In this game, a home base is set. The Wolf marches around the yard (or room) with all the other players trailing behind, as closely as they dare. The players call out, “What time is it, Ms. Wolf?” And the Wolf yells out various times, in no particular order, from 1 o’clock to 12 o’clock. Unfortunately, when the Wolf calls out “12 o’clock!” that really means, “Lunchtime!” So all you tasty little morsels had better run as quickly as your little feet will carry you to home base.
  • Poet’s Corner
    For this game, you need people to partner up. One is the Poet and one is the Translator. The two stand up together and the Translator announces, “Today we have a poet from the country of [imaginary country name] and s/he will be presenting one of her famous poems. Unfortunately, s/he only speaks [name of language]. Thankfully, I speak [language] and I will interpret for us.” Then the Translator announces the title of the poem and the Poet’s name. They carry forth with the Poet saying the poem one line at a time and the Translator translating. The poet talks in gibberish. It’s really fun when the poet adds emotion, gesticulations, and style to the gibberish poem.
  • Dragon’s Jewels
    The Dragon stands guard over her jewels. Everyone else forms a circle around her and tries to steal her treasure (an old sock, a hanky, a shoe, etc.) without being tagged. The Dragon can range as far as she wants, but if you get touched by the dragon, you’re frozen in place until the end of the game. If the Dragon manages to freeze everyone, she can choose to leave them frozen for the next 500 years. Don’t try this with more than 10 people. It’s too unwieldy.
  • Dropping Things
    Everyone is supplied with pencil and paper. A person and assistant step behind a curtain (or where they’re hidden). The person has a number of articles such as a knife, bunch of keys, pin, piece of paper, book, tin plate, etc.  S/he drops each item one at a time. The assistant writes down the order of the items being dropped. Before dropping an item, the person informs those outside that s/he is about to drop something, and tells them to be quiet. The others try to guess what is being dropped. They write it down on their paper. The person having the greatest number right wins.
  • Question Bombardment
    Players form a circle with one player in the center. They then bombard the player in the center with questions, as quickly as possible. The player in the center must try to turn and face each questioner and answer each question. The player in the center will shortly become very confused and flustered, and will start to give some very interesting answers. This can be fun, but you have to be careful. Grown-up supervision will help it stay on track. Make sure the Players feel comfortable around each other. You don’t want the Players to taunt each other and you want to keep the questions clean.

You can take any of these games and play them at a Dinner Party for adults. It’s fun to play with your adult friends, too. Got any more? Please add them to the comments!



  1. Great ideas! Thanks!

  2. Andee, you are amazing. What a treasure trove of unique ideas… Love these!

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