Games for UU kids and adults
Compiled and written by Dan Harper
Copyright (c) 2014-2018 Dan Harper
Games are listed below with games suitable for younger kids first, then increasing in age.
Blob Tag (ages 5 and up)
One person is the Blob, an outer space alien from a B-grade science fiction movie. The Blob has a special super power — when they tag a human, that human becomes a part of the Blob! (This game also goes under the name “Borg Tag,” based on a story line from Star Trek.)
Everyone else is a human. Set up boundaries, and the humans cannot go beyond them. (Since the Blob comes from outer space, part of it can go beyond the boundaries, as long as at least one part of it remains within the boundaries.)
When a human gets tagged by the Blob, they must join hands with the Blob. Now they are a part of the Blob, and if they tag a human, that human must become a part of the Blob.
The Blob may divide. The way the Blob divides is that one of the players in the Blob shouts, “Blob divide!” When the Blog divides into two Blobs, there must be at least 3 players who are part of each new Blob. When every human gets caught, the Blob might want to experience ultimate unity, and rejoin into one alien outerspace being.
Chaos tag (age 8-adult) (ages 5 and up)
This is a Bay area variation of the classic tag game “Everybody’s It.”
Anyone can tag anyone else. When you are tagged, you have to squat down, and are out of the game. When the person who tagged you gets tagged, then you are free again. If two people tag each other simultaneously, they do “Ro-sham-bo” (which is the Bay area name for “Rock, Paper, Scissors”) to determine who has to squat down.
(In the “Everybody’s It” version of this game, when you get tagged, you squat down for as long as you feel like, then get up again and start playing. If two people tag each other simultaneously then both have to squat down.)
Dragon tag (age 5-adult)
Players form a dragon by lining up, and holding on to one another’s waists. The person at the front is the dragon’s head, the person at the back is the dragon’s tail. When you say, “Go!” the dragon’s head tries to catch the dragon’s tail.
Younger children will need to be carefully instructed that they can’t let go of waists. All children should be reminded to “Play hard, play fair, nobody hurt!”
Variation: Double dragon tag
Divide the group into two teams. Each team forms a “dragon” by lining up and holding onto one another’s waists. Each dragon’s “head” must try to catch the other dragon’s “tail” without letting the body break apart. Before starting, each team should decide on the gait, voice and personality of their dragons.
Triangle tag (ages 5 and up)
Divide into groups of four. Three people in each group hold hands to form a triangle. One of those three people volunteers to be the target. The fourth player stands outside the triangle as the chaser.
Once you’ve got the triangle set up, the chaser tries to tag the target. And the players in the triangle move around, cooperating to protect the target from being tagged by the chaser. Some obvious rules:
— the target cannot be legally tagged on the hands or the arms, or from across the triangle
— the chaser cannot go under or through the triangle, and cannot try to break up the triangle
— the people in the triangle have to keep holding on to each other’s hands
If you have 7 people, try having 2 triangles, each with a target, and 1 chaser. And with 10 people, try 3 triangles, each with a target, and 1 chaser.
For a really active game with 11 people, try having 2 chasers and 3 triangles (or with 14 people, how about 2 chasers and 4 triangles). Now the chasers can cooperate as well!
Clam free (ages 7 and up)
This is one of those tag games that needs boundaries, so set some boundaries.
One person volunteers to be the nuclear reactor, and they get a brightly colored foam ball — this is the radioactive nuclear core, and it activates the nuclear reactor. But — oh, no! — something goes wrong, and the nuclear reactor starts chasing clams!
Everyone else is a clam. Clams are happy, and should smile a lot.
The nuclear reactor runs around and tries to tag the clams with the “radioactive” foam ball. When a clam gets contaminated by being tagged with the radioactive ball, they are frozen and can’t run any more.
If two other clams join hands around the frozen clam and shout “Clam free!” then the frozen clam gets defrosted.
If two or more defrosted clams join hands, they automatically become immune to the nuclear reactor. And if four defrosted clams can join hands around the nuclear reactor and shout, “Clam free!” then the nuclear reactor shuts down and the game is over. By the way, the clams are more likely to win if the boundaries are smaller.
Rochambeau or Ro-Sham-Bo (a.k.a. Rock Paper Scissors) (ages 7 and up)
You need three parallel lines, two goal lines and a center line, which you can mark with pieces of rope on the ground, or with cones, or whatever. The lines should be spaced evenly apart, with at least 20 feet from the center line to each goal line.
Divide the players into two teams. (You may want to have a Referee to get things organized, and do the chant — it’s up to you.)
For each round of the game, each team goes into a huddle by their own goal line. As a group, they decide whether they will throw Rock, Paper, or Scissors. They should also decide on a back-up.
Then each team lines up at the center line. Then, just the way you’d play Rochambeau one-on-one, each team chants “Ro! Sham! Bo!” (or “Rock! Paper! Scissors!” depending on how you play it in your area), pumping their fists in time with the chant. The third time, everyone on each team throws the sign that their team decided on. Then whichever team wins the throw starts chasing the other team.
Just to remind you — rock blunts scissors, scissors cut paper, and paper wraps rock.
Go Tag (ages 9 and up)
This game can be difficult to learn, but once you get into it, it can be pretty fascinating.
Players form a line, squatting down, and facing alternately left and right. Establish a running track around the line of players — use a rope, draw a line in the dirt, or just imagine a track about 3 feet wide and right next to the line of players.
To start, one player becomes the runner, and one player becomes the chaser. Both the runner and the chaser must stay on the track. The runner may go in either direction around the track. But once the chaser has started running in one direction, they must keep running in that direction (e.g., if the chaser starts running clockwise, they must keep running clockwise).
The key to this game is the “Go Tag” maneuver:
The chaser may at any time shout “Go!” and touch the back of any player who is squatting down FACING AWAY from them. The player who is squatting then become the chaser — they must stand up in the direction that they are facing, and start chasing the chaser. They become the new chaser, and the former chaser squats down in the same place. Once the new chaser starts running in one direction around the track, they must keep running in that same direction. When first learning this game, practice the “Go Tag” maneuver a few times, until everyone understands it.
The basic strategy for anyone who is a chaser is to try to get in a position where you’re on the opposite side of the line of players from the runner — and then tag a squatting player just as the runner passes by so the new chaser can tag the runner. The quickest way to catch a runner is to use the “Go Tag” maneuver frequently.
When a chaser tags the runner, here’s what you do: The runner squats down at one end of the line of players. The chaser becomes the new runner. And the person at the other end of the line from the former runner becomes the first new chaser.