Having a Laugh
Ice Breakers
Time Fillers
Active Games
little book of
Heads Down Thumbs Up
An old favourite guessing game.
 Players close their eyes, put their heads down and
one hand up with a thumb sticking up.
 Three players are chosen to pick a thumb each
which they push down like a switch and they then
stand up at the front.
 Calls ‘heads up’ and those whose thumbs were
pushed have one guess each at who did it.
 If they are correct, they swap places with the player named, otherwise the player gets another turn
squeezing a thumb.
Touch Blue
An easy ice-breaker. (for more ice breakers look on the
back of this page.)
 Everybody stands in a circle. The leader calls
“touch blue”.
© The Out of School Care Network (2014)
For more games ideas visit our website
Simon Says… I Spy… 20 Questions… Hotter-colder
Don’t Forget these!
Remember other players animals and rise to the top
of the kingdom. Play with a group size of 6-8.
 Stage 1: Each player has a unique animal and action
(chosen by the player). Go round the group announcing your animal and doing the action.
 To play, the first player does their action, followed
by another player’s action. THAT player has to
straight away do their action and a different action
to the immediate previous player.
 Stage 2: Rank all animals from highest to lowest.
(Lion at the top, a snail at the bottom?) If anyone
makes a mistake, they get demoted to the bottom
and everyone who was below them moves up.
Lion King
 Everybody must move to touch something blue.
Bird, Beast, or Fish
You have to think of words fast for this game.
 Everyone sits facing the leader who points to a player and says either "BIRD," "BEAST," or "FISH."
 The chosen player must come up with the name of
an animal that fits the category before the leader
counts to ten. No repeating!
 If the player does not respond in time, he/she is out.
The round continues for a set time or until only one
player remains. After a few rounds it can be hard to
think of new words.
On the Bank, In the River
 All players line up behind a marked line. They are “on
the bank.”
 If you call “in the river” they must jump to the other
side of the line. If you call “on the bank” they stay still.
If you call “on the river”, they stay still too.
 Mix things up and try to catch players out.
anything they wish, to anyone in the group.
 Every question they ask must be replied with
“grandma’s pyjamas.”
 Anyone who laughs is out. For variety, instead of
“pyjamas”, try “bananas” or “knickers”.
 Someone is given the job of asking questions about
Grandma’s Pyjamas
This has no winners but is still a lot of fun.
 Form a circle of people, about 3 feet apart from one
 Start the foxes and squirrel at different points in the
 Players can only pass a “fox” to the person beside
them, but the “squirrel” can be tossed anywhere in
the circle. Have players call out what is being passed
(“Here comes a fox.”)
 As the leader, you can call out a reversal once in a
Chinese Whispers
Alphabet Games
Fox & Squirrel
 Add different colours, categories. Get creative.
someone from the group hides.
 The person is called back & has to guess who is
 A player leaves the room & while they are out
Guess Who
Remembering names gets tricky under pressure.
 Everyone stands or sits in a circle with one "It" person in the middle.
 "It" walks up to a person and says either "me, Bippity Boppity Boo," "you, Bippity Boppity Boo," "left,
bippity boppity boo" or "right, bippity boppity boo."
 If “it” says "left, bippity boppity boo," then the person must immediately say the correct name of the
person on their left before "it" finishes saying
"bippity boppity boo".
 If the player says the correct name, "it" continues
going to other people in the circle. If they make a
mistake or don't say the name in time, they become
the new "it."
Bippity Boppity Boo
Think of words, while following these simple alphabet rules. Then make your own variations.
 Alphabet Journey
Players take an imaginary trip through the alphabet. For example, the first player declares “I’m going to Africa,” the rest respond “what will you do
there?” where upon the first player answerts using
the same letter: “I’m going to act absolutely angry.” Player two takes a turn using “B” words etc.
 Animal Alphabet
The leader starts with the name of an animal that
starts with the letter "A." From there, go around
the circle and have each person say the name of
animal each beginning with the next letter in the
alphabet. Repeat using fruit, names, sports etc.
 Alphabet Story Challenge
Can you make a story where the first letter of each
successive word is the next letter of the alphabet?
Can you get to z? For example “Alan began climbing down eventually…”
 Players sit in a circle/line so they can whisper to
their neighbour but not hear others.
 The first player is given a short phrase and whispers it quietly to his/her neighbour. The neighbour
then passes on the message on.
 The game continues until the end player announces the message that they have received – often
completely different to the original.
Mime Whispers
Chinese whispers Minus the Whispering!
 All players but one leave the room. Give that per-
son an every day task to mime e.g. make a sandwich,
ride a bike, doing home work.
 One at a time, players come back, watch the mime
and then mime to the next player to come back.
 Last player does the mime to everyone else & says
what the action is. Then others add other guesses
for the original action. To end, the 1st player does
the original mime & names it. (TIP: encourage players to make their mime clear & exaggerate it a bit.)
What are Ice Breakers?
Ice Breakers help the members of groups to mix
And mingle easily - ”breaking the ice”.
All sorts of games can be ice breakers, but the ones
we mention here tend to be easy to join, easy to play
and encourage players to interact in an easy-going
way. They are more about interaction than competing and avoid putting players “on the spot”; having to do something while being watched by a larger
Action Spelling
Spell simple words with a mix of words & action.
 Decide on simple actions that will replace certain
common letters of the alphabet. E.g. clap for “c”,
spin around for “o”, cross your arms for “t”.
 The leader calls words and players have to spell
them correctly, substituting these letters with the
right action. E.g. “Cat” - Players should respond
[Clap] “a, t”.
 After a few rounds ask players to suggest more
letters/actions, then add them into the game.
Mirror, Mirror
Players start in pairs and follow the instructions of a caller. To get you started, here’s a few
ideas for calls (then make up your own!)
 Mirror, Mirror – stand facing each other
with exactly the same pose.
 Sandwich – stand back to back and call out
your favourite sandwich filling.
 Tip toe – stand on one foot facing each other
and touching toes with the other foot.
 Bumpity bump – back to back and bump your
backsides together.
 Blast off – facing each other with arms
stretched up and touching at fingertips – then
countdown from 5,4,3,2,1…
 Mix Up – change partners and shake hands
with your new partner.
If there’s an odd number of players, the one left
out can make the next calls. Can be played with
the slowest pair being eliminated for a more competitive activity, but it’s equally fun to just throw it
open to suggestions from the players for new
moves and poses.
Try and spot an object as it’s being passed around.
 One player is in the centre of a seated circle. They
shut their eyes and count to 10 out loud.
 Meanwhile the other players pass a small object
(e.g. a marble) hand to hand around the circle.
 After the countdown the middle player looks
around and has three guesses who has the object.
 Rule: The object must keep moving! Players should
keep their hands on their knees or laps, near their
neighbours hands and fake passing to try and
throw off the centre player. If they guess right, the
centre player chooses the next guesser.
 Harder - each guess also has to specify which hand.
Spot the Squeeze
 Set up the same as Red-Handed above, except the
players in the circle hold hands.
 Players in the circle have to “pass a squeeze” in
one direction from player to player.
 Centre player is trying to spot the squeezer. Time
one-minute and count squeeze laps (undetected.)
other Ice Breakers
If you want more ice breakers check these games
out at our on-line game index, or look for our other
game booklets….
Monte Carlo / Blob Tiggy / Run For You Supper
Creep Up / Simon Says / Octopus
Stiff Candles / Traffic Light / Chinese Whispers
What Animal Am I?
 Players take turns asking questions, trying to guess
an animal that the leader is thinking of.
 Ask about colour, number of legs, where it lives,
what it eats etc.
 Whoever guesses correctly can lead the next
round, picking the next animal.
Like guessing games? Find these and other time fillers
on-line at www.oscn.org.nz - look for “time fillers”.
You Spy
Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS), played all against one.
 Leader faces rest of the group. Play RPS all at
once. Only those who win against the leader stay
in. (Ties lose!) Losers bobs down.
 Repeat until all remaining players win against the
leader, or the leader beats all of the last player/s.
Choose new leader and repeat.
Thinking of words helps you move faster.
 Players start lined up facing the leader.
 The leader says: “You spy with your little eye,
something beginning with …[choose a letter]”.
 Players raise their hands if they think of a word
for something they can see around them.
 The leader chooses a player to say their word and
then they can move one step forward. No repeats of words are allowed.
 When words run out, the leader can announce a
new letter. Play until someone can tag the leader.
 (Useful rule when only a few players still in: those opposing the leader can’t discuss their next play. )
Odds or Evens
Played in pairs, like RPS (Rock, Paper, Scissors).
 One player is odd, the other even.
 Like RPS players countdown and reveal a hand
gesture both at the same time. Players can either
show one finger, or two fingers.
 If the total fingers adds to 2 or 4, the even payer
wins a point. If the total is 3, the odd player wins
a point. Play best of three.
Ask questions to work out a secret activity.
 The leader thinks of an activity, e.g. biking.
 Players ask the leader yes/no questions like this:
“Can you coffeepot at the beach?” [For example].
Leader must answer truthfully. Continue until
players guess the activity.
Guess Who?
The Big Wind Blows
Players face off in a race to remember names.
 Split into 2 even teams. 2 chairs are in place facing each other about 2 metres apart. Teams gather behind their chair.
 2 people hold up a blanket to make a screen so
neither team can see the other.
 Each team silently chooses a player to sit.
 The blanket is dropped and the first player to say
the name of the person in the other chair wins.
 Either give the winning team 1 point or (for a
harder game) the winning team gains the player
who lost that turn.
 Variation: chairs are positioned facing away from
each other. When the blanket drops, teams give
clues to the seated players to help them guess
who is in the other chair.
 Have a practice round and then players should set
clear rules for clues: no letters, no mention of last
names etc.
A relaxed mixer game, where you are only “on the
spot” for a few moments.
 Form a circle with everyone seated in a chair or
on a cushion. Start player stands in the middle.
There is no free spots for the standing player.
 The standing player calls “The big wind blows
everyone wearing blue.” [For example.]
 All players wearing blue must get up and go to a
new seat while the caller rushes for a seat too.
 The player left standing makes the next new call
e.g. “the big wind blows everyone who has a
pet.” And so on. Look out for chairs tipping in the
Hooper Dooper
 Players make a circle and join hands.
 Separate 2 players and hang a hoop on their
arms, then re-join their hands. Pass the hoop all
round the circle while keep hands joined.
 For a larger group, use a second hoop.