A few months ago I wrote about Circle Time, a great way to keep a group of kids entertained and/or focused. I gave you three Circle Time games to try the next time you find yourself with a group of kids and now I have three more to share!
This game is great for creating calm, focus and teamwork in a group of children and can be played with as little as three or as many kids as you’d like. It’s best for slightly older children who are conformable with their numbers.
To play simply have the group stand in in tight circle with their shoulders touching. Everyone should bow their heads comfortably, close their eyes and together take in a deep breath and let it out. Then begin counting to ten. The trick is only one person can say each number. If two or more people speak at the same time the group must start again from one. Remind them it’s not a race, they can take as long as they’d like to count to ten as long as only one person speaks at a time. The game is about listening, connecting with the group and finding a mutual focus. If they do reach ten you can up the difficulty each time the game is played by increasing their goal. It can be done! I was once part of a group that made it to 117!
Zip Zap Zop
This is a classic theatre game for those who recognize it but I find it great in any group who needs some energy but still require focus so as not to devolve into chaos. The game is about following a pattern, finding and maintaining eye contact and being energized while staying focused.
To play have your group stand in a wider circle so there’s a bit of space between each person. The starting person points at anyone in the circle and says “zip”, the person they pointed to then repeats the action to anyone else but this time says “zap” and then that person repeats the action one more time but says “zop”. The pattern then repeats with the next person saying “zip” again and so on and so forth without leaving gaps between each pass of the action and word.
Some things to consider while playing this game:
- Think of the action and word as passing energy. Many iterations of this game use a more energized action instead of pointing, like sliding one hand over top of the other toward the person they’re passing to, or throwing a “ball of energy”. Keep it simple and direct but animated!
- Try to make eye contact with the person you’re passing to before you pass. Don’t let it slow you down though. Everyone should be nice and open to receiving a pass so it shouldn’t be hard to find someone to make eye contact with.
- Don’t speed up too fast. There’s a tendency to get fast quite quickly with this game but don’t let your group do so too early. They should get the hang of it first and then try for speed.
- You can raise the stakes by having elimination rounds for mistakes such as saying the wrong word or hesitating too long.
The Human Knot is a fantastic team building game common among many age groups. It does involve the holding of hands and being in close quarters though so you may want to avoid it during cold season or have a quick hand washing session before.
The game is playing by having everyone stand in a tight circle. Each person extends their hands out and takes the hand of a person who is not beside them and makes sure they’re not holding both hands of another person. Now the group must untangle themselves without letting go of their hands. Remind everyone to take it slow and be gentle. This is a great exercise in listening and being respectful of others while they work together on a solution.
Emily Jewer is a Halifax based photographer. Her company MJ Photographics specializes in portraiture, occasionally working with families and couples, but mainly focussing on headshots for performers of all kinds including many kid and teen actors in the region. Emily is also a theatre artist, working as an actor, stage manager and director on many Halifax productions. She works with kids at Neptune Theatre School and as a child supervisor for kids onstage in professional theatre productions.
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