Year after year it can be hard coming up with new ideas or spins on old tricks when putting together your camp schedule. So, we have gathered contributions from around New Zealand of tried and tested games for you camps with more than 150 youth. Organizers who have run their camps in summer, winter, rain, hail and shine have all shared their successful and memorable games.
1. Name Tag!
This a great game that eventually runs itself and also helps assist people meeting and mixing with eachother. Upon entering camp each person is given anothers name. Throughout the entirety of camp that person needs to find the owner of the name they've been given. The game is over once they match the name to a person.
- If the attendees are already acquainted with eachother, they could be given hobbies or interests instead. Camp members must match the hobby to a person rather than a name.
2. The Classic Roadie Rally!
Every great organizer knows that camp starts... before you even arrive. This may or may not be applicable for you depending on how your transport-to-camp-system runs. If your organization drives cars or vans of kids to camp. Then this is perfect. On leaving for camp have your organizers present a list of locations to make it too first, pictures to take or items to grab on their way to camp. Maybe every member of that vehicle will earn points for their tribe once they arrive on camp grounds. Both competitive and non-competitive youth will enjoy this one. For some it will be about winning or being the best and for others it may be about the experience. If you want to utilize social media or technology then have the teams snapchat, instagram story or send an organizer proof of completion of an activity, to recieve the next set of instructions. That way organizers can cut out the paper admin for the game. Here's a few ideas that you could write up or text out for your roadie rally list, otherwise Pinterest hold insurmountable resources for this too.
- High five a trucker.
- Get ice-creams from a rural dairy.
- A team photo in front of a national landmark.
- A photo with a farm animal.
- Gather evidence that you saw members of another team competing in the roadie rally.
- Photo of the funniest bumper sticker
3. Rob The Nest!
What you need.
- Nests: Buckets - One nest per team.
- Eggs: Balls of any size or sort - The more the merrier.
- Optional tags: Ribbons / material strip.
This works wonders if your camp has come up with a tribe style structure for team creation. Just because the competitive factor in this game makes it much more fun! It's also a lot more epic when you use the whole camp ground as your geographic border. It doesn't matter how many teams there are either and this can be done in rail, hail or shine. There are many variations of this game and any template can be altered to fit your taste. The aim of the game is to have more eggs in your nest than other teams. This is how we played.
- Have your teams and their nest located in different areas around camp (or field, whatever border you have opted for) Details on other nest whereabouts are top secret, this extends the length of the game and encourages the players to search around. Each nest starts with a certain amount of eggs. Maybe 10-20 depending on how big the teams are. Eggs can also be found throughout the playing feild. Different sized eggs are worth different points.
- This is a non-contact version of the game. Each member in the team will be given tags/ribbons the colour of their tribe. They should tuck these into the band of their shorts. To steal an egg from an opposing nest, you must have stolen a band that's a different team colour to your own. Only these players may rob nests. Players that cannot capture team tags are able to hunt for the hidden eggs around camp.
- Rules vary. You could place a no-goose-guarding rule around the nest or no physical contact rules as an example.
- Have a timer where a gong, whistle or foghorn lets the teams know the round is over. Count up who has winning number of eggs. That tribe is given points! To extend the game, you could play multiple rounds and change the location of the nests.
4. Capture The Flag!
What you need.
A flag: Preferably the colour of the tribe - One per team.
Optional hidden idols.
Optional tags: Ribbons / material strips.
No matter how many years you run this game it is always epic. Team bases are spread around the camp and are defined by a hoola hoop. Players can be differentiated by clothing colour, logo or a band around the wrist. At the beginning of each round the team flag will rest inside their base / hoola-hoop. To win Capture The Flag, one team must have their own flag + an opposing teams flag inside their base. Obviously to retrieve another flag, players must search the grounds and enter an enemy base. The game is reasonably simple. Organizers can develop rules to make the game more complex. Here are some examples.
Organizers could create multiple boundaries. For example. Boundary 1: Teams will have their hoola-hoop which represents the home for their flag as per normal. Boundary 2: Teams then have a a wider surrounding boundary. (Maybe this could be coned off or if you're playing on a field, each half could be a teams boundary wall.) When the opposing team roams past their boundary and enters yours. The player may tag them. The enemy becomes frozen and must sit down until one of their own members unfreezes them by tagging them back into play.
There must always be hands in contact with the flag. If it's dropped to the ground then it is delivered back to its home base before it can be used in play again.
'Special powers' may be hidden around the field. If players find these hidden idols it means they're given powers. A hidden idol could be a tag to tuck into the pants. (A similar style to rob the nest) Opposing players must pull the tag from the shorts to freeze a player instead of just tagging them.
5. Ultimate Frisbee!
What you need.
- A frisbee.
This game is a cross between touch rugby, American football (non-contact) and frisbee. Players use frisbee throwing techniques to pass the frisbee around their team. The frisbee must be passed at least 3 times between the team before they are able to score points and players cannot take more than three steps with it in hand. The frisbee can't be dropped and players holding it can't be tagged either. If these events occur then its hand-over. Once the frisbee has passed between three different members of the team they can throw it to a member standing over the touchdown zone. Players aren't allowed in the touchdown zone for more than 10 seconds at any one time. They must reset by leaving the zone and re-enter once they have done this. When the frisbee has been caught in the touchdown zone then that team scores a point and the round resets. Organizers could measure the game by time or by the first team to reach a certain score.
6. Water Slinger!
What you need.
- 100-500 water balloons.
- 3-10 buckets per team (Depending on the size of your camp and how many teams you have)
This game is a lot simpler if you split the whole camp into two teams. Teams are given different colours and are spread amongst eachother on the field. The teams are compiled of characters named slingers, catchers and meddlers. Slingers from each team are lined up along the outlines of the field and need to throw waterballoons to their catchers that are holding buckets. The aim is to have the most water in your team buckets at the end of a timer. The opposing team will have meddlers running around and intercepting airborne water balloons. If they successfully intercept a water balloon, they can then pop it into their own teams nearby bucket. Get all the team buckets together to measure who has the most water. As both teams are slinging, catching and meddling at the same time, this game can be fun and chaotic on a hot summers day at camp. All you really need are a few dedicated leaders filling up a few hundred water balloons that morning.
7. Storm The Heights!
What you need.
- A shield: One per team - Check out Pinterest for DIY shield ideas.
- Optional tags: Ribbons / material strips.
- A Throne: One hoola-hoop or cones to create a circle.
The contributor for this particular game suggested that it is best played in the pitch black and works a treat as an evening activity. In the middle of a field there need to be two teams. They're standing back to back, facing away from eachother. One member in each team of the teams will be holding their team sheild. When the King (the ref) sounds the foghorn (blows the whistle) both teams run as fast and as hard as they can away from eachother. When the King sounds the foghorn again, the sheild bearer must drop it where he's standing. Instantly the teams knights need to turn back around and attempt to steal the opposing team's sheild.
8. Round Robin!
These are just a compilation of games that could be turned into a huge tournament. The variety is unlimited. I would suggest these...
- Volleyball: Have two or three nets depending how many youth attend. The winning team of each round should get points.
- King Of The Ring: Now this is usually very physical. So not everyone will want to play. Organizers could have the teams nominate their Goliaths. Those nominated represent the teams. Each goliath goes up against the other, the aim of the game is to push or pull the other goliath outside of the ring. The winning goliath scores points for their team.
- Multi-sports: Field-hockey, football, touch rugby for a field arena. If you have use of an indoor hall or a court then your options may include basketball, netball, turbo touch, indoor hockey and mini-ball.
- Dodgeball: Split the teams into halves OR quadrants depending on your group size. (Quadrants are fun but chaotic. You will need a ref for each quadrant) Teams start at their base lines of the feild. When the whistle blows they race to the centre of the feild to retrieve stationary balls. (Preferably soft) The winning team will have hit the opposing team with balls, causing them to slowly decline in number. The team with players left win the game. Like any game, rules are created to cause a bit of chaotic excitement. Variations include:
- Catching a ball on the full causes the thrower to get out.
- Even if a ball bounces and hits you, you're still out.
- Having 'out' players lined up alongside the opposing team boundaries. They can then throw balls at their opposing team from the outlines. Players who are still 'in' run around like headless chickens with balls coming from all sides.
What kind of games do you have set up for camp? We'd love to hear about your experiences below. Happy planning!