Planning the Games


Select & Schedule Your Games

Selecting the games

Some important things to take into account when selecting your games.
  • The ages of your participants. Older adults cannot play crab soccer. Their limbs and joints won't allow it.
  • The number of players. If the game is not suited to your size of group, it will not be fun. Try playing soccer with 4 people.
  • The size of your field (play area). Some games need lots of room. You cannot play british bulldogs in a very narrow field.
  • Does the game suit your group. A really messy game involving peanut butter, mud and squid will not go over good with a group of clean older females.

Making your schedule

  1. Pick the games you want to play.
  2. Order them in the order in which you want to play them.
  3. Choose how many times you want to play each game.
  4. Put in some flex time and break times.
  5. Tally the time and tweak schedule as needed.
    Remove games or add games as needed.
Some things to keep in mind:
  • It's always good to start with an ice breaker game. An ice breaker game is a game that has very high interaction and is good for people to meet each other. Twisted Christians.
  • Do not put too many physically exhausting in a row.
  • Keep your schedule secret. Surprizes make things so much funner! Especially gross surprises like squid or chocolate bars in apple juice!
  • If it goes over several days. It's cool to play a different variation of the same game each day.

Example Schedule


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Get Some Helpers!

Who do you think you are? Superman?

You cannot run these games by yourself. You will die of exhaustion. Get 2 or more people to help you. They will be critical in the set up stages between each game. Also in moving heavy things like large tubs of water. Score keeping, clean up, setup... trust me, the more people you have the easier it is. Don't be stupid, get some help.

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What Materials Do You Need

Selecting your materials is one of the most important things you will do.

Reusuable materials

My general rule is: If the equipment can be reused over and over, it is worth the money. The very first camp we ran, we had a small budget but we decided to spend some money and buy some nice pilons (safetly cones). Each year we try to buy a few more items that will last forever. As each year passes we have more and more equipment to use even though our budget is the same. Because we did this, every year after we had extra money we could use on other things.

These are things worth spending on.
  • Pilons / safety cones
  • Tarps. Because they have rings on the edges they can be tied together and pinned to the ground easily.
  • Large Buckets / Tubs. Make sure they have handles.
  • Water cooler
  • Hoses / Hose splitters / guns
  • Pinnies
  • Tug of war rope. Buy an expensive and thick (2 inches) rope from Home Depot. Tug of war is the game than any age person can play and enjoy.
  • Sponges
  • Slit and slide plastic roll

Disposable materials

These are items you will likely use once and then throw away. We try to minimize this but it is usually nessesary to buy some.
Things like: Peanut butter, cups, syrup, feathers, toilet paper, chocolate bars, squid etc.

On that note you might be thinking what on earth would you use that for? Sometimes to make games fun, you need be be a little gross. The most we spent on a disposable item is probably the squid. It was a package of frozen squid used for only one game called "Squeeze Me Please".
When playing games like this, you must remeber a few things:
  • Safetly. Watch out for poisonous substances and allergies.
  • Cleanliness. Perhaps it would be better called washability. Permanent markes on skin does not go over well with people. If you are unsure how well it washes out, try it out! We erred on time by using flour in a game called Minefield. Little did we know that flour plus water plus clothes equals glue, angry campers and ruined clothes.

Natural Materials

Whenever possible make use of nature! ex) Trees are great for marking endzones.
ex) A Small creek is great for playing tug of war over.

Common Props

Most of these are of our own design and have proved to be an easy way to do things.

Tug of war pit - There are many way to do this but we found this the best. Tie tarps together in an H shape. For smaller groups just use one tarp. Then pin it to the ground.
<--This particular one has banana peels and mud on it.
Pin/tie down tarps - Simple tie twine to the rings on the edges of the tarp. Then tie the other end to golf ties or tent pegs and anchor them.
Pinnies / flags - we bought this roll of fabric from wallmart. It's all different colours so it works great. We just cut strips and they tie it on their wrists, elbows, shoes, forehad or where ever they like. We also use them for flags. They just tuck them partially in their waistline and you can pull them out easy. IMAGE
Boundary markers - Click here for technique. You can also mark off small areas with this method.

Wet Games Materials

Large buckets / tubs - These are critical for we games. They can be used as water refill station and serve to stockpile water so eeryone is waiting on the hose.
Water hoses - If the faucets is far enough you may need 5 hoses to reach the field and then 4 more to split the water.
Hose Splitters (with valves)

These are great for directing the water to serveral locations. Also the valves are a handy way to turn on / off the water without having to run to the faucet. Guns at the end are good for stopping water too, but be aware that guns slow the water flow.
You can get the above water materials at most hardware stores like Home Depot.

Sponges - These are great for water flights or water tag like games. They basically are used as like balls in dry games. Return them back to the water supply stations (buckets) after each game.
Cups - These are great for water fights, transporting water etc. (beware of cups that break easy and leave sharp plastic edges).

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Giving Out Prizes

Regular Game Prizes

By far the best prize you can give during games is cold drinks. If you keep a cooler with drinks in it at the field, people will want it. Most of the times these games will be fun enough that you don't need prizes. We like to give things like candy, small toys etc. We like to keep a bucket of prizes that they can choose from.

If you are keeping score and giving prizes at the end, usually something a bit larger is needed. If you are keeping score over several days of activities even more so. CD's, t-shirts etc.

Carnival Game Prizes

When you run a carnival, you need a prize booth. Buy tonnes of small guys and girls prizes and put price tags on everything. We use things like candy, cotton candy, popcorn, drinks, bracelets, pencils, waterguns, sticky hands, yoyos, noise makers, rings, stamps, stickers, parachute men, etc...

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Making Good/Fair Teams

This is probably one of the most important steps in your planning. Let us review the "Primary Purpose of Social Games".

Force Interaction - If you want people to become friends, put them on the same team. This is a very simple rule. If they are already good friends, put them on speparate teams.
Spread Out Handicaps - Spread out the youngest kids among the teams evenly. Nothng worse than having to be a babysitter for your team. Also spread out injured players.
Spread the Fun - Spread out the high energy, fun players. In the same way, spread out the annoying people between all the teams. Makes ure if you are "Keeping The Same Teams", that you do this carefully.

Using Excel to Make Your Teams Evenly Athletic

  1. Make a table with: Name, Gender, Age, Skill.
  2. For gender give Males 3 and females 1.
  3. For age, give younger players less points and older more. Unless they're really old.
  4. For skill, if you already know they are atheltic, give thema point.
  5. Have excel tally up each rows values.
  6. Then sort based on the totals.
  7. Now simple number them off from top to bottom to make your teams.

Always Switching Teams VS Keeping The Same Teams

Always switching teams
Pros: Everyone gets to meet everyone, uneven teams only last one game, good friends also get to play on the same teams.
Cons: Deeper relatinships are not built. Hard to organize. More work. Lag time between games when making teams.

Keeping The Same Teams
Pros: Deeper relationships made. Easy to plan (this is good for you). You can do team names and they can make flags, team cheers, songs etc.
Cons: If the teams are unfair, they stay unfair the entire time. This sucks bad for the crappy team. If someone gets injured or have to leave or are part time, the teams get all messed up.

Making Teams on the Spot

This is only recommended when you do not know who is coming and/or are only play a few games. Tell the guys to line up tallest to shortest. Then starting from there get the girls to line up from shortest to tallest. Number them off starting from the tallest guy.

Differentiating Teams

Give each team different coloured pinnies.

If you are "always switching teams", a good way to plan it is to mark their name tags with the teams they belong to.
ex) Tom belongs to team A (ABCD) for game 1
Tom belongs to team 2 (1234) for game 2
Tom belongs to team Y (XYZ) for game 3
Mark his name tag with the code A2Y. When you want to play game 3 you call out for team Y to get together.

Or you can make a bunch of lists and call out their names before each game. This wastes alot of game time though.

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