Noughts and crosses

You will need: nine cushions and / or masking tape or chalk

5 mins

Place the cushions on the floor making a board for noughts and crosses or mark one out on the floor with masking tape. Split the young people into two teams - one noughts and the other crosses - number individuals in each team from one to however many are in each group. In case you have been living under a rock and have never played noughts and crosses before, the aim of the game is to be the first to create a straight line of noughts or crosses on the board, upwards, across or diagonally. Call out a number and the numbered player from each team will try to take a place on the board holding their arms as a O or X. Continue until one team wins. Keeping the same numbers this can be played again and again until a better game beckons!

Head, shoulders, knees, toes, shoe

You will need: shoes

10 mins

Ask the young people to get into pairs and face one another standing slightly apart. One person should take off their shoe and places it in between them. Begin by shouting out head, shoulders, knees, toes or even ankles, elbows, ears, neck etc. Everyone must respond by touching the relevant bit. When you shout: “Shoe!” it is a race to grab the shoe. The winner then goes through to the next round to play against a fellow winner. You must keep eye contact with your partner at all times and remain standing up straight until the grab for the shoe.

Zip, zap, boing

You will need… to pay close attention

15 mins

There are many versions of this game but the basic level can be played by anyone. The more rules there are, the harder it gets. It can be played over many weeks and the young people can become involved by suggesting their own additional rules. This is a high-energy game and the aim is to not be caught out!

Get the young people into a circle. One person will start by clapping their hands to their left or right and saying: “Zip”. The next player does the same and so on, going around the circle in the same direction. Someone can randomly say: “Zap” using the clap and eye contact to pass it across the circle. That person must then catch it and continue the ‘zips’ in a direction of their choice. Once you have used ‘zap’ a couple of times, introduce ‘boing’. At any time, the person receiving a ‘zip’ can choose to say: “Boing” sending the ‘zips’ in the other direction.

Zip, zap, boing requires everyone to pay attention. There must be no hesitation or doing the wrong action otherwise that person will be out of the game. Alternatively, just keep playing with everyone and speed it up.

Extra rules

Shlack: When the ‘zip’ reaches any player, they can shout: “Shlack!” into the centre of the circle. Any other player can shout: “It’s mine” and continue with ‘zip’ around the circle. However, if more than one player shouts: “It’s mine” they are both out.

Ding dong: When the ‘zip’ reaches any player, they can shout: “Ding!” and bow. Every player must also bow and shout: “Dong”. The person who shouted ‘ding’ then continues with ‘zip’ in either direction.

Fireball: When the ‘zip’ reaches any player, they can shout: “Fireball!” and must roll an imaginary fireball under the feet of the person next to them. The rest of the circle must then jump over the imaginary fireball until any member of the circle puts it out by saying: “Water bucket!” and pouring an imaginary water bucket over it. The person who shouted ‘water bucket’ then continues with ‘zip’ in either direction.


You will need: a soft ball and some trestle tables (or something else to divide the room to waist height)

10 mins

Halve the room and lie the trestle tables sideways across the centre, forming a small wall. Split the young people into two teams and get them to lie on the floor hidden from the other team on either side of the room. Some can choose to curl up into a small ball and some can lie full length to represent different sizes of ‘ships’. The aim of each team is to throw the ball and hit as many ships of the opposing teams which are then sunk. The winning team will have sunk all the other team’s boats. If a bigger ship is hit they can have curl up to form a smaller ship and remain in the game.

Human bop-it

You will need… a very high embarrassment threshold

5 mins

You will need to know the following moves and be happy to make a fool of yourself: bop it - squatting; pull it - air grabbing with one arm; flick it - flicking the person next to you; twist it - wiggling your bum; spin it - spinning round on the spot.

A leader shouts out the actions in a random order, starting slowly but speeding up. The winners are those that can keep up with the speed and actions. This is a great game to get the young people taking turns as leaders, but only after they fully understand the moves.