Circle games are usually games played while sitting in a circle in which the whole group takes part. The main aspect is not competitive but having fun in the group. The games are mainly calm games which generally do not need materials or any large amount of preparation. During the summer months, you'll find that many kids are at summer camp playing these sorts of games. For example Kettleby Valley is just one of many camps for kids in southern Ontario in Canada which use these circle games and other kind of games from this website.
Circle games are generally fun games which children largely like to play. Also, there are always several players active at the same time, so that no one needs to feel excluded. A nice side effect of circle games is that the players have fun, but no chaos breaks lose – something which can happen to a holiday group at times. Likewise, there is no "competitive behaviour" needed, which gives the games an easy touch. This makes those games not just ideal for home but also for the time spent away.
If you are traveling with several children, or the local kids want to make friends with the newcomers, those games literally offer themselves. Another excellent idea is, to open a “Detective Agency” with the children, with the incentive, so find something that was previously “stolen.” – Just another game to keep a small and even a larger group of children busy.
Basically, such circle games make for a great “introductory help.” Although these are not strictly speaking classic games to get to know each other, they are very easy to play, require little preparation and almost always promise a lot of "action." They quickly bring kids inhibitions and barriers to other group members down. After all, alone the sit- or standing order is arranged in a way so that children (the older ones as well) can see each other or look into each other’s eyes.
One of the most famous circle games is repeatedly used for group participants to mutually introduce each other with their respective names. That makes it as easy as possible to remember those names, and all it requires is an object that the player can throw to each other. For example, this could be a ball or even a key chain.
The whole thing is very simple: The object is always thrown from one player to another. It is important that the thrower always calls out loud the name of the catcher. That will make it easy that in the shortest time possible, everybody can remember the name of all kids in the circle.
Also, those circle games promote a certain intimacy within the group. The mere fact that you are practically sitting across someone else, virtually eye to eye creates a sense of familiarity. It is to no surprise that self-help groups always refer back to the formation of circles when it comes to discussing controversial issues. Everyone can talk to anybody else while creating eye contact at the same time. You also can follow the person’s facial expressions and gestures, which makes everybody more comfortable than sitting in rows.
Basically, circle games are perfect for everything that has to be passed around or thrown to each other. Within a circle, nobody has the feeling to be outside the group and therefore, maybe got a worse seat than somebody else. A psychological effect, which should not be underestimated. Circle games are therefore ideally suited for working with shy, insecure children and adolescents. Likewise, new members of a group that should be optimally integrated can effectively be helped with circle games. On this website, you will find a wide selection of different circle games that are suitable for small as well as large groups of children and young people.
- Do You Love Your Neighbour?
Places are swapped depending on the answers given.
- Darling, I Love You, But…
If you love me, smile!. The sitting player must answer without laughing.
- All Birds Fly High
An announcer shows what must be done - anyone who does the wrong action or makes a mistake must pay a fine.
- Ribbel Dibbel or President - Vice President
An amusing circle game with rhythm, movement and concentration.
- Change places
The person in the middle is blind-folded and calls 2 names. These two must exchange places before the player in the middle can tag one of them.
Everyone forms a circle and joins hands. Somewhere in the circle the beginning and the end of the snake will be determined.
- Thigh and Hand Concentration
Each player puts his left hand on the thigh of the player to his left and his right hand on the thigh of the player on his right. An impulse in a clockwise direction will go around.
- Camp Alphabet
One player begins: I will take to camp an apple. The next player repeats this sentence and adds another article.
- The Laugher
The laugher must make the other players laugh.
- Musical Chairs
One stool is taken away after each round. The player without a chair is out of the game.
All players move about the room. The leader calls out a number. The group must then make clusters of players to match that number.
- Sit on Laps
Everyone stands facing in the same direction in a circle. Everyone then tries to sit on the lap of the person behind him.
- Come With Us / Run Away
A funny kindergarten game which is also well liked at family parties or in mixed groups.
- Black pudding, paté
A fictive black pudding or pate are crossed over - the chaos is perfect.
- Crawled through the gate!
The players in the inner circle stand with their legs spread. The players in the outer circle try to crawl through their legs.
- Circle runners
Everyone stands in a circle and the count starts for 3,4 or 5. The numbers called out run around the circle once.
- Caught in a Circle
One person goes in the middle of the circle made by the other players who hold hands. The person in the middle must try to break through the circle.
- Mouse hangs the cat
2 kids are chosen as a cat and a mouse. The rest of the group stands in a circle. The mouse tries to isolate the cat with tricks.
- Oops the six
The group takes turn to count to 100. If a number comes which can be divided through 6 or has a 6 in it, the player says „oops“.
- Commander Pimpernel
Different commands are called out quickly one after the other.
- Port or starboard
One player is the captain and the other players are the crew. Should a member of the crew fail to fulfil the task or make a mistake, the player is out of the game (out of the game, pay a deposit, do a forfeit etc.)
- Horse races
The group sits in a circle. A volunteer is chosen to lead the race horses. The rest of the race horses must copy the movements and instructions.
- Rumours or the silent postman’s knock
The first person has a rumour of 3 to 4 sentences whispered in his ear. Then he whispers this rumour in the next players ear.
- My right place is empty
Each player sits on a chair with one chair remaining unoccupied. The person who has this empty chair to his right says: “My right, right place is empty, I wish that Freddy was an monkey and was sitting here”.
- Silly has lost his hat
A popular circle game which requires concentration.
- Smell the stool!
A player must guess which stool a member of the group has sat on.
- Finding words
A word game
- Postman's knock (pantomime)
Postman's knock as a pantomime chain.
- Passing on facial expressions
Postman's knock using facial expressions
- Guess the mood
A mood must represented and be recognised by a player.
- The story
The next person in line must continue the story using the names he was given.
- At the psychiatrists
The “psychiatrist” asks questions of the players to find out what illness the patient has.
The player who was out of the room comes in and must guess the changes made to the circle.
- Hello, I am Anton from Anzac!
Everyone introduces themselves with name, town, place of birth, job, parent’s names etc. but have to use only the same letter.
- Children’s laughter is catching
The winner is the baby who keeps a straight face the longest.
- Keep a straight face
The answer must incorporate the required theme and no laughing is allowed.
- People memory
2 players make up pairs - the pairs must be found
- Who’s the Boss?
The player who was outside must figure out who the leader is.
- The Moo Cow Game
Find out the loudest cow in the group
- Hands Up
The player on the left grabs the right hand and the player on the right grabs the left hand of the player chosen.
- Whistle Game
There seems to be a whistle somewhere in the room, but where is the whistle?
2 places must be swapped. In doing this, the players must rattle 3 times. A blindfolded player must catch them.
- The killer
One person is the killer and kills people by sticking out his tongue. A detective must find the killer.
- Where’s the Ring?
A ring must be found in a circle of players holding a length of string.
- The Signal – Squeeze Hands
The goal is to be the faster team getting the information (heads was tossed) through the chain and grabbing the spoon first.
- Fox Hunt or Lazy Egg
Fox Hunt or Lazy Egg is a well known game but still appropriate with young groups.
- Parachute Games
Lots of games can be played with a parachute.
- Circle tug
The group stands in a circle around a tree (stick) and holds it with their hands. By pulling the stick, the players try to touch another player with it.
- Penny circle relay
A penny is placed on the forehead and is passed from person to person.
- Conveyor relay
The group sits next to each other in a row. A pyramid of cans is passed from one person to the next. A pencil is passed along with the feet.
- Towel race
The group stands in a circle. A towel with a knot is dropped to the ground behind a player.
- Behind the back
The group sits in a tight circle. A towel is passed around behind the player's backs which a person in the middle must find.
- Hands up
The group sits in a tight circle. The hands are placed on a table. A coin is shoved from player to player.
- Match tower
Everyone has 30 matchsticks. The person to get rid of them first has won. If a player knocks the tower over he must take all of the matches.
Bending over with the back to the circle and with the legs spread, a ball is flipped around the circle with folded hands.
- Wild boar hunt
The wild boars stand in a circle and pass a ball to the left or the right. A hunter stands in the middle and tries to hit the wild boar who currently has the wild boar ball in his hand.
- Slide Over Cards
Everyone receives a playing card and are allowed to slide along or not depending on the card they have.
- Stinky Feet
Participants find their own shoes from a pile of shoes while blindfolded and pull them on.
- Heavy shoulder weights
Who can feel if a (fly) weight is placed on their shoulder or not?
- Bottle guard
A bottle must be guarded and protected from hits.
- Newspaper whacking 2
A game with fast reaction
- The match bottle tower
A bottle is placed in the middle of the circle. Each player takes turn to place a match on the bottle.
- Fruit salad
Swap places without losing your own space.
- Parliament bench
The girls must try to occupy all parliament seats with girls and the boys try to do the same with boys.
- Special agent game
An agent must have a good memory and skilfully ask questions.
- Biting Dog
A player can only move around in a certain radius and must guard his territory.
- Drawing phrases on the back
A shown picture is drawn on the back of the next person in the line (with the finger) who then draws it on the next person’s back.
- Balloon hits
Two teams sit across from each other. 1-3 balloons must be hit over and behind the opponents row. Standing up is not allowed.
- Extreme musical chairs
A different version of the game.
- Musical Chairs – A Variation
Instead to get an empty chair, grab a balloon
- Good old chair-circle game
My right, right seat is empty - I want …… to come namely as ....!
- Me, just me, just me all alone ...
Everyone must name an object that only he alone possesses.
- Winking at each other with wrong names
If you are winked on, run away. But the person behind you tries to stop you.
- My dachshund Valdemar
A musical comedy with movements.
- Zipp Zapp
Creating a game around the name of the child next to you.
- Winking game
The winking master must be found.
- My right, right seat is free - with a difference
A circle game with the objective to grab an empty seat.
- Ping Pong
Ping Pong is similar to the Black Pudding Sausage-game, and it is played in a circle.
- Get in!
Everyone stands in a circle, holding each other's hands, trying to pull each other in the circle.
A group game to entangle
- Laughing is forbidden
Poor black cat: you have to try to make the others laugh.
- The red sock
For example, everyone is wearing red socks change seats.
- Board in a circle
A reaction game: catching a round cutting board before it loses its circulation
- The crazy ball game
3 balls are passed around on the right and left side
- Circle Football
All kids bend over while standing in a circle trying to put the ball with their hands through the goal posts (open legs).
A motion game with a parachute.
Within a circle of chairs, one child must find out who the anteater is
- Cushion Race
In a circle of chairs, one cushion tries to catch up with another.
Who is the Hatschi-Bratschi in the circle of chairs? If he is found out, all must change places in the circle of chairs.
In this game, all children need to be brought into the correct seating order.
- I am sitting in a meadow
A circle of chairs game where everybody tries to grab an empty chair.
- Slippery cards
The objective is that the first player once again gets back to his original seat.
- Changing sides
Changing sides without touching other players
As the killer game where you wink to each other here, you squint to the werewolf. The other players have to guess who might be the werewolf.
One child is a beehive, which another child has to figure out who it is. A circle game.
- Schraps has lost his hat
This is a game to concentrate and say your sentence at the right time.
- Toilet paper spinning.
A role of toilet paper has to be passed on or thrown to somebody else.
- Journey to Jerusalem
Everyone must pass on his hat, as long as the music is playing. Whoever has no hat when the music stops, has to leave the game.
- Catch the broom
To grab a broom or ball before it hits the floor.
- Winking competition
The requested player must try to escape his guard
- Who stole the cookie from the tin?
A concentration game and clapping rhythmically and answering questions
- Group Memory
Which pair belongs together? Couples always make the same movements.
- Bello the dog
All children put their hands behind their backs. One selected kid is to guess who is holding bone behind his back.
- Bello, Bello
The bone must be taken silently without the dog noticing.
- People Memory
Which pairs belong together? Couples always make the same movements.
Colourful strands of wool are hidden within cloths, one kid has to find them
- Ant is looking for a chair
One volunteer is running like an ant trying to get an empty chair.
- Cross Pharmacy
With this game, there is a trick which must be guessed.
- Slaying dragons
Who know the objects to slay a dragon? In time kids will find it out.
People trying to sit on the lap of the person behind them, trying to build a circle.
- Train ride
A volunteer tries to get hold of a free seat.
- Pulling carrots
A volunteer tries to break out of the circle.
- Pocket Action
Participants must empty their pockets and explain why they carry those particular items with them.
- Circle game
Participants must say their names and one of their hobbies, which begins with the same letter.
- Sitting football
The objective is, to kick the ball between the legs of a chair, which serves as the goal.
- I am riding on a train
While a player is in the middle of the circle, the other players have to try to fill the gap.
- Green soup
In this game, the participants tell each other stories.
- The adjective game
The objective is, every kid has to name an adjective which begins with the letter of his first name
- The Key King
The key king has to go from one child to the other asking for his name.
- Name emblem
All kids draw an emblem, which represents their names and hobbies, using symbols for the latter.
- Susi Sauerkraut
One by one the participants have to say their name and think of one vegetable that starts with the same letter.
- The ankle bracelet
All group members stand in a group of five or more persons. Then they have to tie their ankles together and open it again without using their hands.
- Tower guard
The watchman must prevent other participants from ringing the bells on his chair.
- Blind trust
One of the participants must complete a trust exercise blindfolded.
- Sneaking up
One player must sneak up to another party, without getting caught.
- Magic Pantomime
The game leader bewitches the participants who must be turned into animals or objects.
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