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COOPERATIVE GAMES FILE “Play Hard, Play Fair, and Nobody Gets Hurt.” Compiled by Brett Schwartz TABLE OF CONTENTS NAME GAMES………………..……................….6-10 Six Degrees of Separation Name Wave Mother Elephant Elbow Tag T.E.A.M. GAMES……………………….…..….11-17 Birthday game Thread the Needle

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cooperative games file


“Play Hard, Play Fair, and Nobody Gets Hurt.”

Compiled by Brett Schwartz

table of contents
  • NAME GAMES………………..……................….6-10
    • Six Degrees of Separation
    • Name Wave
    • Mother Elephant
    • Elbow Tag
  • T.E.A.M. GAMES……………………….…..….11-17
    • Birthday game
    • Thread the Needle
    • Human Knot
    • Frantic
    • Can You get up?
    • Tanks
table of contents3
  • GROUP – LOW KEY GAMES…...................….18-23
    • See Ya!
    • Shake, Wink, Ha!
    • WHO AM I?
    • The Big Picture Game
    • Continuous story
  • GROUP – Faster Pace Games……………..…24-26
    • Little Ernie
    • Color Swap
  • COMPETITIVE………………………………….27-37
    • Claytionary
    • Hawaiian Hand Clap
    • Rock, Paper, Scissor Tag
    • Quack-dilly-oh-so
    • Vegetable Game
  • Grab n’Go
  • Go Get The Bacon
  • Screaming Toes
  • Coke and Pepsi
  • HOO-AH
table of contents4
  • Leadership Games….................….38-52
  • Paper Plates
  • Royalty
  • The Great Egg Drop
  • Mine Field
  • Paper Tower
  • The Human Knot
  • Mafia
  • Team Skipping
  • Marshmallow Towe
  • Team A Pod
  • Hula-Hoop Relay
  • Human Stratego
  • Take A guess
  • The Passing Lane
name games


Six Degrees of Separation

Name Wave

Mother Elephant

Elbow Tag

six degrees of separation
Six Degrees of Separation

Comments: Name/ice breaker game; get to know the people around you.

name wave
Name Wave

Comments: Name game; go around the circle a few times to go over names.

mother elephant
Mother Elephant

Comments: Name game; keeps going and makes people pay attention.

elbow tag w names variation
Elbow Tag (w/names variation)

Comments: Tag game; don’t allow people to link with a group next to them.

t e a m games


Birthday game

Thread the Needle

Human Knot


Can You get up?


birthday game
Birthday Game

Comments: Group ice breaker/Forming activity; does not take long

thread the needle
Thread the Needle

Comments: TEAM game; use more than just the hula-hoops; the pulse, etc.See if your group can get the “record time” Have stop watch! Great game!

human knot
Human Knot

Comments: Always a great game; ice breaker; see who emerges as a leader; explain rules clearly.


Comments: Very chaotic; does not last long; long and messy clean up.

can you get up
Can You Get Up?

Comments: Working together as a group. Stress that everyone should try to stand up at the same time. Very difficult activity for some.


Comments: Strategic game; working with teams; trust; explain rules clearly – can be complicated if not demonstrated or explained correctly.

group low key games


See Ya!

Shake, Wink, Ha!


The Big Picture Game

Continuous story

see ya
See Ya!

Comments: Large group icebreaker; keep ?s quick.

shake wink ha
Shake, Wink, Ha!

Comments: Shaking hands; fun; great way to get into groups.

who am i

Comments: Have two rounds – make first round easy and the second more difficult. This works on communication skills.

the big picture game

Comments: Don’t make it to obvious. Can use 1-10 busing both hands. Stress telling everyone that they should not tell anyone the “secret.”

continuous story
Continuous Story

Comments: Fun game; memory; creative; play as a group. People can end a sentence as well is they finished it.

group faster pace games

GROUP – Faster Pace Games

Little Ernie

Color Swap

little ernie
Little Ernie

Comments: Listening game; Quick; would only use as a recess activity.

color swap
Color Swap

Comments: Fun game; parachute needed, safety issues (people are running into each other); Can add more tasks by accomplishing something as a team.



  • Grab n’Go
  • Go Get The Bacon
  • Screaming Toes
  • Coke and Pepsi
  • HOO-AH


Hawaiian Hand Clap

Rock, Paper, Scissor Tag


Vegetable Game


Comments: Competition game; have cards ready and interesting.

hawaiian hand clap
Hawaiian Hand Clap

Comments: Name game; Elimination game, can be exclusive to those who are bad at names.

rock paper scissor tag
Rock. Paper. Scissor Tag

Comments: Tag game; always moving; need to work with group

quack dilly oh so

Comments: Elimination game; make sure everyone is singing and knows the song; fun and song is addicting!

vegetable game
Vegetable Game

Comments: When eliminated have everyone start a new circle. Can’t show teeth any time during the game.

grab n go
Grab n' Go

Comments: Good game; active/high energy; have everyone in the group switch roles to keep everyone active.

go get the bacon
Go Get the Bacon

Comments: Can call out more than one number at once. Listening activity. Allows for running around as well

screaming toes
Screaming Toes

Comments: Quick, fun game. Can pay on the stop to waste time. Make sure to stress that they need to look each other in the eyes. Honesty is a must!!

coke and pepsi
Coke and Pepsi

Size: AnyEquipment: NoneSynopsis:  Everyone should get a partner.  Have each group of two line up across from each other. One side of the dance floor will be named Pepsi and the other will be Coke. You then explain the object of the game by telling them you will either be saying Pepsi or Coke. If you say Pepsi, the Pepsi side has to run over and sit on the Coke side. If you say Coke, the Coke side needs to run across and sit on Pepsi's side. If you say Dr. Pepper, everyone will run to the center and do five jumping jacks.  At the saying of Seven Up everyone needs to switch sides, but the Coke’s remain cokes and the Pepsi’s remain Pepsi.  When the caller says sprite everyone runs to the middle, links arms with their partner, and spins in two complete circles.  The final command is freeze, and everyone must freeze.  This game is best played with music and to add a competitive nature this game can be played as an elimination game.  The last person to get to the other side is out until the last team is left.Helpful Hints: Be sure to have a wide-open space where everyone can run around without running into each other.  If you play elimination have those who are eliminated act as the judges. Safety Issues: Make sure there are no hazards when running around

Comments: Fast passed game; make sure to explain rules clearly.

hoo ah

Comments: Elimination game; game started out slow but as a leader need to keep the pace quick.

leadership games


  • Team Skipping
  • Marshmallow Towe
  • Team A Pod
  • Hula-Hoop Relay
  • Human Stratego
  • Take A guess
  • The Passing Lane

Paper Plates


The Great Egg Drop

Mine Field

Paper Tower

The Human Knot


paper plates
Paper Plates

This is a fun game where 2 teams compete to touch 60 paper plates in numerical order the fastest. The facilitator sets up 2 sets of plates in this order:

Only one player at a time can touch the plates. If he makes a mistake and touches the wrong plate, he must start back at one. Two facilitators will observe with stop watches to make sure the players aren't cheating and to keep time. "Pointers" may be changed at the end of a failed series. The first team to complete the series under a minute wins. If both teams quickly reach a minute with time to spare, they can race for the quickest time.


People will receive a card from a deck. They will not see their card and will only see the cards of those around them. Then everyone will be asked certain questions and based on the number on the person they are talking to (the higher the card, the more superior) will treat them at a certain level of superiority.


Deck of cards


~To put an emphasis on the importance of equality.

~To show that although the title of someone (e.g King) may put them on a pedestal, the group can reach full potential when all of the group members are given equal opportunity. An appreciation and respect for one another.

~To show a simulation and have group movement of this idea so

that members will have a better understanding.


Showing how quick we are to judge based on people's title.

Being an active listener .

Role that every single member has to a group, no matter their superiority

the great egg drop
The Great Egg Drop

First, the class will be separated into groups of three to four. Each group will be given a raw egg, 20 straws and 30" of masking tape. The groups will then have 5 minutes to create a "shield" for the egg using only the straws and tape (if the facilitator sees that groups seem to be taking a bit too long, it is his/her responsibility to urge them to finish with the given time .:At the end of the 5 minutes, the eggs will then be dropped from about waist level. The eggs which are still in-tact will continue to be dropped from in a higher level.


This activity stresses teamwork because the groups must work together effectively and efficiently to try to find the best possible way to protect their egg with limited resources. Through the activity participants should gain a stronger sense of teamwork and the roles people must take on in order to complete such an activity. One of the main ideals of teamwork is that even if a leader arises, every member has an opportunity to share ideas.

mine field
Mine Field

Goal: To develop communication skills within a large group of people. Create an environment for emergent leadership, where everyone feels safe and important.

Outcomes or Objectives:

1. Respect other ideas than their own and adopt them (cognitive)

2. Reacts to others guidance with trust (psychomotor)

3. Joins with others to create a successful outcome (affective)


An open area, enough blindfolds for entire group, rope, miscellaneous objects


Rope off an area, Add objects to the middle, scattered about with enough room for a person to

walk around them. One student is blindfolded at a time. The rest of the group must guide the

person across the "mine field". Only the blindfolded person may be in the "mine field". The

blindfolded person must pass through the "mine field" without touching any obstacles, leaving the

area or touching a boundary; if they do they must go back.

1. How did you feel while you were being blindfolded?

2. Was there a certain voice (tone, range, etc.) that you felt more comfortable listening to than others?

3. While directing people across the mine field, how did you feel?

4. Did you find it difficult to have so many people directing one? Why?

paper tower
Paper Tower

Participants break up into groups and compete to build the highest tower only using

the provided equipment. At the conclusion of the exercise each tower must stand for

30 seconds.


Legal Paper and masking tape


2 minutes for planning 10minutes for building.


To foster group decision making. How well does your group work together and how efficient are you.


- Split up into group of 4 Of5 participants.

- Set the appropriate tone, by stating that this activity is a competition.

- Each group gets one sheet of legal paper and 6 inches of masking tape.

- Each group is given 2 minutes only to plan not build. At the end of the 2 minutes each group can begin to start constructing their tower's.

- At the end of the 10 minute construction time, each tower must stand for 30 seconds.

the human knot
The Human Knot

The reason for this game is for people to get to know each other, in other words an ice breaker. It tends to involve close physical proximity, and can also

be used as a name game. This activity also helps groups to work together and allows them to focus on group understanding of communication,

leadership, problem solving, teamwork, trust, persistence, etc.

Goals- to untangle the human knot of arms and bodies

Rules and Instructions:

STEP 1: Stand in two circles with an equal and even number of people.

STEP 2: Use your right hand to grab the right hand of the person directly across from you, and at the same time introduce yourself to the person

STEP 3: Use your left hand to grab the left hand of the person to the right of the person holding your other hand and introduce yourself to this person

STEP 4: Untangle, as a group, back into one open circle, without letting go of hands or dislocating any joints. You also must use the persons name in the group that you are talking too which will make the communications more accurate. You are allowed to change their grip so it is more comfortable, but that doesn't mean you can do it to unclasp or reclasp to undo the knot.

STEP 5: If group has trouble, have them perform a surgery this is accomplished by having the group decide on one set of hands breaking and rejoining any place they would like.

As we solve problems we have to be aware of how our actions affect each other and be able to listen to each other

needs and view which allows you to work together to solve problems in everyday life. TEAMWOHK is important

and key to life.


10-12 people sit in a circle, 3 mafia members are assigned, 2 angels, a cop, and as

many civilians as needed. Everyone playing closes their eyes and only opens them

when the narrator says to do so. The mafia is trying to kill all the civilians while the

civilians are trying to get rid of the mafia. After the mafia kills off someone, and the

angels have done their investigation, a discussion is held. Everyone must defend their

character and give reasons why they are not the mafia, lying is permitted to keep your

identity a secret.

Props needed: decks of cards

Goal: To create a relationship with your peers and view relationships and

accusations, also to use clues to solve a problem. In relation to the actual game, the

goal for mafia members is to kill all civilians; the common goal for the civilians is to kill

all members of the mafia

team skipping
Team Skipping

Equipment needed: Long Jump ropes

Team building exercise

Check off each activity after completed:

___ 1) One person jumping and another person jumps in.

___ 2) Make a cell phone call while jumping

___ 3) Two people jumping and one person jumps out

___ 4) Jumper puts on chapstick or lip gloss while jumping

___ 5) Make up a short chant and say it while jumping

___ 6) Put you hat on the other jumper’s head.

marshmallow towers
Marshmallow Towers

Work together in groups to build the tallest tower that will remain

standing for the time limit.

Equipment- .Marshmallows, toothpicks, watch or clock.

Time- 15 minutes

Goal- To work on communication skills and working together as a group.


~Split into three groups of seven.

~Each group will get one bag of marshmallows and a container of toothpicks

~The three groups will have seven minutes to discuss their design and then execute their ideas

~The winning group gets the satisfaction of knowing that their design worked


. What were the group dynamics, did leaders step forward, and were others compliant and complaisant?

. How was the final design chosen?

. What problems did you have during this activity? How were they handled?

. Were the leaders the same people that have been leaders in past activities?

. Would you make any changes to this activity and if so what would they be?

team a pod


This activity is designed to help students instill trust in one another and to let

them understand the importance and necessity of teamwork. Students will

also learn the Impliance of cooperation and when it is necessary.


Students will be divided into teams of 7 and told they are on a surface where

it can only support 5 body parts at a Time. The goal of the team is to get all

the members to the designated area, without letting more than 5 body parts

touch the ground at any time, if more touch, the group then goes back to the

beginning. The key is to form a millipede-like formation composed of all of

the group members, having all the group members work together for support

and trust.

the hula hoop relay
The Hula-Hoop Relay

Brief Description

This is a game of competition. The group will form a circle by holding hands. There are two hula

hoops placed in the circle by separating two people's hands, putting a hula hoop in, and

reconnecting the people's hands.


Two hula hoops and a stop watch.


2 minutes for the first relay, 1 minute for the next, and 3 for the last then discussion time.


To be competitive and to see how people help/enthuse other people.


~Set an enthusiastic, energetic atmosphere

~Introduce the game and tell them it is a game of speed. Then say "this is a game of what?" They answer "speed."

~Participants cannot let go of one another's hands.

~Let them know it is being timed

~Have them do three rounds, each time getting faster

human stratego
Human Stratego

Played like the popular board game, two sides combine aspects of "Tag" and "Capture the Flag," attempting to

choose individuals with lower numerical values in hopes of identifying the "Flag".


Two sets of numbered note cards (1-10 +"Flag"), two colors of ribbon.


12 minutes (4 minutes/round) + 3 minutes for discussion; Additional time recommended for discussion and alternative game stipulations.


To promote communication amongst groups, encourage teamwork, and expand personal comfort zones.


~Separate the group into two evenly numbered sides, distinguished by ribbon color.

~Randomly distribute note cards face down to participants. Each side should have similar numerical values.

~Participants "tag" members of the opposing side, revealing respective numerical values.

~The participant with the higher value remains in the game.

~The participant with the lower value must exit the game.

~If a tie occurs, both participants must exit the game.

~If the "Flag" is discovered, the activity is over. The other team wins.

~During the First round, groups are prohibited from communicating strategy or numeric rankings.

take a guess
Take A Guess

One person leaves the room while the rest of the group thinks of something (person,

place, or thing.) Then, using yes~no questions, the person who left the room has to

Come up with the .thing. After they have figured it out, reverse the entire operation.

i.e. the one person thinks of a thing, and the entire group has to figure it out using

yes~no questions.


Chairs, Isolation chamber (an empty classroom or hallway can work), and people.


Depends on the group, but one should plan for at least 10-15minutes. This depends on the dynamics of the group.


To get a group to act as a whole. One person can not carry an entire group. Groups work best when everyone has an equal say. '

the passing lane
The Passing Lane

The Passing Lane is an activity meant to stimulate students in various aspects relating to leadership and development. This activity involves the entire class, working as a team to achieve one seemingly simple goal. The main goal of the Passing Lane is to get an object from one of the "passing lane" to the other. The purpose of the activity is to further the students' knowledge, attitudes, and psychomotor skills in relation leadership. Student learning objectives will be both appropriate and attainable, along with being observable and measurable for the facilitator. The objectives describe what the students will able to do at the end of instruction based on cognitive,psychomotor, and ffective domains as defined by Bloom's Taxonomy. The instructions are easy to follow and students should have fun with the activity, while learning valuable lessons about themselves and leadership.


To create a Passing Lane, have the class divide in half and form two parallel lines facing each

other. The first thing the students have to do is reach across and join hands with two other

students. As they are doing this, tell them that they should create as tight a Passing Lane as

possible because they will have to pass things along. Therefore, they will not want to have a lot of

gaps between their arms. Before beginning, warn students of any range of motion limitations. Just

to be sure, ask if anyone will have any problems if their arms go over a specific height. Remember

that two other people will be holding onto their arms so they will not be in complete control of their

own arms. When the students are ready, start big and easy by passing a beach ball down the

lane. Let them try it a few times so they get good at it and begin to feel comfortable. Do not be surprised if the ball

goes flying outside the Passing Lane over their heads once in a while. This is part of the fun. Then switch to a

volleyball, tennis ball, and eventually a golfball, letting them try each one a couple of times. Give each new

ball a big build-up and asking the students to predict how well they will do with each new challenge. Have the

students switch places periodically so they need to work with different people. There is no reason not to try to pass

some unorthodox things, like blindfolds, balloons, Tupperware and rope. During the debrief, encourage the group to

discuss the five questions the facilitator came up with in reference to them doing the Passing Lane.