Sometimes adults need an activity that is fun, timely, doesn’t need any supplies, and can be played for anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. They key is trusting that we are truly creative and when push comes to shove the greatest challenge is realizing that almost any game or activity becomes the childrens’ favorite when we join them in the game.
A perfect example occurred this weekend when a Star Wars Birthday party for twelve 7 year old kids turned into a random game of TAG. Pure bedlam ensued and we either needed to intervene or someone was going to get hurt. Time to take their game, add some layers that would make sure it stayed fun, and fit it into the theme of the party. When setting up a game I try to make sure there is a predictable flow of the game and that everyone can play regardless of age or ability.
Creative juices flowing, I stepped into the middle of the fray and announced a “NEW GAME!!!”
Star Wars Tag
- Demonstrate a ‘safe’ tag, light on shoulder
- Everyone is a tagger
- Demonstrate three progressions/characters
- Set up a resting zone (passive or active resting)
- Everyone starts as the same character and changes into two other characters each time they get tagged.
- As each character, they try and tag their friends as that new character, when they are tagged a third time they run over to the ‘resting zone’
- You choose what type of ‘resting zone’ based on how long the kids are going to play, age of the children, and energy level of the group.
- When we played I created an ‘active rest’ with twelve 7 year old kids playing tag for five minutes, they could handle it.
Active rest: Travel to the Dagoba System, Yoda has instructed you to do 5 jumping jacks. Re-enter as the first character in the rotation.
Passive rest: Oh NO! Bobba Fett captured you and placed you in the carbonite freezing chamber, count to 10, re-enter game.
Deep Breathing rest: The Dark Side awaits. Go to the Death Star and as you are waiting for Darth Vader to arrive practice your light saber skills – stand holding your light saber down in front of you. Breathe in as you raise the light saber above your head and out as the saber is brought down (repeat three times). Re-enter game.
When playing Star Wars Tag, I chose to create a ‘quiet/slow’ character and put that character in the middle of the mix to encourage kids to slow down. In this case, R2D2.
- Millennium Falcon – Arms are raised to shoulder height and the elbows bent so hands are out front (like the front end of the Millennium Falcon).
- R2D2 – Arms down and close to sides, each child simply rocks and bobs on their feet (like a duck of sorts) beeping like R2D2.
- Chewbacca – Arms up over head and growling.
- Princess Leia – Hands cupped above ears (the girls asked for a ‘Princess Leia’ character, if the boys don’t want to be Leia they can be Lobot, same look in this case).
- Sith Lord – Walking with hands forward as though the electric force is zapping the others.
All of these characters are much more fun if the kids make the noises of the movements.
What characters would you add to the mix?
Finally, as with any game there must be a transition activity to help the children slow down. I always have the kids stop and do a few deep breaths to slow their hearts back down.
After the kids stop running around and are waiting for the next direction from either Yoda or Darth Vader, tell them to stand with one foot in front of the other with knees slightly bent and bouncy. Have them put their hands out in front of themselves like they are holding a ball of energy (The Force). Deep breath in as arms open up (one goes up and the other down). Now breathe out and bring hands back together quickly without crushing the imaginary ball (The Force). Repeat three times. Ask them to check their hearts and tell you if it is beating fast or slow. If they say fast, repeat. If they have slowed down, have fun moving on to your next part of the day, and….
May The Force Be With YOU!
Submitted by: Brian Armstrong, Key Account Manager at S&S Worldwide