If you’ve worked with kids for any length of time, you’ve probably discovered two basic truths: kids love games, and things rarely go according to plan. A rain cloud can quickly move your event or activities indoors. Perhaps you’ve shown up to the field or gym that you reserved only to find the space already occupied. Or maybe you’ve even faced a situation in which the game you planned requires 10 players, and you end up with 4…or 40. Working with kids often requires quick thinking and a little creativity to accommodate for things such as inclement weather, lack of space, or group size. At CentriKid Camps, we often have to adapt or tweak our games to fit the situation. Here are a few tips for adapting games to meet your needs:
1. Keep a Positive Attitude – This is the most important tip for changing the plan or adapting games. Kids will respond based on your response. If you think something is fun, they will, too! As the leader, your attitude will quickly become the attitude of your group.
2. Swap out Equipment – Using “unconventional” equipment can not only make your game more suited to your environment, it can also make the game more fun or interesting. If your game of Ultimate Frisbee® is forced inside because of rain, consider swapping out the Frisbee® with a rubber chicken. Chances are your kids will think Ultimate Chicken is way more fun, anyway!
3. Split into Smaller Teams or Groups – If you have more kids than expected, consider playing the same game in two smaller groups, or divide kids into more teams. For soccer, place a goal on all four sides of the field and play with four teams.
4. Play a “No Equipment Required” Game – It’s always a good idea to keep a handful of simple games in your back pocket that you can play at any time in any place. Simon Says is always one of my favorites.