Trying to entertain a large group of kids can be rough. It’s hard to get them to agree on an activity and there’s often dissenters. Your best bet is to enter the challenge with a “game plan.” You most likely know you’re going to have to wrangle this massive group of kids in advance, right? So, go ahead and plan on playing one (or several) of these games for large groups. Speak with authority and ignore the haters. Most importantly, remember that if you’re having fun playing, they’ll have fun, too.
Amazingly Fun Games For Large Groups
1. Tug Of War
Hey. With a long enough rope, a limitless number of people can play. Now you have a chance to bellow, “Use your muscles!” Isn’t that why you had kids, anyway?
2. Capture The Flag
I don’t know about you, but all my favorite P.E. memories involve playing capture the flag. It’s loud and competitive. What more could a kid want?
3. Blind Man’s Bluff
This is a fun variation of tag where “it” wears a blindfold. It’s a little more challenging. In the right space, though, it’s not impossible.
4. Sharks and Minnows
In smaller groups, one person is the shark and everyone else is the minnow. As minnows cross from one side of the yard to the other, they must avoid being “eaten” (or tagged) by the shark. If they’re tagged, they become sharks, too. With bigger groups, it might be fun to start with a couple of sharks.
You know how to play tag, right? Follow-up question: Does anyone actually enjoy being ‘It?”
6. Freeze Tag
Another variant of “tag” is freeze tag. In freeze tag, instead of immediately becoming “it,” you freeze when you’re tagged. You can only be unfrozen when someone else tags you.
7. Red Rover
Red rover, red rover, send Madison over!
8. Red Light, Green Light
Red Light, Green Light is such a fun game and, as an added bonus, it’s great for teaching body control and listening skills.
9. Blob Tag
In case you can’t tell yet, we love tag! In this version, whenever “it” tags another player, they hook arms with that person and continue on together. Before you know it, there’s a long chain (or blob) or people chasing just one kid. It’s really funny to watch and even more fun to play.
Army/Navy is all about memory, following instructions, and not cheating. Depending on the command you call, kids from each team (Army and Navy) will race or crawl towards the opposite side of the field. There’s even a command for freezing and not moving at all. If you catch a kid moving when they’re not supposed to, you can either decide they’re out or send them back to the beginning.
Playing dodgeball can feel a bit sketchy and cruel, especially if the kids don’t know each other and aren’t friends. If everyone gets along, though, dodgeball can be just another fun way to let off some steam with your friends.
Remember kickball? It’s like baseball, but without the bat and with a much bigger ball! All you need are some shoes, cones, or other markers to serve as the “bases” and you’re ready to play. Every grown-up has a childhood kickball memory. Now it’s time to help create your own child’s kickball memory.
13. Flashlight Tag
Flashlight tag is superior to all over tag games. You heard it here first. This game is best (read: only) played in the dark. The gist is simple: Hide while “It” counts. “It” gets a flashlight. You’re safe to move around, run, or stay in one place. If “It” shines their light on you, you’re out or that person becomes “it” and you start over. One way to keep this game going longer is to give each player a flashlight. As the original “it” finds more players, those players become additional members of the “it” party, capable of finding and tagging people, as well. The last person found is the first “it” in the new game.
14. Steal the Bacon
This game works great for tweens and young teens and can be played with up to 20 players. Line up the kids in teams of equal numbers parallel to each other and assign a corresponding number to each person from the team, so there will be a counterpart number on each side.
Next, grab random objects and place just one at a time in the middle between the teams, taking turns to call out random numbers and watch as each member tries to grab the object for their team. Each item equals a point and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
15. Name That Tune
This timeless game is fun at any age — yes, even with surly teenagers. Divide up the group into teams for more fun or stick to solo play. While taking turns, each person in the group hums a song while the players try to guess the name and singer. It’s always baffling how many people don’t know the actual names of very popular songs, making this game all the more fun!
16. Balloon Battle
Think of this as the real-life equivalent of Balloon Battle in Mario Kart video games. To play, tie an inflated balloon on a string to every player’s ankle. You can either divide up into teams and give all players on the same team the same color balloons, or you can let each player go it alone. But the goal is the same: to pop your opponents’ balloons by stomping on them. The team or person with the last balloon wins. Just be forewarned — the biggest casualty of this battle could be toes.
17. Caterpillar Race
This is a great way to burn off energy, especially if you have an extra-large green space to play. Divide the group into two teams or “caterpillars.” Have each group lie on their stomachs, side-by-side with their teammates with their arms stretched out in front of them. Before the race begins, you’ll need to pick the designated finish line. Whichever team reaches it first wins.
The catch? They have to get there caterpillar style. To do this, the person at the front of the line kicks things off by rolling over the other players until they get to the end of the line. Once there, they take their place on their stomach at the end. Then, the next player at the front does the same, and so on. Like one big, wriggly caterpillar!