Co-operative Games 2

Here are some more co-operative games for your to try (you can find the first page of games here).  All of these games can be played with small groups.

Group storytelling

Everyone sits in a circle. Decide on the story you are going to tell, for example: The Three Little Pigs. Each person in the circle is to tell a bit of the story. The first person starts the story off and then in turn each person around the circle adds another bit to the story until the whole story has been told. The trick is to share the story out and tell it in as much detail as possible. You could also use a signifier to pass the story round, this could be any object.

Passing the Balloon

The balloon can be substituted for an orange, or a ball or any other round object. The children line up in two lines and the object of the game is for the person at the front to pass the object to the person behind without dropping it. The object must then move all the way along the line to the last person. When the last person has successfully got the object then the whole team sits down on the floor to signal that they have finished.

Let’s Build a Machine

The children try to make a moving machine with their bodies. The leader says get into groups of…. (4, 5, 6…) and then the children have to work together to make a machine with each child being a component. The machines can either be imaginary or real, such as a washing machine, an orange squeezer or a pinball machine. When each group shows their machine then the others can try and guess what it is. Sounds can be added too.

Sound Machine

Standing in a circle, the leader explains to the children that they are going to create a sound machine. The game begins with the leader making a made up sound and repeating that sound over and over again. Then the person next to the leader in the circle makes a different sound and repeats it, and then the next person and so on until everyone in the circle is making a different sound and the sound machine is complete.

The leader can then control the volume of the sound machine by lowering and raising their hands. You could explore different themes or emotions that the machine could make.

This activity would also worked well with a whole class. You can find our other activities suitable for the whole class here.

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Co-operative Games 1

There are many books full of cooperative games and some schools are teaching them to lunchtime supervisors for use in the playground. Try starting the day or afternoon with one of these games: they are also good for waking the brain up! All of these games can be played with the whole class.


You will need music for this game and a large space to play it in. When the music starts, players walk around quickly in all directions, avoiding contact. When the music stops, each player shakes hands with the nearest person and discovers as much new information about them as possible until the music restarts (5-7 seconds). The process is then repeated but each time the players must greet someone new. The game continues until they have all met.

Touch Blue

Everyone walks around the room, until the leader says “everyone must touch blue”, then everyone has to find something blue to touch. Then everyone continues walking around the room again. The leader changes the thing they have to touch each time. So the leader may say “touch wood” or “material” or “your ear with your left thumb”. With young children it may be interesting to play the game in slow motion. You can add things so the list gets longer and longer. In the end they have to remember to go and do or touch 5 or 6 things. The final challenge is to get them to complete the list again but in the reverse order!

Groups of….

The children stand in one large group and the leader says “groups of…“ and the children have to get into groups of whatever the leader has said. For example, groups of same colour socks, groups of same colour eyes or groups of same colour hair.

This game requires that the children work together to make sure that no one is left out and is a good way of getting them communicating with each other. If they don’t know what colour eyes they’ve got then they need to go and ask someone.

Fruit Bowl

The children sit in a circle on chairs. One person stands in the centre. The leader goes around the circle giving each child the name of a fruit – orange, apple, banana, orange, apple, banana… The person in the centre calls out the name of one of these fruits. All the children who have been given that name have to get up and switch chairs while the player in the centre tries to sit down on a vacant chair. The child who failed to get a chair becomes the person in the middle and the game continues. If the person in the centre calls “fruit bowl” then everyone has to get up and switch chairs.

The Sun Shines On

This is a variation on the game Fruit Bowl. The children sitting around the circle are not given a name of a fruit, in this game they must get up and move chairs if the person in the middle says something that relates to them. So the person in the middle might say, “the sun shines on: everyone wearing a jumper” or “the sun shines on: everyone who brushed their teeth this morning”.
All those people that the statement is true for must get up and move. It gets more interesting when you ask things you may not know, such as “who supports [football team]?”, “who likes [pop group]?”, “who had toast for breakfast?”, etc. There should be fewer places to sit than players so that the last person has to go in to the middle and decide the new category.


Everyone stands in a circle and closes their eyes. Then they all move together into the centre and lift up their arms in the air. Each person then takes another person’s hand until everyone is holding two hands. Then the children open their eyes and they must try to untangle themselves and get back to a circle without breaking hands. This game requires a great deal of co-operation and is very good in encouraging not only teamwork but also good communication between participants.

Follow my Leader

Everyone stands in a long line behind each other. The person at the front is the leader and the rest of the group has to copy exactly what the leader does as he/she moves around the room. After a while the leader can clap his/her hands and the next person in the line becomes the leader who moves in a different way and everyone has to copy him/her instead.

Make a…

Get the children to walk around the room filling all the spaces.  You could suggest different ways of walking or moving ie. sadly, happily, like a monster, as if walking through jelly or a storm.   The leader calls out a number from 1 to the whole class.  The children get into groups of that number. You then ask the group to make the shape of that number using their bodies.  Then send them off moving around the room again.  The game is repeated but you can add in a whole range of suggestions for them to make with their bodies. The object of the game is for the children to make the stated letter, number, shape or word as quickly as possible by co-operating with each other.

Hug tag

A simple tag game with one or two people on. People are safe if they are hugged by someone else. Hugs can only last three seconds. It is possible to grab a partner if you need help or hold out your arms to offer sanctuary to someone in danger of being caught.

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Role on the wall

Ask the children to work co-operatively

Make a life size outline of Bally and Billy by drawing around children on two very large pieces of paper (newsprint end roll or sugar paper taped together). This could be coloured in or made into a collage.

What are the expressions on their faces?

  1. What words could you use to describe the characters at the start of the story?
    Write these words on cards/post it notes. (Some suggestions could be frightened, angry, helpful, moody, sad, upset, bullied, selfish, noisy, strong, confused, doesn’t share, friendly, quiet, bossy) or you could use the words below.
  2. What words go with which character?
  3. Stick the words on the character it best fits

Depending on the language and/or co-operative skills of the class, the teacher could either read out the card and let the children decide on whose body the words are going to be stuck, or let the children work in small groups and let them decide for themselves.

Would you change any words or remove any or choose new words to describe the characters at the end of the programme?

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The Balloon Game

A very simple game that can illustrate the relationships and roles in a group. You could try playing it at your next inset/staff training day.

Stand class in circles of about 15 people in each circle you could play two simultaneous games or have some observers commenting on the dynamic.

The idea is to keep the balloon from touching the floor. Using your head, hands, feet, nose, back, whatever (you can vary rules to suit group or space).

Play for a few minutes:

  • Did every one hit the balloon at least once?
  • Who were the people who hit it most?
  • Who chose to stand back?

This indicates preferred roles in the group and may not necessarily imply good or bad behaviour.

Play again, encouraging the dominant ones to step back (“make someone else do the work for a change!”) and the more passive ones to be more active. Ask how it feels to be more or less active in the game.

What if you can nominate the next person to hit the balloon by calling their name? You can make life awkward by making people dash across the circle or you can make it easy by naming the person nearest to the balloon trusting they will keep the game going.

Try playing it again without names but see what happens if one person tries to get the balloon every time (i.e. you).

In which set of circumstances is the task maintained most successfully?

You will need an inflated balloon (and some spares in case of accidents!!) and big room (hall or gym).

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