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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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