The use of outdoor games for students is a great way to improve a number of mental and physical skills, and often bring with them a lot of significant benefits. Games also contribute a great deal to social development. Many students, because of problems at home, shyness or physical disability find it hard to react with others. Some adults can’t either, and nothing places one at a greater disadvantage in a business or social setting. Many developmental studies show that students that are normally withdrawn for whatever reasons have shown a lot of improvement in their ability to cooperate with playmates, and have even increased their popularity among their playmates because of skills brought about by playing games. Tests done with shy adults have had similar results.

Games teach students to follow certain limits and levels of self-control. A student who has to take his turn will think more carefully about his turn. A game that requires taking turns is a great way to focus attention, since a player constantly has to readjust plans based on others’ actions. Through these games students will develop social skills, improved self-esteem and confidence which will help them in other areas of their schooling life.

What better way to teach a student self-control and moral reasoning? When engaged in a game, the student has to learn that even in the emotional excitement of an intense game or close race, they have to observe rules and regulations, to choose between fair or unfair, and to act on those choices appropriately.

What time is it, Mr Monster?

Equipment: A bean bag or something little to place behind the monster

Description: Mr Monster is very similar to ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’; it just has a few different rules and variations.  The teacher picks one student to be the monster. This student starts at one end of the designated playing area with their back to the rest of the class. The class then lines up in a straight line at the other end of the playing area and yells out “What time is it, Mr Monster?” Mr Monster then calls out a time that is on the even hour (1 o’clock – 12 o’clock). The class then takes that many steps towards Mr Monster. When the class gets close enough to the monster they can try and steal the beanbag from just behind the monster. If a student can grab the beanbag and run back to the other end of the playing area then they become the monster. But if the monster yells out “Midnight!” then turns and chases the students, those that the monster catches are to sit out. A variation to this is to allow each student who is tagged to become an honorary monster and help catch the other students. This is a fun, none-elimination version for younger students.

In The Water, Out Of The Water

Equipment: Cones to make a 20m straight line

Description: Start the game with the class lining up in a straight line on one side of the line of cones. If you are playing the game inside and have lines on the ground you can use one of these instead. The game is simple; the class all start on one side of the cones, which is called ‘out of the water’. On the other side of the cones is called ‘in the water’. The teacher then starts by saying one or the other. If the teacher says “In the water”, the class jumps over the cones. If the teacher says “Out of the water”, the class jumps back out of the water.

The game gets tricky when the teacher starts saying both instructions quite fast. Students are eliminated and become judges if they do the wrong movement, or if they are too slow to react to the instruction from the teacher. The last student left is the winner. This is a great game for students of all ages; it is a fun, fast-paced warm-up activity.

Log Jumping

Equipment: None

Description: This game can be played inside or outside. Students lay on their stomachs in a circle with their heads facing inwards. Make sure there is a body width between each student before you start. The teacher stands in the middle and yells one student’s name. This student gets up and jumps clockwise over every student successively until they get back to their starting place where they lie back down. This game is like a Mexican wave, so once the lead student jumps over the first student they get up and follow the lead student and so on, until each student has followed the previous student back to their original place. When the last student lies down the turn stops. To challenge the students the teacher can time students to see how long it takes for everyone to have a go and get back to their starting position. This is a fun, challenging game the class can play together to try and beat the clock.

Reaction Time

Equipment: 10 balls

Description: Split the class into teams of three players each. Place a ball in the middle of each group. The students must follow your commands, in a style similar to ‘Simon Says’. Call out commands to the class, such as “Touch your head” or “Hop on one foot”. When the teacher says “Grab the ball”, the students must try to be the first to grab the ball in the centre of their circle. The first student to grab the ball wins the game.

Octopus

Equipment: Four cones to make 10m x 20m square and two colour bands for the taggers

Description: Pick two students to be the sharks. They are then given a colour band each. Their job is to try and tag the other students (fish) when they run past. The students who are not sharks are called fish, and they all start at one end of the court and run to the other end trying not to be tagged by the sharks. If a student is tagged they become an octopus and have to stand where they were tagged. They can pivot on one foot and try and tag the fish as they run past. The fish are also out if they run outside of the playing area. Keep playing until you have a winner.