"Ice Floe" Games

A simple seasonal variant on "Musical Chairs."

EQUIPMENT : sheets of newspaper - one fewer than the number of people playing the game. Music - something suitably wintry or Christmassy, either live (e.g.. a pianist) or on tape / CD, plus the means to play it.

You need at least two people to supervise and preferably more, one to take charge of the music and one to supervise the game.

Spread the sheets of paper, opened out, all round the floor , as widely spaced as possible. Play as in any other "musical chairs / mats" game : the players move round to the music while it is playing; when it stops they must stand on the nearest sheet of newspaper (only one "penguin" per "ice floe!") The person without an ice floe is out and can help referee, especially in the later stages of the game.

When the music starts again, remove one sheet and then everyone has to fold or tear their sheet of paper in half and lay it out flat again, then continue as before, the "ice floes" shrinking and the numbers decreasing each round. As the "floes" get smaller and smaller, be very strict - any penguin which falls off its ice floe before the music restarts is also out (remove an extra sheet for each person out.)

The winner, obviously, is the last one left on an ice-floe!

A team ice-floe game :

Again, issue newspaper "ice floes, " this time one per patrol or six. At a given signal, all members of the patrol have to stand on the sheet of paper. (Easy at first!)

Fold the paper in half and again, everyone has to stand on it.

Continue, folding the paper in half each time - as it gets smaller, it becomes more difficult but to succeed, every member of the patrol / six must be on the sheet. If someone falls off or touches the floor when they are supposed to be on the "ice floe" the whole patrol / six is out.

The winning team is the one who can get all their patrol / six on the smallest ice-floe (it is physically impossible to fold a piece of paper more than seven times, but don't worry, they'll be out long before then!)


Snowball Game

An indoor Snowball Fight!

Divide the girls into two teams and provide each team with a pile of newspapers, preferably tabloid size. (NOTE - count the pages first - each team needs the same number of pages) and a couple of buckets, boxes or similar containers (these don't necessarily need to be the same size.)

Mark off a line at each end of the hall a short distance away from the back wall, or you could consider letting the teams build a barricade of chairs etc., it all depends on your particular circumstances. Send the teams to the opposite ends of the hall with their newspapers and buckets.

On a given signal, the teams should begin to prepare their ammunition : tear the tabloid sheets (Express, Mail, Sun - that sort of size) into two separate pages (broadsheets e.g. the Guardian, Times etc.. are better torn in 4 pieces) and crumple each sheet tightly to form a "snowball," and place in one of the buckets or boxes for use.

When all the newspapers (give them plenty!) are turned into snowballs, the teams can commence firing at their opponents. They can use any snowballs which come in from the opposing team, but these MUST cross their defence line, they can't go out and retrieve any shortfalls. They also can't start to fire back until they have made all their newspapers into snowballs themselves.

Play until the point of boredom, or time runs out, or for a set length of time : if you must have a winner, the losing team is the one which, when the final whistle blows, has the MOST snowballs behind its lines. (They will soon realise it pays to make their snowballs well in the first place, as they will fly further and better and can be aimed more accurately. )

Rudolph's Reindeer Game

Remember the line in the song where "They wouldn't let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games?" Well, here's a game EVERYONE can join in!!

All you need is a large group of willing players and plenty of space - ideal for the average Guide Hut, Village or Church Hall.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED : one large plastic hoop (or similar) per group/patrol/six. LOTS of "toys" or toy substitutes - bean bags, small balls, quoits - ANYTHING - you could even use potatoes at a push!

TO PLAY : Divide the players into teams of "reindeer" - either into sixes, patrols or random groups, all with the same number of players in the team if possible. Each team has to have a "sack" for the "toys" - this is where you place the hoops in the corners of the room and possibly midway down the long sides if your hall is the typical rectangle and you have six teams. Share the toys put equally between all the sacks - it doesn't matter who gets what, because it isn't going to stay like that for long!

The teams of reindeer have to steal "toys" from the other reindeers' "sacks" - one at a time, and from all the other team's "sacks," and place them back in their own team's "sack." Start on a whistle or call "GO!" and play for a set length of time. The winning team is the one which has the most "toys" in their sack at the end of the playing period.

RULES : Only one "toy" to be taken on each raid, and only one "sack" to be raided - stolen goods must be returned to the team's home sack before going for another "toy." No individual member of a team can take from the same sack in consecutive raids - they must go for another sack (this stops teams from simply raiding the ones nearest them. No defending your sack or obstructing other players! You can "steal back" toys but only once they have been placed in a sack. Toys which don't stay in the sack (e.g. bounce out, miss if thrown) have to be retrieved and placed in the sack by the person who threw them /missed the sack - it is best to place them in, not throw them, as otherwise time is wasted getting them back!

WARNING : this gets very noisy and chaotic, so don't play for too long, and have plenty of adults and/or YLs on hand to supervise/referee!

Downloads for all these games can be found on Dianne's Christmas Resources site