All-Time Favourites
Games which require no equipment and will burn off a bit of steam....

Ladders ~ Captain's Coming ~ Beans ~ Traffic Lights ~ Teddy Bears ~ All Change

KEY : if modified, suitable for Rainbows suitable for Brownies
suitable for Guides still appeals to Rangers / SS!

Various attempts have been made to ban Ladders, but these come under "local rules" and are NOT officially sanctioned : Ladders is described on the official GirlguidingUK site so if it's OK for them....
The girls are divided into pairs and form two rows facing each other and sitting on the floor, legs outstretched towards each other with the soles of the feet of each pair touching (the rungs of the ladder) - each pair of girls needs to be at least a metre from the next pairs on either side. They must be told to keep their hands out of the way!
Each pair is given a name - these will depend on which version of the game you play:
Version 1 : story : you will need to be able to improvise a simple story as you go an example, name the pairs Old Woman, Old Man, cat, dog, rabbit, bird, etc.... any characters you like. Make sure the girls are clear about "who" they are ... as you tell the story, as each character's name occurs the girls with that name have to jump to their feet and race up the ladder (stepping over and between the other "rungs" and avoiding legs) to the "top" of the ladder, back round behind the backs of the seated girls to the "bottom" of the ladder then back over the remaining "rungs" to their original place. You can if you wish make it competitive by counting the two sides as teams and keeping score of who gets back to their place first each time. Keep the story rolling and the girls on the hop, you can make it as hectic as you like : "Once upon a time there was a little old woman ("Old Woman" pair leaps up and begins to run...) who lived with a little old man ("Old Man" pair leap up and also start to run .. let the Old Woman get back to their places before you set anyone else off running ...) and they had a cat....... and a dog....." and so on and so on. Don't have too many pairs running at once or chaos will ensue, and you can spring "repeats" on them so that just as they are sitting down they have to leap up again.... it is all down to your ingenuity. I have seen this used as a "teaching tool" where the story has been the history of Guiding and the characters Olave B-P, Agnes B-P, Lord B-P etc, but I'm not convinced that they learned a lot because they were all listening for their own characters' names and not really to the story itself.
Version 2 : words : if you don't want to risk your story-telling skills, you can give the pairs names of associated words (animals, etc.,) or similar words (to make them listen!)
and just call out the words at random; a slightly more sophisticated version of this is to use colours and call out things which are that colour - for example, call out "grass" and the pair named "green" should run; for "tomato," "red" should go, and so on.
WARNING : the reason so many local rules apply to Ladders is that it can get quite riotous if not carefully controlled, and girls can get stepped on (so check footwear) and end up in tears .... the watchwords are Care and Control.....!

Captain's Coming
The girls have to pretend they are on a ship and the leader calls out various instructions :

  • Climb the rigging : mime climbing action
  • Scrub the decks : mime, on hands and knees
  • Man overboard : mime swimming, ready for...
  • To the rescue! : girls form pairs and smaller one jumps up piggy-back on the bigger, anyone left over is out
  • Lifeboats - 2 (3, 4) to a boat : get into groups of the correct number, again, any left over are out
  • Port! : everyone runs to the left
  • Starboard! : everyone runs to the right - for both these, anyone who goes the wrong way is out (decide which wall is "port" and which "starboard" before you start, as the girls will be turned round in all directions!)
  • The Captain's wife : form pairs and shake hands - odd one is out again
  • Captain's coming! : girls line up and salute, last one in line is out.
Keep calling the instructions randomly and you will eventually be left with just one girl, who is therefore the winner.

A silly game with no purpose, no logical end, no winners.... it burns off steam and the girls love it!
More actions to call out and for the girls to perform : if you must, anyone who does the wrong action can be "out" or the last to perform the action, etc......

  • Jumping bean - jump up and down on the spot
  • String bean - lie down, making themselves as long and narrow as possible
  • Runner bean - run on the spot (or round the hall....)
  • French bean - hand on hip, wiggle and say "Ooh la la!"
  • Baked bean - lie flat out "sunbathing"
  • Broad bean - make themselves as "wide" as possible
The possibilities are endless.....

Traffic Lights
Divide the hall into three zones and name them "Red," "Amber" (or yellow) and "Green." Make sure the girls are clear as to which is which. Then simply call out the names of things which are any of these colours and the girls have to run into the appropriate zone - last one there, or anyone going to the wrong zone, is out.
Red : tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, pillar boxes (UK letter boxes), blood, holly berries, or any other examples you can think of.
Yellow : bananas, lemons, custard, canaries, sun, butter, etc.
Green : grass,
limes, cabbage, lettuce, peas, etc. etc. Be wary of saying "leaves" as they can go to all zones and still be right, similarly "apples!"

Teddy Bears
Divide the girls into threes - they have to sort themselves out into "Mummy Bear," "Daddy Bear" and "Baby Bear" for each three. Form a circle with the "babies" between their mummies and daddies. Call out randomly "Mummy Bear," "Daddy Bear" or "Baby Bear." For either Mummy or Daddy Bear, the respective girls drop backwards out of the circle and run round it clockwise and back to their places, last one back and their whole "family" is out. For "Baby Bear" the pairs of Mummies and Daddies form arches and all the babies have to run round the circle through all the arches and back to their places - no overtaking is possible so nobody is "out" on a "Baby Bear" round!

All Change
You will need to do a bit of simple arithmetic for this one first .... count the girls, subtract two, then arrange the rest into an approximate square : for example, if you have eighteen Guides it's easy - you will need four rows of four, plus the two others. (If you have fourteen, it will be a rectangle - three rows of four which will change - see later - to four rows of three. Set your rows according to the number of girls) Stand the girls in well-spaced rows (with enough room for someone to run between the rows easily) and have the girls in each row hold hands, standing as far apart from each other as they are from the rows in front and behind. The idea is for the two "extra" girls to chase - one is "it" and has to try and catch the other, who has to run between the rows but they can't cut through them (hence the linked hands.) From time to time the leader calls "change" and then the ROWS have to change - you will have to practise this first before you start the game! On the call of "Change" the girls in the rows release their hands and all turn 90° in the SAME DIRECTION and rejoin hands to create a new set of rows at right-angles to the previous rows, which may mean that the chaser has to revise her strategies and gives the chased a breather, or it may let the chaser catch the other girl, it depends where they are when the lines switch. (Sounds harder than it actually is!) The call of "All change" signals not only the turning of the rows but tells the girls doing the chasing that THEY have to change roles too, the chaser becoming the chased and vice versa! If the girl who is "it" catches her prey, choose another pair and carry on as before.

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