Posted by on July 22, 2015

A few of my favorite activities from Escapades.

Not every activity in the box interests me, but plenty of the choices do.

Here are a few of my favorites to share with you; one activity from each category. The last listed categories here, Cooperative Group Games and Cooperative Challenges list a few extra for my own reference. Enjoy ~ (ordering through this link does support PUSH Pins)

Relays & Tag

Balloon Waddle  Check out our Waddle like a Penguin post.

As written on the instruction card:

Equipment: Inflated balloon for each participant.

The instruction reader has the participants line up and asks each one to place a balloon between their thighs and to follow him or her on a hike without loosing the balloon.

The instruction reader may slow down or speed up depending on how well the group keeps the balloons in place. If a balloon is dropped the instruction reader should stop the entire group and restart the activity (Note from Heather: not if the kids are young and would be frustrated with stopping and restarting). 

Note: This activity can be done as a relay activity with teams as well. It is helpful to discuss at the close of the activity how people felt during the ‘waddle’ to get at issues of how important it is to make fun of ourselves sometimes. (note from Heather: Use balloons hung as party decor for games, and have kids take them. The fun continues that evening at home.)

Artful & Food, Foil & Fabric

Foiled Again!  

As written on the instruction card:

Equipment: Roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil, scissors and cellophane tape.

  Students will really be able to get into this activity as they mold full-scaled portraits of each other with aluminum foil.


1. Before the players begin, cut two sheets of foil about five feet long for each player.

2. Separate the people into pairs. Each player should tape the two sheets of foil together in order to have a sheet large enough to cover a single person.

3. One player of each pair lies on the floor. The other player places the sheet over his/her supine partner, slowly molding the foil around arms, legs, torso and head. Extra care should be given when molding around the head to avoid hurting the person under the foil. (Note from Heather: have partner, close his/her eyes)

4. Foil is lifted off very carefully. Excess foil can be trimmed away with scissors. Scraps should be saved for future foil sculptures.

5. Foil figures can be hung with the string from the ceiling or tacked directly to the wall. Try molding several into a three-headed, six-legged, six-armed monster. Foil figures add a glamorous gallery of glittering ghosts to gloomy rooms.

*See Creature Creations

Words, Tales & Numbers


Scroll down our Story Starters page for game recommendations.

As written on the instruction card:


1. Players can be seated as is or on the floor in a circle with their legs crossed. The first player must describe an everyday situation in a simple way. For example, “My shoes are muddy.”

2. The next person must tell the reason why. For example, “Because it’s raining outside.”

3. The third player must figure out a probable effect. For example, “And my footprints are all over the floor.”

4. The next player begins again with a simple description and the game follows with the next two responses. Encourage the players to state cause and effect rapidly and not to worry about coming up with the best answer, the key is spontaneity.


Change It

As written on the instruction card:

This is a good activity to develop conceptual skills. Have the people sit in a circle. You may want to demonstrate how this activity is played. The people should be encouraged to be as creative and imaginative as possible. A box, chair or some other fairly substantive object should be set in the center of the circle. Each person is asked to use that object to represent something else, e.g., a TV set, booth, a sauna The rest of the people must guess the object being mimed.


1. Have students divide into pairs, so they can work on an      object mime themselves.

2. Put restrictions on what the object can represent, e.g.,           only things that are alive.

*Nice compliment to this activity: the books, Not a Box and Not a Stick


Sound & Movement 

Walk My Walk & Double Walks Plus 

As written on the instruction card:

Start by having the participants practice a “doublewalk,” where one person stands close behind the other and they walk together. With a little practice and some appropriate communication, pairs will be able to walk briskly, turn right and left, stop and start smoothly and be in harmonious movement.

Increase the complexity of the task by having the group work in threes or fours and try to advance to the point where the whole group can walk in harmony, making turns and staying on track.

Note from Heather: I use a similar exercise in our residency for the 5th grade ‘Light’ Unit. This is fun for a ‘shadows’ movement activity.

Walk My Walk

Close observation will reveal that no two people walk in the same manner. This game investigates all walks of life.

1. Have the players stand in a circle with plenty of space in the middle; discuss the many ways people walk. For example, a spy might creep along on tiptoes while a fashion model walks with a studied, erect posture.

2. The players select a role with a specific kind of walk. Some ideas are: tightrope walker, astronaut on the moon, window washer on the a ledge, infant learning to walk, old person, body builder, marching soldier, circus clown, explorer at the North Pole.

3. Each player walks across the circle several times as the people try to guess their identity. When someone guesses correctly everyone imitates the walk, then forms into a circle again to watch another walk.

Mysteries, Puzzles & Quiet Games

Dot’s Dot

As written on the instruction card:

Equipment: A sheet of standard-sized blank paper and a pencil for each player.

If you’ve ever completed a dot-to-dot drawing, you realize that there is usually only one solution. In this version, absolutely no one knows what the picture will be! The only solution is in the imagination of the player.


1. Keep everyone seated in the usual places. Give a sheet of paper and a pencil to each player.

2. Have each player cover the surface of the paper with twenty to thirty dots. Make sure that the dots are large and easy to see. They should be scattered randomly over the paper.

3. Each player passes his or her paper to a neighbor.

4. Tell the players to look hard at the dots to see if they can imagine pictures and then connect the dots so that the picture emerges.

This isn’t as easy as it seems. Sometimes turning the paper in different directions is helpful. Encourage far-out solutions to this perplexing problem.

After the dots have been connected and drawings are complete, have each player exhibit his or her drawing.

Tradition with a Twist

Balloon Soccer

As written on the instruction card:

Equipment: Twelve balloons (or more if you like), two pins.

Traditional outdoor games that are too vigorous for indoor play can be adapted simply by changing equipment and altering the rules a bit. After you’ve played this version of soccer, ask players to think of ways other games might be changed in order to be played safely indoors.

Directions: All the players sit in rows evenly spaced throughout the room. Two goalies sit at opposite corners of the room. Both goalies have pushpins, safety pins or other instruments that will break balloons.

The rest of the group is divided into two teams by counting off. To begin, the instruction reader drops an inflated balloon in the center of the room. Each team tries to hit the balloon to it’s goalie who remains in a corner. The goalie who gets the balloon and pops it scores a point for the team The game is also fun without keeping score. There is a great deal of status in being a balloon-popping goalie.

Note from Heather: Pick-up soccer games have become an expected activity at our summer children’s camp. This is a good idea for rainy days. We can bring the game inside. We will not be supplying goalies with pins though. Yeep! We will collect the balloons, then at the end of the game, give them to the younger campers to play with.

Cooperative Group Games #1


As written on the instruction card:

This is a simple but fun game to get a group warmed up and to begin interacting with each other.

There are many ways to line up a group, here are a few and I’m sure you can think of more!

1. Line up by age: This can be done by having everyone verbally share the year they were born and line up from the youngest to the oldest. Other variations are to communicate this non-verbally and an additional twist would be adding blindfolds.

2. Line up by height: Without talking the group is to line up by height from shortest to tallest. You may time them to add drama. Tell them the world record is twenty seconds. Note from Heather: Is that true? Because your participants WILL ask. I’m going to lead this at our family reunion. I laugh in the face of chaos.

3. Another variation is to add blindfolds.

Now you have them in a line, introduce a new game where people start in a line!

Cooperative Group Games #2

Lap Sit, Step Touch Clap 

As written on the instruction card:

A group of players form a tight circle, standing shoulder to shoulder. Everyone turns to their right (or left). Each person holds the waist of the one directly in front of them, everyone takes one side step toward the center of the circle to tighten it. The players then try to sit on the knees (not the thighs) of the the player behind them) creating a sitting circle.

The real fun of the game starts after the sitting circle has been formed by using a variety of collective actions suggested and attempted by the players: holding arms out to the side, clapping three times, touching the ground outside the circle, taking three steps backwards. This last task usually leaves the entire group in a cheerful heap on the floor. It is possible to get whole schools in a singe circle, but the stepping challenge becomes much more difficult. Regardless of who wins, the players or gravity, it’s a wonderful way to bring a group together to end a session.

Extreme ‘Lap Sit’. Photo credit: Angela Joy Johnson

Cooperative Group Games #3

Back Riding

As written on the instruction card:

Ask five people to get down on their hands and knees. They are to position themselves right next to each other in a straight line, forming a platform in which the lucky volunteer can lie down on with their eyes closed.

When everyone is ready, the supporting back rocks gently back and forth in a gentle rhythm. The volunteer may choose how to lie on their platform. Of course eveyone should get an pportunity for a ride.


1. Have the supporting backs move their own spines up and down gently as this will create a nice massage for the rider.

2. Ask the group to find an interesting method to get the rider off of the human platform, e.g., the group lies flat so that the rider can roll off.

Cooperative Group Games #4

Group Juggle

As written on the instruction card:

Equipment: Soft materials: lightweight balls, rolled up socks, bean bags.

Have everyone stand in a circle. The instruction reader explains that the group will learn how to juggle as a unit. First a pattern/throwing routine must be established. The instruction reader throws the same object to another person (preferably across the circle). Then that person throws the object to another person (someone not directly next to the thrower).

Once someone has received and thrown the object they raise their hand. Everyone must receive and throw the object one time. The initial thrower/instruction reader is the last person to receive the ball, thus completing the pattern.

The next step is to increase a ball with each pattern repetition. You can, if the group is good, juggle as many balls as there are players.

Balls tend to fly every which direction, chaos and bedlam are often the result of this fun and challenging juggle. Continued practice will yield a great juggling team.

Cooperative Challenges #1

Back Up  

As written on the instruction card:

Equipment: You may want to provide mats if done indoors.

The instruction reader needs to get the group in pairs. The instruction reader may want to try to pair people up who are similar in size for this activity to make it a bit easier.

Once the group is in pairs the instruction reader needs to ask them all to whisper something private about themselves to their partner while standing back to back. (Note from Heather: maybe in an appropriate setting. Not necessary as part of the exercise.) Next ask each pair to sit back to back on the mat or the grass and try to stand as a pair.

Please caution the pairs not to interlock arms, this could cause shoulder dislocation. Once each pair has gotten up by using his/her partners back, ask them to stand back to back again and discuss how the activity worked.

Once each pair has done this ask them to turn and face each other and discuss the activity.

Note: The instruction reader should ask each pair which way they felt more comfortable communicating and why.

Note from Heather: After going from sitting to standing, reverse the exercise. Go from standing to sitting. “Use your weight to support the structure.” “Use your weight to support each other.” 

Cooperative Challenges #2

Pinwheel Push Up  

As written on the instruction card:

Equipment: Mats or soft grass.

The instruction reader has four people lie down on the grass or mat with their hands placed on top of each others’ hands. The participants must move together to the left or to the right in a smooth rhythm in a sort of rocking motion.

To initiate the pinwheel all the participants must move together to the left or to the right in a smooth rhythm in a sort of rocking motion.

Note: The instruction reader can create as many pinwheels as participants available. It can be done with eight people if the group of eight is extremely cooperative.

Note from Heather: Start by asking the groups to raise their legs together. Then their arms. Then try to sit straight up without disconnecting arms. These are good to try before attempting to put the pinwheel into motion. 

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