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More cooperative games!

The following games have been excerpted from Everybody Wins 11, a new book by Everybody Wins author Jeffrey Sobel. Everybody Wins 11, an American Camping Association publication, will be available in February, 1994.

Five Changes Ages: All Formation: Partners Activity Level: Low Equipment: None

One of the underlying themes of cooperative play is acceptance of everyone...just the way we are. Players are often changed in a healthy direction, just by playing the games. But in this partner guessing game, players go through many changes -- and even exchanges ! Partners sit facing each other and decide who will be the guesser and who will be the dresser. In a moment, all the guessers will close their eyes, but before they do, they take a good look at their partner(s) -- the dressers. They carefully look them over to see what clothing they are wearing, if they have on glasses, a hat or watch, bow or barrette in their hair, etc. Guessers then close their eyes.

Dressers then make five changes to their appearance. They can roll up a sleeve or remove a ring, switch a watch to the opposite hand, take off their shoes or even socks! The changes are up to them. When they are finished, guessers are told to open their eyes and to try and guess all the changes that were made. If they have difficulty, clues can be given.


1. The number of changes does not have to be exactly five. Very young children can make a single change with three, four, six, or more changes being made by older, more adventurous players.

2. Partner Groups:

a. Two or more guessers can play with two or more dressers, who could make some of their changes -- ex.changes ! b. Partners can team-up with each other to play with and against another partner couple. Each couple changes together, then dresses and guesses the changes and exchanges made by the other couple.

c. Many partner couples or groups can play at the same time; dressers in different groups can make exchanges with each other.

3. Instead of closing their eyes, partners sit back-to-back when making changes. Both partners can change at the same time, perhaps, with their eyes closed! Then they can open their eyes and guess together.

Jamaquack Ages: Kindergarten+ Formation: Standing Circle Activity Level: Moderate Equipment: None

This is one of the funniest games you will ever play! A jarnacluack is a bird, I'm told, originally from Australia, which is now extinct. The reason for the extinction will become perfectly clear to everyone as they play the game.

To start, everyone stands in a circle, and the leader asks for a handful of very silly volunteers to sit in the center of the circle (see Helpful Hint #1). The game is then explained.

Players sitting in the center are jamaquacks. Players standing on the circle are now asked to hold hands, forming a fence or pen surrounding the jamaquacks. When the game finally begins, the leader will tap the hands of two circle players, who will release their held hands, forming an opening or door in the fence. The object of the game is for all the jamaquacks inside the fence to find their way through this door to freedom outside the jamaquack pen.

It is time to see the bird from which this game gets its name in action. The players sitting in the middle of the circle, who only a short time ago so willingly volunteered, now get the opportunity to move like jamaquacks! A jamaquack moves only backward, bent over, while always and forever quacking in its native tongue. And one more thing -- they can't see! As these players rise to their feet, they begin moving backward, bent over and holding their ankles while continually, "Quack! Quack! Quaek!"-ing; and don't forget, since they can't see, their eyes must be closed ! As they move in this most amazing way, one more dilemma soon develops. The leader taps the ends of two circle players who then release their held hands, forming an opening in the circle. As the jamaquacks begin searching for their freedom through this door, they will be backing into circle players. It is their job to, ever so delicately and discretely, push or nudge jamaquacks back into the circle with their hands, knees, feet, etc.

Now, when finally finding freedom on the other side of the fence, jamaquacks have one more job: to "Quack!" as loudly as possible to their fellow jamaquacks still trapped on the inside. As the call of "Jama-QuackQuack-Quack" fills the air, they will be led to their freedom one by one until, alas, the last lonely bird, bent over holding its ankles with eyes closed, moves to the rear quacking and is led by the sweet song of jama-quackery to safety. Do you see why they're extinct?

Helpful Hints:

1. Players chosen to be jamaquacks should know how silly and potentially embarrassing their actions will be. I usually start by asking for volunteers who are very, very silly, and who are not easily embarrassed.

2. Circle players should be reminded to nudge jamaquacks back into the center of the circle in gentle and appropriate ways.

Doe Doe Dee Dee Ages: Nursery School-Third Grade Formation: Circle Activity Level: Low Equipment: None

We all have our favorite games; this is mine. I never get tired of playing -- it offers the freedom and permission to be silly, to let go and laugh! Whether you're crazy about playing Doe Doe Dee Dee, or it drives you crazy, once you've played it, you'll never forget it ! To play, players sit in a circle with their legs crossed. Everyone chants the words, "Doe Doe Dee Dee," while following the leader, who initiates the following movements. Each movement is performed four times, corresponding to the four-rhythm beat of "Doe Doe Dee Dee":

1. Tap thighs and palms of hands (four times).

2. Cross arms and tap right thigh with left hand and left thigh with right hand.

3. Tap with both hands the legs of the player seated to the left (or right).

4. Tap with both hands the legs of the player seated on the other side.

5. With the right hand, hold your ear. With the left hand, hold your nose. While pulling down with the hands and nodding the head, chant, "Doe Doe Dee Dee."

6. With the right hand hold your nose. Cross the left hand over the right and hold your right ear while nodding and chanting.

7. The game ends with everyone rubbing their bellies and saying, "Yum Yum," and then falling backward while saying, "Whoops!"

Helpful Hints:

1. All of the above movements are performed four times, each corresponding to one of the four words in "Doe Doe Dee Dee."

2. Remind players when failing backward at the end of the game to be careful.

3. When I originally learned this game, the words "Doe Doe Dee Dee" were sung to the tune of "Old Man River." Singing to this or another tune makes it a lot more tolerable on the ears.

4. The beauty and hilarity of this game, for any age group, comes with the confusion of learning the movements while trying to keep up with the leader. Start slowly at first so players can follow. But especially with older players and adults, don't make it too easy. Half the fun is not keeping up! Then, with each new round, add a little speed, going faster and faster.


1. Starting with a little story can add fun and intrigue to the game. I shared with a group of four-year-old boys that this game originated long ago with some Native Americans. I told them I had heard they would chant these or other words before eating a meal.

2. Change the movements or even the words to suit your group. Other songs can be used, as well as tunes. Today, I add more silliness by starting with the following introduction: "Up, down, tickle, tickle, 1-2-34-5-67-8..." and then, "Doe Doe Dee Dee..." The accompanying motions are as follows: Raise hands up high; bring hands down low; place both hands under the armpits and tickle yourself. Then, while clapping the hands, everyone counts to eight. Then we go right into the game as it is described above.

3. This game is fun to play with everyone sitting underneath a parachute.

Group Juggle Ages: Second Grade+ Formation: Standing Circle Activity Level: Moderate Equipment: Tennis balls or any other soft balls such as beach balls, nerf balls, soccer balls, bean bags, etc.

Group juggle is a wonderful game for the first day of camp, as well as for orientations and even business meetings! It is a great ice-breaker and a fantastic way for people to get to know each other fast while learning names.

To set up the game everybody stands in a small circle with a few feet separating players who are next to each other. An order of sequence is then established in which a ball is going to travel, as it is tossed from player to player, within the circle. The ball always travels in the exact same order as it is tossed around the circle. Each player always throws the ball to the same person while calling that person's name.

To accomplish this, one player -- Katie -- starts by holding a ball. She calls (or asks) the name of another player and tosses the ball to him -- "Joey." Now Joey calls (or asks) the name of another player and tosses the ball to him -- "Josh.' Josh now calls (or asks) the name of another player and tosses the ball to him -- "Jonny." The ball is thrown from player to player, zig-zagging across the circle, until everyone has had it once. The last player who receives the ball calls the leader's name and tosses it to her -- "Katie!" -- completing the order:

Katie-Joey-Josh-Jonny (Jeff-Helen-George) and back to Katie again. We are now ready to play the game.

The ball is tossed around the circle in the same order. Each time Katie gets it, she simply tosses it to Joey, as it travels nonstop within the circle. Soon Katie is going to do something that is sure to add smiles and laughter to the game as well as put fear into everyone's heart -- she is going to add another ball! This ball will travel in the same exact order as the first ball. A third, forth, and even more balls can be added as well when players are ready -- or not! -- as everyone experiences the thrill of being a part of group juggle ! Variations:

1. Balls can be bounced, dribbled, rolled, lifted high into the air, etc., as they are thrown. Each ball can be specifically assigned a different way to be thrown by all players as well.

2. Figure 8 Group Juggle: two circles of players stand close to each other resembling a Figure 8. Each circle has its own order in which balls travel. One player in each circle is also designated to throw the ball to one player in the other circle who catches it. Balls travel within each circle before being tossed to the other circle. How about adding a few more circles?

Helpful Hints:

1. As confusing as it becomes, players do only two things during the game: throw balls to one other player while calling the player's name, and catch balls from one other player. That's it! The rest of the game, as well as the hysterical laughter and fun, follows naturally.

2. A good number to start with is about seven or eight players. More players can be added later.

3. When originally setting up the order, it's a good idea for players to raise a hand after they have received the ball. This simply indicates to the other players that they have already had a turn and not to throw the ball to them. When everyone's hand is raised, the ball is tossed back to the leader; when hands are lowered, the game can begin.

4. When first starting it's a good idea for players to toss the ball gently


5. In the midst of throwing, catching, missing, laughing and having a ball probably more than one -- everyone will probably need to be reminded to call player's names very loudly as they throw the balls.

6. When a ball is dropped or missed, it should be put back into action as quickly as possible. Any player, not necessarily the one missing it, can retrieve a ball and toss it to the player they throw to. Cooperative mistakes and "errors" are made -- but never recorded ! 7. Finally! It's not unusual for players to bend over to pick up a ball and, as they stand, see several others like missiles sailing in rapid-fire sequence directly toward them ! Everyone will truly be having a ball- followed by another...and another...and another...while juggle.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:children's games
Author:Sobel, Jeffrey
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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