Tag Archives: practice

Just a Massive List of Circle Games

Over the summer break, students and teachers alike seem to get very bored, many finding themselves a summer job to get themselves through, and earn that extra cash. This summer I have been working with a great summer camp, teaching children sports and playing games, but there was a time I was asked to play circle games for quite a long session and the other coach said to me “I hope your circle game knowledge is on point”. Guess what I did… I drew a blank and played the basics… Not great.


I’ve never really known if being a super planner who likes to have everything planned out before potentially having to adapt is a great thing or a curse, but that one day made me come home and create a big massive list of circle games and how to play them for myself and all the other coaches to check out. Little did I know that I knew so many… Anyway, I thought I would share them on here for everyone else, so no one else draws a blank and so everyone else can jazz up their circle sessions, P.E. warm-ups or downtime.


Also, if anyone has any more, I would love to add them to my list, so pop them in the comments!




  • Everyone starts sitting down with 2 legs out straight
  • Going around the circle, children count saying either one or two numbers at a time
  • If you have to say the number 21, you lose a leg
  • If you lose a leg, you can only say one number from that point
  • If you lose both legs, you need to do a forfeit, then you can re-join the game with both lives

Beat the Ball

  • A soft ball starts on one individual
  • The child passes it to the person next to them and then has to run around the circle in the same direction
  • As the child runs, the ball has to be passes around the circle as quickly as possible
  • If the ball gets back to the start before the child, the child either:
    • Loses a life
    • Does a forfeit
    • Has to go in “the soup” until someone else doesn’t beat the ball
  • If the child gets back before the ball, the game continues with the next person in the circle

Duck duck goose

  • One person chosen to be “it”
  • This person goes around the circle tapping each child’s head
  • As they tap heads, they say either duck or goose
  • If child says “goose”, they both have to run around the circle, the person who was sitting has to try and catch “it”
  • If caught
    • Enter “the soup” until someone else is caught
    • Do a forfeit
  • Goose become “it” regardless of catching prior “it”

Shoe Shuffle (for big groups)

  • One person chosen to be in the middle and close their eyes
  • Everyone takes off one of their shoes and puts them somewhere in the middle of the circle and finds a new place to sit
  • Coach calls for person in the middle to open their eyes
  • Countdown from 20 (change the number depending on size of group)
  • Person in the middle has to return the shoes to their owners in the time frame
  • If they don’t manage, they need to do a forfeit (e.g. smell a shoe)

Giants Keys/Treasure

  • Requires something jingly
  • Someone in the middle of the circle – the giant – with the keys behind them
  • Giant “goes to sleep” – curls up with head facing the floor, eyes closed
  • Coach picks a child to be the thief
  • Thief has to pick up the keys and take them back to their space preventing the keys from giving away where they are sitting
  • Once thief has returned, all children need to sit with their hands behind their back
  • Everyone shouts “WAKEY WAKEY GIANT”
  • Giant has 3 guesses to guess who the thief is
  • Once either the giant has used their three guesses or has guessed correctly, the thief turns into the giant

Button Button

  • One child covers their eyes in the centre of the circle
  • Children in the circle have to pass the small object around the circle until the person in the middle shouts “button button, where is my button” or equivalent for the object being used
  • The person in the middle then uncovers their eyes and has three guesses to guess who has the object
  • Once all guesses have been used or the person is guessed, they then get to be in the centre of the circle

Buzz – Buzz Fizz

  • Maths game – Children need to have understanding of counting in 2s, 5s, 10s etc
  • Children go around the circle counting
  • If you have to say a number which is a factor of 5, you say “buzz”
  • To progress, you can use other factors, e.g. every 2 is fizz
    • So that would make 10 a buzz-fizz
  • Use other interesting words for more factors
  • If someone says a number or forgets one of the words, give them a forfeit

Wink Murder

  • Someone is chosen to be the detective, they stand against a wall until the coach has chosen a person to be the murderer
  • Once the murderer has been chosen, everyone calls “detective, dectective, there’s been a murder”
  • The detective re-joins the group and has to guess who the murderer is
  • While the dectective is working it out, the murderer must slyly wink at other children
  • If the murderer winks at you, you must perform a very dramatic death
  • The detective has 3 guesses to work out who the murderer is
  • Once guesses are used or they have guessed correctly, the murderer become the dectective

Gorilla’s snot

  • Can be used with a ball or hands – this example will use a ball
  • Ball is passed around the circle whilst singing
  • “Down in the jungle where nobody goes, there’s a great big gorilla picking his nose, he picks it, he flicks it, where does it go? Who’s gonna get that, who’s gonna get that, who’s gonna get that slimey snot”
  • Once the song is finished, whoever has the ball has to go into the middle of the circle while everyone shouts “monkey in the middle, monkey in the middle” and they do their best monkey impression
    • For new groups or shy groups, coaches can do monkey impressions with them, or have multiple balls going around the circle so more people are doing monkey impressions together
  • To play without a ball, start with everyone touching hands, as the snot is passed, clap the hand of the person next to you, they clap their hands together then clap the hand of the person next to them

ABC List

  • Coach chooses a subject
  • Go around the circle with each person choosing a word that fits the subject
  • Each word must fit alphabetically
  • g. Food
    • A – Apple
    • B- Burger
    • C – Carrot
  • If you can’t think of a word in time or your word doesn’t fit the alphabet/subject, do a forfeit (most likely on Q or X)

Hoop Chain

  • Everyone stands up in the circle and holds hands
  • The challenge is to pass the hoola-hoop all the way around the circle without breaking the chain (letting go of hands)
  • This can be made more difficult by sitting down, turning to face outside the circle, closing eyes etc

Time Bomb

  • Everyone starts with 3 lives
  • The ball is passes to anyone in the circle (like hot potato)
  • If someone drops the ball or doesn’t catch the ball, everyone starts counting down from 10
  • When counting down, everyone has to run away from the person with the ball
  • The person with the ball has 10 seconds to hit someone else with the ball
  • If you are hit during the ten seconds, you need to try hit someone
  • Whoever is the last to be hit in the 10 seconds loses a life
  • Try finish the game before anyone loses all their lives or find an alternative thing to be done if all lives are lost so that all children can participate at all times (e.g. if you lose all your lives, you have to do a chicken dance, then join in again)

In my suitcase I have…

  • Sitting in the circle, the first person would say something along the lines of “in my suitcase, I have a swimsuit”
  • The next person would then repeat what the first person said, then add their own item, e.g. In my suitcase I have a swimsuit and suncream”
  • This continues around the circle with each child repeating the list of items in the suitcase and adding their own
  • Keep going until someone slips up or misses one
  • This is good for everyone’s memory, including the coaches
  • If someone slips up, choose something silly for them to do, then let them start the next round


  • One person in the middle (can be coach)
  • Everyone stands with their hands pointing like a gun (I like to call it the slimeblaster or jelly shooter)
  • Person in the middle will point their “slimebalster” at someone and shout splat
  • Whoever they have splatted must crouch down as quickly as possible to avoid the slime and the people either side of that person must splat eachother
    • If person splatted doesn’t sit down, they have been splatted and must become a judge
  • The slowest person must sit down – they can become judges to consider who splats quickest
  • Keep doing this until 2 people are left
    • Get the two people back-to-back
    • Every time you say a word, they must take a step forward
    • If you say splat, they must try splat the other person the quickest
    • If you splat early, the other person wins
    • The quickest person to splat wins
  • When playing, the child must say the word splat as they splat as that is the only way the slime or jelly can be released

Song Tag

  • Someone starts in the middle and sings a song
  • Anyone else can go to the middle at any time to knock the person out, but they need to sing a song that is related to the song being sung
    • 1st song – Old MacDonald – animals
    • 2nd Song – Mary had a little lamb
    • 3rd song baa baa black sheep
  • Songs can be chart songs or nursery rhymes, whatever the children come up with
  • The aim is to have the songs relating on, however just let them have fun, it doesn’t matter if they don’t actually relate


  • Coach chooses a child to start
  • Coach tells the group the theme then whispers something relating to that theme in the child’s ear (e.g. sports theme, tennis)
  • Child acts out the thing whispered to them
  • The first person to guess right gets to have a turn acting out

Chinese Whispers

  • One person starts by whispering a sentence to the person next to them
  • The sentence is passed around the circle until it gets to the person before the person who started the whisper
    • Repeating what you said is not allowed
  • The last person has to say out loud what they think they heard
  • This becomes funny as children mishear or make up bits of the sentence when they don’t hear properly

Elephant ball

  • Everyone stands in the circle with their feet touching but their legs open minimum of two ball sizes apart
  • A ball is put into the circle and children pass the ball to eachother by rolling it with their trunks (hands)
  • If the ball goes through your legs, you have to go get it, bring it back to the circle and you have to put one arm behind your back, leaving only one arm to hit the ball
  • If the ball goes through your legs again, you need to turn around and use both arms again but through your legs
  • If the ball goes through again, lose an arm
  • Again and you are “out” – but no one is ever out, so find an alternative, something silly or a lap of the circle etc