15 Group Games for Kids

If there’s one thing kids love, it’s games. Running around with friends, squealing with excitement when they win — it’s easy to see why kids are always ready to play fun games. And there are plenty of benefits: playing games with a group can build a child’s confidence, sharpen their problem-solving skills and improve their overall physical and mental health.  

There are always classic games such as hide and seek and red light green light, but sometimes you need to change things up and try a different game. To help you out, we have a list of kid group games for elementary-aged children that are perfect for large and small groups.

Bob the Weasel

Items Needed: Small object that can fit in a child’s hand like a bouncy ball or paper clip
Setup: Kids sit or stand in a circle
How to Play: Another classic circle game, “Bob the Weasel” involves passing a small object around in secret. Have one child stand in the middle of the circle to be “Bob the Weasel.” Tell the kids to put their hands behind their back and, as discreetly as possible, pass the object without arousing “Bob’s” attention. If “Bob” can correctly guess which child has the object, that child is the new “Bob.”

Three Things Theater

Items Needed: Several random items (optional)
Setup: None
How to Play: Improve kids’ creativity and public speaking with this fast-paced performance game. Pick three kids from a group and give them three minutes to come up with a short skit or song using three “props” from the room you’re in. You’ll be amazed at their creativity and ingenuity. Once their skit is over, have them pick three more kids to repeat the process. 

What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?

Items Needed: None
Setup: None
How to Play: Help little kids improve their counting skills with this game. One player is “Mr. Wolf” and must turn his/her back to the rest of the players, who will stand in a line several yards behind. The players should yell “What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?” and “Mr. Wolf” will call out a time. Whatever time the wolf calls out is the same number of steps the kids must take. Then the players ask the time again.

The object of the game is to be the first to tag “Mr. Wolf” but watch out — the wolf may answer with “Dinner time!” and then turn around and attempt to tag the players before they make it back to their starting spot. Whichever player the wolf tags is the new Mr. Wolf. 

Steal the Bacon

Items Needed: small, easy-to-grab objects (probably not actual bacon — that could get messy). We recommend tennis balls, pieces of chalk, small stuffed animals or even crumpled up pieces of paper.
Setup: Divide your group into two teams and give each child a number that corresponds with a number on the other team. For example, if you have two groups of five kids, there should be a number one on each team, a number two on each team and so forth.
How to Play: Place one of your chosen objects in the center between the two teams and randomly call out a number. The two children with that number should then run and try to quickly grab the object in the center before the other child does. Repeat the process for every number at random, and see which team ends up with the most objects. That team is the winner.

Catch the Dragon’s Tail

Items Needed: None
Setup: Have kids line up single file and place their hands on the shoulders of the child in front of them.
How to Play: The child in front is the dragon’s head and the child at the end is the dragon’s tail. The dragon’s head must attempt to catch the dragon’s tail — while bringing the rest of the dragon’s body along. Tell the kids not to let the line break! Once the head catches the tail, the tail player becomes the head and everyone moves back one spot in line. 

Blind Man’s Bluff

Items Needed: blindfold
Setup: All you’ll need for this classic game is a blindfold and plenty of open space to run around.
How to Play: Choose one child to be “It” and blindfold him or her, making sure it’s impossible to see. Then spin the child around several times and tell him or her to try to tag a friend. Instruct the other kids to yell to the child who’s “it” so they can follow their friends’ voices. Whoever the child tags gets blindfolded next.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Items Needed: NoneSet Up: Kids sit in a circle

How to Play The classics have stood the test of time for a reason. This iconic game involves kids sitting in a circle while one child walks around tapping each child on the head while saying “duck.” Eventually, the child will choose someone as the “goose” at which point the “goose” stands up and tries to tag the runner before he/she gets back to the “goose’s” spot. Fun fact: in Minnesota the “goose” is replaced by “gray duck” and each other “duck” in the circle gets a colorful name (i.e. “red duck,” “blue duck” etc.) 

Look Up, Look Down

Items Needed: None
Setup: Have players stand in a circle 
How to Play: Instruct all the players to look down. Shortly after, yell “Look up!” and tell the kids to look at another person in the circle. If two children look at each other they must scream and leave the circle. Now have the circle get smaller and tell everyone to “Look down,” and the game begins again. The last person who doesn’t have anyone looking at him/her is the winner. 

Keep it Up

Items Needed: a ball or balloon
Setup: None
How to Play: There are lots of name variations to this game but the object is simple - keep a ball (or balloon) from touching the ground. Have the kids keep count and shout out the next number each time they smack the ball into the air. Tell them to try to break their record each round! 

Snake in the Gutter

Items Needed: None
Setup: Split the group of kids in half
How to Play: A fun variation of “Red Rover,” this game is perfect to play outdoors on a nice day. Have several kids stand next to each other and join hands. Then instruct the other group to try to sneak through the gutter by running under the other kids’ arms without touching them. If they touch the “snakes,” they must join them by holding hands with the person at the end of the line. 


Items Needed: None
Setup: Kids stand in a circle
How to Play:  No space for running? No problem. Kids can still practice their counting — and attention span — with this quick and easy game. Ask a player to start counting at one and go around the circle. The twist is whenever a player gets to the number seven or a multiple of seven, he or she must yell “BUZZ!” If a player forgets to yell “buzz” (or loses his/her place when counting), that player is out of the game. 

All Over

Items Needed: For this game, you’ll need lots of beach balls, playground balls or other lightweight balls.
Setup: Divide the kids into two teams and give each team an equal number of balls. Then draw a line across the middle of the playing area to show which “territories” belong to each team.
How to Play: Once the whistle blows or the timer starts, kids should try to push, roll or toss as many of their balls as possible onto the other team’s side of the line. If one team manages to get all their balls across, they should all yell “All over!” If neither team can get all their balls across, you can set a timer and see who has the fewest number of balls on their side after one minute. 

Freeze Tag

Items Needed: None
Setup: You’ll need enough room to run around in this game
How to Play: One child is “it” and must attempt to tag the other players and “freeze” them. Once frozen, players can’t move again until another player crawls between their legs to “unfreeze” them. You can change up the game by making different rules for how to “unfreeze” players such as giving a high five, making a funny face or doing a secret handshake.

The Walrus Game

Items Needed: None
Setup: None
How to Play: Good for older elementary-aged kids, this guessing game requires players to put on their thinking caps in between bouts of giggling. Choose one child to be “it” and send him or her out of the room. Then have the remainder of the kids think of an activity such as eating, dancing, or brushing their teeth. Replace that activity with a silly word like “walrus.” When the child who’s “it” comes back in the room, he or she should ask questions to try to figure out the secret activity. For example, he could ask “Do you do this activity every day?” and the kids could answer “Yes, I walrus every morning and evening.” Remind the kids not to say the secret activity and to always replace it with the silly word they chose. 

Flower Finding

Items Needed: None
Setup: Have two children stand facing each other with their hands clasped and raised above their heads.
How to Play: The other children should walk under the “roof” the other two created while singing “We’re seeking a daisy, daisy, daisy … we’re seeking a daisy and we’ve found one HERE!” When they say “here,” they should bring their hands down quickly and “catch” whichever child is walking underneath. That child takes the place of one of the original two catchers and comes up with another flower to sing about while trying to catch the next playmate. You can also substitute colors, animals, sports teams or any other category for flowers. 

Whether you’re playing outside, in a gym, in a rec room or at school, these fun group games for children are sure to create fun memories they will cherish — and they’ll want to play again and again. Looking for some additional games for groups? Check out some of these additional resources:

25 Party Games for Kids

25 Minute to Win It Games 

30 Gym Class Games 

25 Best Board Games for Parties

Sarah Pryor is a journalist, wife, mom and Auburn football fan living in Charlotte, N.C.