Games for all Sections

These are games that are played in New Zealand by guiding units (Pippins, Brownies, Guides and Rangers). There is no claim made (with the exception of the Sheep Game *grin*) that they are distinctively New Zealand games. We have divided them up by sections and have noted the sources where possible at the bottom of each segment. Many of the games included would easily adapt to other age groups.
The age range of girls in each of the NZ guiding sections can be found on the
NZ Section Page

Please feel free to use these games with your unit but they may not be copied for publication on the net or elsewhere without talking to us first.

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Pippin Games

Donkey Racing

This is a simple relay race. Divide the pippins into even teams of about 4-6 lined up in more or less straight lines. At the far end of the playing area place a high backed chair for each team. These should be opposite where they are lined up, with the seat facing towards the first player in each team. On "go" the first member of each team runs up to the chair, places her hands on the back of it, and kicks her legs in the air while saying "eyore" three times. She then runs the rest of the way around the chair and back to her team, and tags the next person who sets off to do the same thing. We usually go through each team twice. Children enjoy playing this with only one team as well, the competitive element isn't essential.

Duck, Duck, Goose

This is a very simple game which the children feel happy and confident to organise themselves and to teach others.

The pippins sit on the ground in a circle. The leader starts the game by choosing one child to walk around the outside. This child walks around touching each pippin on the head saying as she does so, "Duck".

When she decides, she touches a child but instead of saying "Duck" she says "Goose". The chosen child and the original pippin run around the circle in the opposite direction and the first one back to the hole sits down in the space while the other continues the game.


Spread around the garden or hall or some other chosen area are a number of any object of which you have plenty! Eg. clothespegs, corks, coloured plastic spoons....

The pippins are formed into groups of three or four and each group elects a "mother". Each group is given an animal name, a sound (cows=moo / sheep = baa / geese = hiss) and an object to collect.

The families run off and when they find a peg / cork / spoon they make their sound. Only the "mother" is allowed to collect the token and she puts this in her pippin pocket (of course! :) ). At the end the families get together and count their tokens. You might like to ask how many have more than say, six, without declaring an actual "winner". Variations can be chosen to suit the day and the theme.


You Will Need:
About 10 pieces of rope or twine of various lengths.
Music either on a tape or sung by obliging adults.

Start by having ten "islands" made of rope circles spread out on the deep blue sea (lawn or floor). The pippins dance to the music and each time it stops they have to climb onto an island to avoid being eaten by sharks or highjacked by submarines or... One rope island is moved each time and the fun of the game is at the end when 15 or more pippins are trying to fit onto one small island!

The Pippin Door

The unit forms into a circle with one child in the middle with her eyes closed. The pippins walk brisky around (or jump or dance) and chant:

"One and two and three and four
Who is at the pippin door?
One two three four, who is knocking at the door?"

When the leader decided (and the leader doesn't ALWAYS have to be the adult in the group), she points to a pippin who, in a disguised voice says, "hello" or "it's me" or whatever else she decides. If the pippin in the centre guesses who it is, she stays in for another turn - if she is wrong she changes places.

Pippin Games - sources

Games for New Zealand Pippins and Their Leaders - Guides New Zealand

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Brownie Games

Ball Game

Brownies stand in a circle and throw a soft ball across the circle to each other. Either have everyone call out the name of the one who receives it, or spell out words with each throw - BROWNIES, PROMISE, etc - with one letter spelled each time it is thrown, starting again at the beginning if the ball is dropped.


Draw a chalk hopscotch on yuor play area (or use a permanent marker on durable plastic or lay ropes). Make up cards with questions or instructions for each square - make sure there are some fun ones! - to answer or follow before moving on.

Use this game for any "discussion" topic eg. New Zealand Governor General and Prime Minister, guiding family, health, safety, provincial badges...
Depending upon the topic, you may need to vary the standard hopscotch shape. "Snakes and Ladders" can be used in a similar way.

Monster Memory (six activity)

Make a set of cards, each containing a description of one part of a monster, eg it has eight legs, it has a spiky tail... Spread the cards around the room. Tell a story about a monster who wants to come in but gets frightened off if it sees a picture of itself. Each six must appoint one girl as an artist. The rest take turns to go and look at a card and report verbally what it said. The artist must draw from the description. when all sixes have finished their drawing, arrange them and discuss the differences even though all started with the same information.

Great for extending communication skills.

Spread the Net

Two girls form a "net" by holding both hands. The rest are "fish". The net must be dropped over a fish's head to catch it - once caught that girl becomes part of the net. Last two fish caught become the next net.

For a fishing theme meeting; to introduce an international meeting featuring a country where fishing is an important part of life; at the beach after a fishing expedition.

Twins (six activity)

Fold a large piece of paper for each six into eight squares. On four squares place a leaf (or some other natural object). The six must search for identical objects.

Outdoor observation for all. A good activity for sixers to practice leadership skills.

Brownie Games - sources

Brownie Programme Menus - Guides New Zealand

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Guide Games

Dragon Tag

You Will Need:
a soft ball (so it doesn't hurt when people get hit!!!)

3 people make a chain one behind the other with their hands on waists. The other players stand in a circle around them. The aim is for the people in the circle to throw the ball tagging the last person in the dragon chain with it. That person, when tagged, drops off the chain and back into the circle. The person who threw the ball that tagged them joins the front of the chain and so on. The players quickly learn to throw the ball fast in order to catch the dragon off guard - the ball can move faster than the chain! You can make the chain up of 5 people if you have a large group.


You Will Need:
a blindfold

One person is a ship, another is a lighthouse. The ship is blindfolded. The lighthouse stands at the far end of the hall from the ship and emits a beeping noise to guide the ship safely into harbour. The other players are all rocks who make swishing noises _if_ the ship gets too close and is going to crash into them. The ship has to reach the lighthouse without crashing against the rocks by listening to the beeping and the swishing carefully.

This is a great game for co-operating and developing children's senses.

Pass It On Mime

The girls sit on the ground in a circle with their eyes closed. Work round the circle in order - calling one girl up to you to read a prepared slip of paper with an action described on it. She goes back to her place in the circle, taps the girl next to her on the shoulder and mimes the action on the slip she read. That girl taps the next in the circle and mimes what she was given to her and so on around the circle. Each girl should only mime the action once - it is up to the next girl to concentrate. Once the girls have mimed the action they can keep their eyes open and watch it change as it goes around the circle. The last person should try and guess what it was supposed to be. They hardly ever get it right! :) Then all close eyes and start again...

Hint: Don't force any girl to take a turn going first. After the first time you play this most of them will join in as they realise A) you don't have to be able to act and B) everyone makes a fool of themselves in this game!

The prepared slips of paper have things like:

It doesn't matter much what you put on them as long as you have an action, although it pays to start off simple and get harder as the girls get more experienced. The girls in our unit enjoy thinking these up - and come up with some fiendish ones! The game can be organised to fit in with most themes - and is particularly good as a discussion starter for a disabilities evening.

Sheep Tag (a real Kiwi game)

One guide is "it". When she tags people they have to lie on the ground on their back and wave their feet in the air whilst saying "baaaa baaaa" in a pitiful sheep voice. They can be freed by other players who, while skillfully evading "it", tag them on the leg and say "She'll be right Mate!"*. You will probably need to swap "it" after a predetermined amount of time, or set very narrow boundaries as it takes "it" a long time to catch everyone. If she does disable all the sheep the last one caught becomes "it" in her place. Brownies and Rangers love this too as it is silly enough to appeal - I've even taught it to and played it with select groups of adults!

*"She'll be right Mate!" is a Kiwi saying - an approximation would be "everything will come out in the wash!" or "It will all work out fine in the end". There is an attitude that goes with it of being almost manana, but not in the sense of being lazy. It implies being quite laid-back and relaxed about things, but getting the job done right in the end. Regardless of the gender of the person speaking it is always "She'll be right" - never he.

Wizards, Giants, Dwarfs

This is basically a co-operative version of paper, rock, scissors.
2 teams line up along opposite ends of hall. Each team huddles to choose which of the three characters they are going to be (ie. wizard, giant or dwarf). On "go" the teams advance in a long line (side by side) to their set line a couple of metres apart from the other teams set line and each make the gesture appropriate for their choice (ie. See character list below - if they were dwarfs they would make a tickling gesture). If their character beats the other teams they chase that team and catch the stragglers before they recross their team's safety line (where they started). Anyone caught joins the other team. If both teams choose the same thing (eg. both giants) both teams retreat and choose again.

Wizards zap giants (hands out as if pointing to cast a spell)
Giants squash dwarfs (hands up to make them tall)
Dwarfs tickle wizards (hands out tickling)

So Wizards beat giants who beat dwarfs who beat wizards in the same way that scissors beats paper which beats rock which beats scissors.

Guide Games - sources

This section is largely made up of games that we play in our unit (Northland Guides, Wellington). Some I inherited in either this or one of my previous units, some have come from trainings run by our wonderful provincial training teams, and some have come from games books whose names have been lost in the mists of time.

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Ranger Games

Balloon Debate

Five people are told that they are all in a balloon which is rapidly losing height and someone must be thrown out. After allowing them three minutes to collect their thoughts, each person is given one minute to make a speech telling why she should not be the one to be thrown out. At the end the audience decides who should go.

Jelly Beans

You Will Need:
Jelly beans - one of each flavour per girl
Copies of poem (optional)

The correct jelly bean flavours (in NZ) are:

If you think these flavours are wrong for your area you could write to the sweets manufacturer in advance of playing the game.

Place the jelly beans in a bowl and ask everyone to select one of each colour. If the group is small, go round the group and ask each person to identify what flavour each jelly bean is. If the group is large, break them into smaller groups and get each group to report, after discussion, what flavour they think each jelly bean is.

The jelly beans are not to be eaten.

It is very unusual for anyone to get all the correct flavours. When they have shared their answers tell them what the correct flavours are.

There are three obvious reasons why it is hard to guess the correct flavours of jelly beans:

Ask everyone to identify what category they fit into and tell the rest of the group.

Leader: As with jelly beans, we often lump people together and fail to recognise individuality. As each jelly bean is different, so too is each person different. When we say things like:
all women are...
all Asians are...
we miss out on the richness and diversity that exists among people.

You can eat the jelly beans when you have finished!! :)

Additional Note:
This little poem, which was contributed to ANZAGL, fits in wonderfully with this game!

In a bag of jelly beans you have many different jelly beans.
Each jelly bean has something special which makes it different from the others.
A bag of jelly beans wouldn't be as attractive if they were identical.
You don't know exactly what a jelly bean is like unless you taste it and see.
Jelly beans are just like people - you've got to get to know them.
Everyone brings something special and worthwhile to a group but it is not always evident on the outside.

Navigate the Grid

This activity/game explores the individual's inner (or "gut") feeling when faced with decision making, which is related to self-motivation. It was used in our unit by an ex-ranger (Amanda K.) who spent an evening with them covering self-motivation and the inner voice. The girls really enjoyed it and have played it many times since.

You Will Need:
A grid marked on the floor - about 10 squares by 10 squares. Each square should be the same size and large enough to have someone stand in it. (You could get an old sheet and paint the squares on it, that way you'll have it there every time you want to play the game.)
A piece of paper (or OHP acetate) with the same grid marked on it.

The Rules:
Only one person on the grid at a time.
Everyone in the group must successfully move from one end of the grid to the other, only once.

To Play the Game:
Have one person be "the beeper". This person marks some squares on the paper/acetate grid (colour them in or put an "X" in them). This person, of course, does not have to navigate the grid.
Each member of the group then takes a turn at moving from one end of the grid to the other, one square in any direction at a time.
When the person stands on a square which has been marked "the beeper" makes a "b-e-e-e-p" noise, and the person loses their turn.
Continue until all members of the group have successfully moved from one end of the grid to the other.

The Point:
It is a group task, the members of the group who have been observant or want the task to be achieved will begin to help those who keep getting "beeped" - but it is up to them whether to take the advice or not.
This can later be related to "life" and how we all have decisions to make and many of them are influenced by what others have to say - but the final decision is ours.

Pig Personality Profile

You Will Need:
Pencil and paper per player

On a blank piece of paper, draw a pig. Don't look at your neighbour's pigs. Don't even glance!

That is all the explanation that is needed, other information may lead them unnecessarily.

When the participants have finished, explain that the drawing of the pig serves as a useful test of the personality traits of the artist. If the pig is drawn:

You may want to edit out the last item when doing this with your girls - it depends on the group! :)

Poison Pond

You Will Need:
a Mat

Excellent game for releasing "excess" energy. Players join hands in a circle around a mat. Then, by pulling, pushing, and tugging, each player tries to make someone else step onto the mat, without doing so herself. Players drop out of the game once they touch the mat. If the circle breaks, the two players who "let go" must drop out.

Thumbs Up - Board Game

Make a simple board for playing on - about 100 squares. Decorate with pictures of money, credit cards, houses... and 25 squares labelled "Chance Card". Play as for ludo. When a player lands on the chance square she picks up a card. The cards should have a series of "situations" on them - the ranger explains what she would do in that situation. the other rangers put their thumbs up if they agree and thumbs down if they don't. The player moves forward or back depending on the difference in the thumbs (eg. five thumbs up and two down - move forward three spaces).

Situations could include:

Ranger Games - sources

Te Rama - The Magazine of Guides New Zealand
March / April - Volume 2 - 1995 p.36 (Jelly Beans)

Jelly Beans poem - contributed to ANZAGL by Dianne F. (16/09/98) - original source unknown (please let me know if you know the correct author :) )

Te Rama - The Magazine of Guides New Zealand
August / September - Volume 4 - 1995 p.32 (Thumbs Up)

Amanda K. who wrote it & Cheryl W. for typing it up! (Navigate the Grid)

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My thanks to Megan F. for her great definition of "She'll be right Mate!" on a day when I was suffering from brain overload. Thanks also to Emily C. for teaching me the Sheep Game, to Anne B. from Otago for sending me the Pig Personality Profile at short notice in 1996, and to Cheryl W. for advice and ideas, especially on the games Rangers play.

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