This year’s National Play Day is held on Saturday 22 April. The day’s theme is play as a universal language. The theme reminds us how shared joy doesn’t always need words. We invite players of all ages, language backgrounds and special needs to enjoy shared play on Play Day and the play theme week that precedes it. > Lue Lisää
Alpha and Omega
This game is a lot of fun with a larger group! 🙌 First, the group agrees on a category to which all words must belong: flowers, cities, insects, etc. Then the first player says a word that belongs to this category. The next player must say a word belonging to the same category that begins with the last letter of the previous word.
Each player is only given 5–10 seconds to come up with a word, and the same word cannot be said twice. If a player makes a mistake or runs out of time, they are out of the game. Finally, only one person – the winner – remains! 🏆
Let’s play aliens who have come to visit Earth. 🌍
These creatures cannot speak English, so we must try to communicate with them using the tone and stress of our voice as well as our facial expressions and gestures. Half of the group are aliens and the other half try to get to know them and show them the environment and what they can do there. 👾
Names of Objects
The players sit in a circle. The first player says, for example: “I am thinking about the word HOME” and points their finger at another player. The other player must immediately answer with the names of four objects that begin with each letter of the word HOME, so, for example: house, ornament, mat and egg. If the player manages to say the words within a time limit agreed on beforehand, they get to continue the game by saying the next word and pointing at a new player. 👉
In this game of tag, a hug provides safety. 🥰 Before starting this game, it is important to ensure that all players are okay with hugging.
One of the players is it, and they determine the size of the hugging group. The size of this group can change over the course of the game. To be safe from it, the players must form a hugging group the size of which was decided by the person who is it. Players can only stay in safety for a moment before they have to continue running. The player touched by it becomes the new it.
This is a fun outdoor winter game! ❄️ Adults hold children by the armpits and spin them around before tossing them into soft snow. What kind of fun positions do the kids find themselves in? You can have a competition for the funniest pose.
One of the players spins a string close to the ground. Other players stand around the spinner and try to jump over the string whenever it comes to them. If a player gets entangled in the string, they become the new spinner. ➰🤸
The players sit in a circle. Each player whispers some word to the players sitting on each side of them. The words do not need to have anything in common. The most important thing is to remember the words you hear yourself. Once everyone has heard two words, they are combined into the same sentence. If a player’s words are “horse” and “art exhibit”, for example, they could be used to form the following sentence: “The horse went to the art exhibit to look at paintings.” Each player then says their sentence out loud. 🐎🎨
Tossing the Smile
The players sit in a circle. Somebody begins to smile, and then pulls the smile off their face with their hand and points at somebody else. The player who received the smile begins to smile before tossing it onwards to someone else. The other players are not allowed to smile or laugh. Players who do are out of the game. 🤭
Human to Human
The players separate into pairs. If there are an odd number of players, one acts as the instructor who begins the game by saying something like: “Thumb to shoulder”, and then each player must put their thumb on their partner’s shoulder. After giving a few instructions like these, the instructor says: “Human to human”, and all players change partners and the instructor also looks for partner. The person left without a partner acts as the next instructor. 📢
If the number of players is even, the pair that finds each other last acts as the instructor together. Note that some instructions require problem solving skills so that each player is able to follow it at the same time (elbow to knee, for example). 🤔
Chairs are placed next to each other in a line like seats on a train. 🚂 Players sit on their seats while one player acts as the train inspector. This player goes to each other player and asks them where they are headed and carefully notes where they are sitting. The inspector leaves the room and some players switch seats and destinations with each other. The inspector returns and tries to figure out who have switched seats. 🤔
A head of a giant is drawn in sand. The players stand on the outline of the drawing and hold each others’ hands. When the instruction is given, they all start pushing each other into the giant’s head. Players pushed inside the line are out of the game. The last player standing wins. 🏆
Fish in a Net
The players are divided into two groups. One group forms a circle by holding each others’ hands, and the other group goes inside the circle. The players forming the circle act as a net and those inside are fish. 🐠 The fish try to get out of the net, or circle, and the net tries to stop this. When the fish have gotten out of the net, the roles are reversed and the game begins again. 🐡
Cuddly, Wuddly Bears
Some of the players form a nest by standing with their arms extended towards each other as if forming the roof of a hut. The other players are bears who wander around according to the nursery rhyme. 🐻
“Cuddly, wuddly bears, having fun in the summer is best” (Wandering around as bears)
“Only in the fall do they find the nest” (Going into the nest)
“Sweetly they sleep ‘til fresh honey wakes them with zest” (Being quiet)
In this game you truly have to focus! The players form pairs. 👯 The pairs stand back to back with their eyes closed. Slowly, the pairs turn around and try to find each others’ finger tips. The game can continue by trying to find the partner’s elbow next, and so on.
This and a thousand other game tips can be found in the game bank: www.leikkipankki.fi 🤸
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