Best Group Game Apps

Best Group Game Apps

Having been a schoolteacher for many years, I am always searching for new ideas to inspire the kids I teach. I believe kids will learn to their maximum potential if they feel safe and liked, have a rapport with their teachers and genuinely enjoy school.

Today, kids have a multitude of engaging stimuli in their homes that can be far more interesting than the school curriculum. Old methods of teaching and imparting the curriculum do not always work in today’s world. Teachers are constantly on the lookout for tools and strategies that can compete with the stimuli that kids have in their homes.  Gaming, virtual reality, TV, YouTube, robotics and drones are all becoming a part of every household. Understandably, kids switch off when presented with subject textbooks, pen and paper activities and lengthy instruction from teachers.

How Do Teachers Keep Kids Engaged and Motivated with Learning?

The likelihood is that there will always be a requirement for pen and paper and textbook in schools. So how do teachers spice up the school day so that the kids learning environment is fun, welcoming, and exciting?  

One way is to utilize technology and seek tools and media that matches what the kids have at home. Use online gaming, virtual reality, robotics, Ipads, Smart boards and so forth to impart the curriculum in a fun and exciting way.

Alternatively, seeking opportunities to break up learning into smaller chunks by utilizing fun group games brings the fun into learning! Energizing the kids this way recharges their batteries and refocuses them for the next round of learning.

Group games get kids out of their seats- moving and interacting with one another. Team building group games build rapport, develop self-confidence and are awesome fun! There are opportunities for kids to practice leadership, be expressive and to learn to socialize with peers. Many team games can be adapted to impart the curriculum in a different way. Kids practice problem solving, devise strategy and learn to cope with winning and losing.

Where Do Teachers Find the Best Group Games for Their Classrooms?

Best Group Game Apps

I find that most teachers have a repertoire of group games that they use in their classrooms on a regular basis. Often this repertoire of games is limited to just a few tried and tested games, that work well but can be overused to the point that the kids lose interest in them.

Although teachers are keen to increase the games they have in their ‘toolbox’, they don’t always have the time to search for new games and learn how to play them. This usually requires looking up group games on the internet or seeking group games texts that provide written instructions on how to play different games. When searching, teachers discover that they have to search through many games to find what they are wanting for their particular group. In many cases there is no filter on the website, or text, to short cut this process.

Searching YouTube for group games can produce some gems, however, searches will regularly lead to instruction videos that are amateurish and lengthy, and again, not always suitable for the particular group of kids that teachers are working with.

Finding the Best Group Game Apps

Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a tool for teachers that provides simple visual instructions on a multitude of different games? A tool with a filter that allows teachers to quickly find the perfect game to address the specific outcomes sort for his/her group of kids?

There must be an app for group games available in the App Store or Play Store that teachers could download onto their phones, computers, Ipads or tablets- a group games app designed specifically for schools.

I assumed that there must be dozens of group game apps to choose from; however, after searching I found that there were very few, and those that I downloaded and tested were not giving me what I was seeking for my classroom. The instructions were lengthy, games choice was limited, and the games had no visual examples of kids playing them.

Finding the best group games apps for my teacher’s toolbox was turning out to be unfruitful.

Creating the Best Group Games App

Why not create one!

The kids in my classroom play group games every day.  Energizers between lessons, team building games before school, outdoor games on the oval and circle group games at the end of the day. They are excited to be at school and play with their friends.

I asked the kids if they would help me film all our games. They thought this was an excellent idea and were eager to be part of the project. All I needed was their parents’ approval.

Living on the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands, in a small community, meant that I knew all the families well. It was not long before we had their approval and weekly afterschool group games were underway. During these sessions I filmed the kids playing the games.

The raw footage from each game was then edited into short videos accompanied with instructions on how to play the games. Before long we had dozens of completed videos of games.

I looked at hiring a programmer to make an App to contain all our games. The cost to outsource this task was too high for my budget. Whilst seeking a way around this, we continued to play, film and edit games. We called our games Wacki Group Games.

It is funny how the Universe works! Our App developer appeared one day… Hugo! After chatting with my friend Hugo, I discover that he has the skills to build apps and that he was also looking for a project to be involved in. A perfect match! So, Hugo built Wacki App.

Wacki App

Today Wacki App comes with over 70 epic mini demonstration videos of fun youth group games for kids. Each video is accompanied with instructions. Wacki App has an awesome filter that allows teachers to select the exact game they require for the kids they are working with. It can filter down to group size, age, type of game and whether it be an inside/outside game, leadership game, team builder, tag, or circle game.

Wacki App is a perfect tool for teachers in schools. It allows teachers to have a multitude of games at their fingertips. All they need to do is Watch, Learn and Play!

They can show the kids the game on the classroom Smart Board or Ipad, so that the kids can see how the game works, or teachers can take two minutes to watch a game on their phones ready to play it with the kids.

We believe that Wacki App is the best group game apps that is available to teachers, youth group leaders and for parents seeking group games for their kids’ parties or for home schooling.

Wacki App is a collaborative passion project of the kids of Cocos Islands. It will always be there to serve as a memory of all the fun times the kids had on the Islands. I have no doubt that the games will be passed on to their children.

Where to Get Wacki App

Wacki App can be downloaded from Google Play Store, Apple App store or from www.wackiapp.com. It is free to download, offering a selection of games. For full access to all 70+ games on Wacki, teachers can subscribe to the premium membership for less than a dollar a week.

Top Ten Tips to Running Youth Group Games Successfully- Awesome Fun for Everyone!

Top tips to running youth group games successfully

You’ve picked out a great group game, checked out its rules, picked a great spot to play and found some equipment to use. All you need now are the enthusiastic kids!  What possibly could go wrong?

Hopefully nothing will go wrong! However, to ensure all is smooth sailing for your youth group, I have put together Wacki’s top ten youth group games tips.

High Energy

This would have to be the tip with the biggest punch! Use your excitement and energy to fuel the kids in your group. Energy is infectious. Before you know it, the kids will be pumped and eager to play. Even boring games can be super fun if you’re energetic! I like to fire up the teams before the game commences with a bit of team comraderies. Give teams names and let the kids come up with a team chant or a team ‘move’. Check my little video clip at the bottom of this article to see what I mean.

Why not join in the game with the kids. It’s no fun being the bystander or referee. You can always give one of the kids that roll. The kids love to see that you’re having fun too! If there are parents watching, pull them into the game as well. The more the merrier!

Why not give commentary throughout the game, or give this job to one of the bystanders or players?

Believe That the Game is Worth Playing

Your confidence in the game will determine how the game goes. Believe that the kids want to have fun and that the game is a great game! This believe will exuberate from you when motivating the kids and with delivering the group game rules. If the kids sense you’re not confident, then they may play on it or lose faith in the game before you even begin.

Shared Ownership

All people like to be heard and valued. It is no different with the youth in your group. Another top tip for running youth group games is to involve the kids with the decisions around the game. You may not want to jump straight into this as there does need to be boundaries and expectations set around the game. So, to start with, allow decisions around small things, like coming up with a team name. However, as your group gets more and more used to playing collaborative group games, then they can also take on more and more of the decisions around the game.

Something I find to be powerful, is to have a short reflection routine after every game session. Have the kids be present to one another and give them an opportunity to share what they liked about the game. Then ask them, “What can WE do to make this game even more fun?” Encourage the kids to pair up and discuss ideas, then have these ideas shared with the group. If you feel there is eagerness to go with one of these ideas, then bring it to a vote. Call it a trial idea and add it into the game.

This process is great for kids, and they do come up with excellent ideas that do build upon the game. For the process to be effective, the group would need to be facilitated in a way that the kids feel safe to speak out and to be heard.

This process can also be used to sort out problems, or situations that caused a problem, in the game. Be careful not to name and shame individuals, rather, use the group to seek fair solutions.

You Can Never Be Too Prepared

Running Youth Group Games Successfully

As a school teacher, I learnt years ago that I needed to be one step ahead of the kids. If I wasn’t fully prepared, they would walk all over me and the lesson I was running would fall apart. Preparation with group games is super important.

Know your game. Watch a video on it and read the game brief so that you fully understand the game. You will soon be in front of your excited youth group explaining how it works. You need to know the rules inside out.

Think about your space where you’ll be running the group game. Is it safe, big enough and suitable for the size group you have and type of game? Consider any kids with special needs and how you’ll cater for them. Where will the bystanders be? For outdoor group games, is the space suitable for the expected weather and do you have a back up plan if the weather changes?

Gather together equipment needed and think about how it will be utilized. Set equipment up beforehand. Consider how teams will be selected. I like to just number kids off randomly, rather than let them pick teams. This is quick and you can manage it, so you can ensure that is fair.

Have the Goal in Mind

Have the group game goal in mind whilst planning and when delivering the game rules. Tell the kids what the game goal is. It will make the game so much clearer to the kids and put the game rules into context.

Also be clear on why you want to play the game with the kids. Is it about team building, communication, leadership, to energize, or simply to have fun! If you know ‘why’ you chose that particular game, you’ll be keeping in mind as to whether you’re achieving your outcome throughout the game.

Delivering the Game Rules

Make sure you have eliminated distractions and you have the kids’ full attention before giving the game rules. When outside I always ensure the kids have their backs to the sun, so they don’t have it in their eyes when listening. Do this for distractions as well. Have the kids backs to whatever it is that may distract them.  I like to sit the kids down for the rules.

Keep the group game rules concise. Kids only have a short attention span. More than five minutes delivering the game rules will be counterproductive. It is a good idea to have the rules written out on a palm card. Avoid skipping over rules. This will only lose the kids and when you start the game, they won’t get it, and the game will fall apart.

If you have downloaded our Wacki App, then consider showing the kids the short demonstration video for the game. A visual of how the game works is the best way for them to understand.

Remember, keep your energy high. Start with the game goal. If the kids know the objective to the game, then they will better understand the rules.

Where possible, model aspects of the game. You may enlist someone who already knows the game to help with the demonstrations.

Use the kids’ names when delivering the game rules. This keeps them alert and enrolled in the game.

For games with many elements, it is better to start with a base game, play it for a while, then stop the game, gather the kids and build upon the game.

Have individual repeat back different game rules. Have kids pair up taking turns repeating the game rules to each other.

Always ask if anyone has questions before commencing the game.

Kill the Game Before it Dies

Killing the game whilst the kids are still having great fun ensures that they will want to play it again. This is reverse psychology. The kids won’t want to stop! What it will do is guarantee that they will be super excited to play the game again when you next meet. They’ll also talk about how awesome it was days afterwards.

Be careful not to over play your best games. You don’t want the kids to get bored with them. Best to mix them up.

If a game isn’t working for some reason, then stop it and change the game. Avoid pushing on with it. It’ll only snowball into a bad experience for all.

It’s All About the Experience

Entwine a story into the game to create the experience. Have characters, leaders, special roles etc

Games like Narnia and Star Wars do it well. For example: Narnia entwines the story of the battle between the White Witch’s army and Aslan’s (the lion) army. Each army has a dungeon. The armies battle it out to save their leaders who are locked up in the dungeons. They have to deliver the magic keys to their leaders without getting captured.

Even consider some props to enhance the characters. Like a witch’s hat and a lion’s mane for Narnia.

As the kids get to know a game, amp it up with additional features/challenges to the game. As outlined above, involve the kids with building layers to the game.

No Bystanders

The best youth group games involve everyone all the time. You don’t want kids standing around waiting for a turn or sitting on the ‘out’ bench getting bored. Have things in place that gives everyone something to do. For example, if you have kids who get out and would normally sit to the side waiting until the game finishes, consider giving them an opportunity to win their way back into the game. In the game Human Pinball, kids who get out can seek to catch a wayward ball to earn their place back into the game.  

With games where kids go to a jail, give them an out, such as they have an opportunity to be rescued by a team-mate, or they do some sort of task in the jail (funny dance or push-ups) that gets them a free pass out.

Find ways to include those on the sidelines. These might be reluctant parents. The kids love to see their parents running around!

Ensure your game is suitable for the group size and age. If there are too many players, then they will have limited opportunities to be involved. Avoid having kids waiting for their turn.

Give kids the opportunity to be the referee.

Pit Stops

Having short breaks during longer games or between group games helps to revive the kids. Send them off for a drink of water (hydrate) or give them a time out. This also allows you a few moments to set up for the next game and to catch your own breath. With team games, allow the kids time for short team meetings to discuss strategy.

There you have it. Thirty-five years of experience bundled into ten top tips to running youth group games session that are simply awesome. Good luck and enjoy!

Dirty Santa- An Awesome Christmas Party Group Game!

Dirty Santa Christmas Party Game

Christmas parties are always great fun! How about livening up your party this Christmas with a game of Dirty Santa! As the title suggests, this Christmas group game has a dirty twist to it which will have everyone in fits of laughter. It is important that players don’t take it too seriously. The game is suitable for kids and adults and can be played at family Christmas parties, work/company parties and Christmas parties for kids. I play Dirty Santa every Christmas with the students in my class. They love it!

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The Aim of the Game

Everyone to have hilarious fun stealing gifts from one another… and each player to receive a little gift!

Before the Christmas Party

It is important to let guests know beforehand what to expect with playing a Christmas group game, so that they can come prepared. On your Christmas invites, let people know that you’ll be playing Dirty Santa. Give them the game rules and the expectations with the gift they are to bring- cost, theme and how to wrap it.

Type of Gift to Bring to the Game

With a group of about fifteen people it will take an hour to play. With more people, they game will need to be hastened (see tip below), otherwise it takes too long. Everyone who plays brings along a wrapped gift and places it secretly under the Christmas tree. Keep the gifts to an agreed low cost. It can be fun when people make them. The gifts can be serious or funny (or with adults a little rude!). For company Christmas parties you may like to have a theme for the gifts. With kids I keep the cost to about $10.

The gifts must be wrapped well and creatively to disguise what’s enclosed. Giving multiple layers of wrapping is fun, or have a small gift in a large wrapped box will fool those with ‘big eyes’. Try adding a scent to the wrapping, such as perfume.

Getting Started with Playing Dirty Santa

The host must explain the Dirty Santa game rules to the group so that everyone knows what’s expected. Keep it light-hearted.

Have everyone’s name go into a hat (alternatively everyone has a table number that corresponds with a matching number in the hat). A name/number is drawn and that person gets to select a gift from under the Christmas tree. The player opens it and keeps it visible for others to see in front of them.

The hat is passed around and another name/number is drawn. This person has a choice, either select a present from under the tree, or steal the first persons unwrapped present. If they take the present from the first player, then this player selects a new present from under the tree.

Now there are two players, each with an unwrapped present in front of them.

The hat is passed and another name/number is drawn. Once again, this player can either select a present from under the tree or steal from one of the two players with opened presents in front of them. If someone’s unwrapped gift is stolen, then that person can either steal from another player, or go fetch a new present.

The game continues until all the presents have been taken from under the Christmas tree.

Keeping the Flow

With large groups, Dirty Santa can drag on for too long. To keep it short and moving along, have all players firstly select a gift from under the Christmas tree. Once everyone has a gift, then allow for the stealing to take place. This will be manic as people rush about taking one another’s gifts! With large groups, it is important to set a time limit using a timer. Say five minutes.

An alternative, is to restrict the number of times a gift can be stolen from a player to just three times. Once the player has been stolen from three times, that player is out of the game and they place their gift out of view. This is the gift they get to keep!

With smaller groups, there is no need to hold off the stealing until the end. Allow more time for stealing. This can take place throughout the game, rather than at the end. It is still a good idea to set a limit to the number of times a player can be stolen from to three.

Steal-backs

When a player is stolen from, they are not permitted to steal the same gift back again. They need to wait for another opportunity to steal back a ‘favourite’ gift.

Now You’re Dirty Santa Christmas Party Game is All Set to Go!

Christmas time is a fun occasion for everyone! Dirty Santa is an awesome addition to Christmas parties! Combined with good food, bon-bons, festive music, dance and other Christmas party games, this upcoming Christmas will be one to remember!

Checkout some of our Wacki Indoor Group Games, Circle Group Games and Energizers for more awesome Christmas Party Group Games to liven up your Christmas!

The Wacki Team playing a game of Dirty Santa

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