After being a camp counselor for three years and the sister of an elementary school teacher, you learn a couple of tricks to keep kids entertained. I was always thinking of ways to keep my campers occupied, especially during the "in-between" moments. For example, there's always that kid who, while you're waiting 10 minutes for the next electives to start, yells, "I'm BORED."
Want that to stop? Here are some ways to keep your group occupied.
1. The Human Knot!
This is probably my favorite pastime. You get a group of kids, typically five or more, and make a circle. Everyone puts their right hand in and holds onto another hand that is not next to them. Next, everyone puts in their left hand and grabs someone else's hand.
Now, untangle the knot. This is a great team building skill and can take anywhere from five minutes to as long as 20 minutes (that was only one time, though, and it was with 15 kids). If you have a big group, I recommend making two smaller knots and racing to see who can finish first. This really gets them motivated to work together.
Others may call this "gimp", and this craft can be taken anywhere. Even as a camp counselor, I always do new lanyard ties!
Anyone of any skill level can do it; it just takes a little bit of patience and a lot of string. You can look up different stitches, or better yet, have your campers teach you.
3. Hand Games!
You know those hand games you played on the playground when you were little, like "Down by the Bank" and "Shame, Shame, Shame"? It's time to bring them back!
Go ahead and teach it to your kids, and watch them share it with their friends. They'll keep themselves entertained! Find hand games to teach your kids here.
You can pick up a stack of cards with trivia facts just about anywhere. If you have a few minutes, pull them out and see how much your kids know. If you wanted to, you can even make a competition out of it.
You can also make your own based on where you are! Ask them trivia questions about the school or camp you're at or their favorite teachers or counselors.
5. Have A "Question Of The Day"!
Go ahead and ask a kid one of those "deeper" questions. You have a minute to get to know them. Have a different question ready for every day.
How many siblings do they have? Why do they wear purple every day? What's their favorite elective? This simple thing can make a kid's day. It shows them that you really do care about them.
6. Sing A "Repeat-After-Me" Song!
This will help your kids get energized and thinking. Once they get the hang of the song, too, they can lead it themselves! Find some "repeat-after-me" songs here.
Don't hear "I'm bored" again! Now, go fill those in-between moments!