Counselors love to use these logic games as a way to pass time and keep campers engaged and having fun during down time. All of these are mind games in which the rules are ‘hidden’ from the players, that is, until they figure it out! Make sure to instruct them not to yell out the rule once they figure it out (unless the game calls for that), so as not to ruin the game for others. Depending on the game, make sure that you let campers ‘run it,’ state the phrases, try the actions, etc. once they begin to figure it out so they don’t get bored. If no one is figuring it out, try telling a person or two to get the ball rolling. Have fun!!
Sitting in a circle on the floor, grab a bunch of sticks or wood chips. Tell campers that you are going to do something with the sticks and they have to guess the number your are thinking of based on your actions. Make a picture with the sticks (a house, a number, a letter, a pile, etc.). The number you are guessing is revealed by how many fingers you are holding out once you complete your stick picture. I like to sit criss crossed apple sauce and then place my hands on my knees. If I hold out two fingers in each hand, the number is 4, or one hand with five fingers and the other with none is five, etc. Have campers guess the numbers and tell them if they are right or not. If you think they have figured it out, let them try being the one with the sticks.
Start by saying the riddle “um. I have a magical umbrella. It’s *insert color or pattern here* and when I spin it around it turns *insert different color or pattern here.* What color does it turn next?” The key is to say ummmmm before saying the riddle (magical UMMbrella) Have campers guess, and tell them if they are right or wrong. Then let them try ‘holding the umbrella.’ Play around with crazy patterns like purple with green dinosaurs on it, orange polka dots, etc.
GREEN GLASS DOOR
Campers try to guess what can or cannot go through the green glass doors. Say “I can bring puppies through the GGD but not dogs.” The key is that words with double letters can go through (kittens but not cats, apples but not oranges, boots but not shoes, etc.)
FOUR IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
This game starts with a certain number that eventually breaks down into the number four. The goal is figure out how the numbers are being broken down. “twelve is six, six is three, three is five, five is four.” The next number is the # of letters in the previous number. The word twelve has six letters, six has three letters, three has five letters, five has four letters. Every beginning number eventually breaks down to the number four.
This is a simple game, but can be difficult to catch onto the rules. Can also be fun to play as a name game as you get to know each other and remember names. Start by saying “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing a *insert object that starts with the same first letter as your name*.” (Emma and eggs, Courtney and cookies, Samantha and sandwiches.) Have campers try this one and tell them whether or not they are able to bring the object the say until they figure it out.
This game can be played many ways with different objects. Say “If I have a rose and I give it to Courtney and she gives it to Samantha and she gives it to Emma, who has the rose?” The person who has the rose is the first person to speak after you finish saying the question. So if you ask the question, and Courtney says “it’s _____,” then you could say “no it’s you Courtney.” This one can be a little slow at first until a few people pick up on it, but then it’s super fun! One of my favorites!
PAY ATTENTION (or LISTEN)
Say “Pay attention. If those (point to them) are shoes, and those are shoes, and those are shoes, are these shoes?” Point to a few pairs of shoes, and then for the last object, you can either point at shoes or anything else. The key is to say the phrase ‘pay attention’ before you speak. If you do, than the answer is yes, if not, the answer is no. So if you finish by pointing at a real pair of shoes, but you don’t say ‘pay attention’, then they are not shoes. But if you point at a tree at the end and say ‘pay attention’, then the tree is shoes.
This one is a bit difficult. Set up chairs like musical chairs. Pick a chair to assign as the ghost chair, but don’t tell anyone. Explain that there is a ghost in the room. Have everyone sit in a chair. Mentally note who is sitting in the ghost chair. Have everyone move to a new chair. Ask who the ghost is standing in front of. Let them guess, and tell them if they are correct or not. The ghost is standing in front of whoever was sitting in the ghost chair before you all moved chairs.
Hold your hand up. Make a specific pattern of touching your fingertips and sliding your finger along the curve between our forefinger and thumb. When touching the tips of fingers, say “Johnny,” but when sliding along the curve say “Whoop.” When you are done, drop your hands and clasp them together. Remember the pattern you made, and do it the same way every time. Have campers try to copy you and tell them if they did it right or not. The key is not to correctly replicate your patten but to clasp your hands after finishing it.
Say “I’m throwing a party, but it’s not just any party, it’s the right party at the right place at the right time with the right people and the right snacks and the right clothes.” Then explain what you will be wearing to the party. Have campers try and tell them if they are allowed to wear it to your party or not. The clothes allowed to the party are whatever the person to your right is wearing.
ONE UP ONE DOWN
Only one of three phrases can be said. But only one of them is correct at a given time. Both up, one up one down, and both down. It depends on how your arms are positioned when the phrase is being said. So if the person’s arms are both hanging down, the correct phrase is both down, etc. Have campers try and guess which one to say and tell them if they are allowed to say it or not.
You have to have at least one friend playing that knows the rule to get the ball rolling. Tell campers a story that explains how you met a witch and learned the secret language.Send the friend out of the room. Decide with the campers which word you are going to write and try to get the friend to guess. Call them back in. Use the secret witch writing to write the word and have the friend guess. She will get it right, keep playing until campers begin to figure it out. It involved random scribbling and pounding your hands against the table/ground. Vowels are represented by the number of pounds. 1 pound=A, 2 pounds=E, 3 pounds=I, 4 pounds=O, 5 pounds=U. Consonants are represented by the first letter of the phrase in-between pounds. The random scribbling is just to confuse people and has no meaning. Example: the word is ‘guide”. Say “Going to start now” Random scribbling with a pencil. Then pound your hands 5 times. Random scribbling. Pound your hands 3 times. Random scribbling. Then say “Don’t get confused.” Random scribbling. Then pound your hands 2 more times.
CROSSED/UNCROSSED (or OPEN/CLOSED)
This game can be played with sticks or pencils (scissors for open/closed). Have everyone sit in a circle. You are going to pass two sticks to the next person either crossed over each other or just parallel to one another. The person receiving them has to say if they are receiving the sticks crossed or uncrossed. The position of the sticks does not matter, only wether the giver is sitting with their legs/ankles/arms (pick one) are crossed or not. This game works better when siting on the ground than at a table.
MAN IN THE MOON
Grab a stick and draw a picture in the dirt while saying “This is a man on the moon. He has a face, a mouth, a nose and two eyes.” (Draw those things) Before doing/saying this, do a small action such as touching your ear, flipping your hair, scratching your knee, etc. Have campers try and tell them if their man on the moon is correct. The drawing does not matter, only that they repeat the same small action beforehand.
PLATES/CUPS Grab a few cups or plates and a small object that fits underneath it. You need a friend who knows the rule to get the game started. Decide on a code word with the same number of letters as the number of cups you have. (if you have four cups, use the word corn, which has four letters) Share this word with everyone, but don’t explain how to use it. Lay the cups out in a horizontal line. Only the friend will understand at first but the plate to the far left (the friend’s point of view) corresponds to the first letter of the code word, so C. The next cup is O. The next is R. The next is N. Again, the campers do not know this. Send the campers and the friend away or have them close their eyes. Put the small object under one of the cups. Call them back. The friend will guess which cup it is under. She will know because the cup it is under corresponds to the first letter of the first thing you say when they come back. So if the first thing you say is “Really think about it, and tell me which cup,” then the object is under the cup that is R, or the third cup.
This game is fun, but once the participant figures out the rule, the game is over because they have to say it out loud. That is…. until someone new wanders up and wants to play and doesn’t know the rule. Pick a participant and send them away. Explain the rule to everyone else. The person is going to come back and ask them questions. The first person to be asked a question is to answer with the words “i don’t know” no matter what the question is. After that, the next person to be asked a question is to answer with the answer that corresponds to the last question. Call the person back into the group. Explain to them that they are a psychiatrist and this group has a problem and they have to figure out what it is. They are to go up to people and ask them simple or yes or no questions. When they think they know the problem, guess it out loud. Example: Psychiatrist to person A: Is the sky Blue? Person A: I don’t know. (this will confuse the psychiatrist, tell them to move on to next person) Psychiatrist to person B: What color is a cow? Person B: yes. Psychiatrist to person C: What is my name? Person C: black and white. and so on.
This one is difficult and takes a while to figure out. You are going on road trip and going to tell your campers where you went and how long you stayed there and they are to figure out where you are going next. The answer is revealed by the pathway of your trip. Letters are the first letter of where you went. Vowels are how long you stayed. (A-1, E-2, I-3, O-4, U-5) Example: I started in Delaware and stayed for 2 days, then I went to Nebraska, then Vermont where I stayed for 2 weeks, then I went to Rhode Island. Where do I go next? Answer= Denver.
One person is sent away. The rest of the group decides on an object among them to be the magic object (a hat, shoe, shirt, backpack, water bottle, etc.) Call the person back. Explain to the person they are to pick an item from a list you give them that is the magic object. They are to figure out that the object is whichever one comes after a black object. The other objects can not be black, because that would disrupt the game. Continue to list off a bunch of items among you, pointing at each, one of them being the object chosen after a different black object. Example: “Is the magical object her shoe, his sunglasses, my foot, his hat (which is black), that water bottle, or the sky?” Answer= the water bottle because it came after the black object.
HOW MANY BEARS?
Make up a story about bears, and finish by asking how many bears there are (have it make sense with the story). The answer is dependent on how many words are used to ask the question. Ex: How many bears are there?-5, What number of bears are there?-6, How many bears?-3, etc.
THIS CAN HAS FIVE SIDES
This game follows the same rules as the bear game. Grab a can and pass it around, having campers tell each other how many sides it has. The number of sides is dependent on the statement. Example: This can has five sides-5, Two sides-2, I think that this can has 8 sides-8, etc.
DOES THE BOAT FLOAT?
This game is similar to the umbrella game. Here’s how it works. Say “Okay,” then grab a stick or use your finger to draw an imaginary boat in the air. Ask “Does this boat float?” Let campers guess yes or no and tell them if they are correct or not. The key is wether or not you say ‘okay’ before you draw the boat. Let them try drawing boats once they think they have figured it out.
This game is almost identical to the boat float game, but draw a triangle between different people as your stand around in a circle. You can also play this game like the rose game, where whoever speaks first is the owner of the triangle.
FLASHLIGHT DANCE Again, similar to the boat float game. Pick a phrase or acton (saying okay, clearing your throat, flipping the flashlight in the air and catching it, etc.) that must be performed before the dance. Grab a flashlight (this game is obviously for night time) and perform (or don’t) the action and then proceed to do a dance with the flashlight. Ask the campers if your dance was real (performed the action) or made up (did not perform the action).
lately I’ve been absolutely obsessed with park ranger horror stories, from search and rescue operations to tales of creepy encounters with cryptids in the woods. this takes place in yosemite, or somewhere in the pacific northwest, idk. here goes:
-tracer is the educational ranger! she’s a rookie, but a talented one, and has already proven herself to be a skilled naturalist. a jack of all trades, she’s usually the one who leads the hikers and campers on tours throughout the park. all the kids love her, but the adults are sometimes exasperated with her because she can’t go 5 minutes without mentioning bigfoot at least once. she swears up and down that she saw him once, even talked to him! lúcio is the only one who believes her. she’s also adamant that their gps system, bastion, is sentient, and even lùcio is reluctant to believe her there. tracer is always the one who tells scary stories at the campfires. only ones with happy endings, of course.
-lúcio is tracer’s partner ranger, and an expert on the history of the area. he’s also fascinated by cryptids & the paranormal, and has had more than a few weird experiences since he joined the rangers, which he always writes campfire songs about. granted, he makes these songs using an app on his ipad, and they don’t have actual lyrics. they sound more like they belong at a party than around a campfire in the woods, but he claims the beats and tones of each song tell a story about the goings on of the forest. tracer is the only one who can interpret these songs.
-captain morrison, also known as 76, is the quiet & intimidating head ranger of the park. he’s ex-military, and he mostly stays behind at headquarters to do paperwork and deal with department heads. no one really knows what he was like back when he worked the forests with everyone else. everyone calls him 76 because apparently when he was a rookie, he was separated from his squad in the dead of winter during a rescue operation and had to survive 76 days on his own, living off berries/raw meat and fighting off bears and mountain lions. mccree says he killed a grizzly with his bare hands once when it tried to take the fish he caught, but 76 has yet to confirm this.
-hanzo is the head of the search and rescue division. he’s a skilled archer and horseman, and perfectly at home on dangerous mountain slopes that many of the others won’t even attempt to climb. he’s the only one who can get more than a few sentences out of 76, and probably the most practical member of the squad– he doesn’t believe in bigfoot or ghosts or the monster tracer says lives in the park’s biggest lake, but something obviously happened to him at one point because there’s a huge stone monolith in the middle of the forest that he gets nervous when he’s around. no one knows how it got there or what it’s for, but hanzo is deadly serious when he demands that no one is to approach it–EVER. don’t touch it, don’t look at it, just keep walking and pretend like it’s not there. sometimes it appears in different spots, sometimes you can hear soft noises emanating from it, but under no circumstances are you to acknowledge its existence. hanzo is usually the one who scares off the new rookies.
-mccree is a law enforcement ranger, and a bit of a vigilante; he’s not averse to breaking a rule or five if it means catching a dangerous squatter or putting down a rabid puma, but 76 can’t fire him because, in all seriousness, the man has a near-100% success rate in his missions at the end of the day. he can often be heard flirting with hanzo over the group’s radio system, much to everyone’s chagrin. mercy says that sometimes, if you’re on the night shift and the stars are perfectly aligned, you can hear hanzo flirt back–but you can’t be listening for it, or it won’t happen.
-genji is hanzo’s younger brother and technically not employed as a ranger, but he sticks around the park regardless to hang out with his brother over ramen and video games and because the local hippie, zenyatta, lives in a cabin just outside the park borders; he and genji are roommates, and apparently have some kind of spiritual master/apprentice relationship going on. mccree thinks it’s a little kinky, but hanzo is adamant that there’s nothing going on between them. tracer thinks they’re cute together. genji will neither confirm nor deny any accusations.
-dr. “mercy” zeigler works as an emergency responder with hanzo on the search and rescue team. she always looks perfect somehow, even after hours of hiking in the woods looking for lost campers, and is basically everyone’s mom, having a seemingly infinite supply of water bottles, bandages, and antiseptic ointment. she has saved both hanzo’s and genji’s asses from dehydration on multiple occasions.
-pharah is mercy’s fiancé, and the best damn firefighter the park has ever seen–she can spot even the tiniest smoke column from miles away. the running joke among the rangers is that if you see a particularly big tree or beautiful deer, you have to shout “thank you pharah!” because most of the park would have burnt down to ashes long ago if not for her. junkrat and roadhog, forest squatters and serial arsonists, are the bane of her existence. lúcio thinks they probably run around the parks all day setting fires just to test her abilities.
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