Kids love wide games. They can participate lots or they can participate little. They can go it alone or with a group of friends. While one is running wildly through the bush, another is carefully hidden beneath a pile of leaves. They are a fabulous way of maximizing the fun factor for everyone. Wide games give kids the freedom to have a lot of fun on their terms. So without further ado, here are six wide games kids love.

#1. Mission Really Difficult

This night game works best in an area that has both bush and a large clearing. Played guys against girls, both teams try to sneak up to the bank (some small building) and take whatever it is you’re collection (money, gold, bottle caps, whatever…). The challenge is not to be caught doing it. On the top of the bank are flashlight carrying guards who only must identify you as either a guy or girl when they see you. If seen and correctly identified, the intruder must return to his home base and try again. There is also guards on the ground carrying pool noodles. If you get smacked with a noodle – back you go. The team with the most (points, money, bottle caps, whatever) wins.

#2. Team Handball

It’s a very simple game really – but the kids love it. On a soccer field with soccer nets, divide the players into two teams. The idea is to throw the ball into the soccer net. Each player may only hold the ball for three seconds and may only take three steps while holding the ball. The player must then throw the ball to a teammate. The net has a crease that no one but the goalie can enter. You may want to divide the teams into shifts (perhaps girls vs girls and guys vs guys) if you have lots of players.

#3. Counselor Hunt

The game is divided into two rounds. In round one, the first team (counselors) goes out to hide within a predetermined boundary. After sufficient time to hide, the other team (kids) try to find as many of them as they can within an aloted time. Anyone that isn’t found is worth a point. Then in round two reverse the roles and do the same. The team with the most points wins!

#4. Steal the Gold

This bush/field game is great for hot summer days. The playing area is divided into two sides. On each side there are two buckets of gold (yellow rocks) in different areas with a small crease around them both. The objective is to cross into the other teams side to take one of the gold pieces and make it safely back to your side without being tagged. As your team collects gold, they are giving to your ‘treasurer’ who will then buy certain items with that gold from the trading post. Once your team has bought all five items (such as a coat, a hat, sunglasses, a water gun, and a bucket of water), they use the items to spray a certain person – signaling the win. But beware of the renegades! They can travel anywhere with their water guns and soak anyone they want – stealing their gold.

#5. Predator & Prey

In this game there are four classes of players. There is the plant, the animal, the human, and the natural disaster. You can use any theme (like dinosaurs, aliens, fish, etc…) as long as there is some sort of hierarchy. Each class has their own objectives and threats.

The plant class players try to find three items hidden in the woods – food, water, sunshine. They must find and collect one of each of the three items and then hide to survive until the end of the game. They can be eaten (tagged) by animals, humans, and natural disasters.

The animal class players are released to play a few minutes after the plants and their job is to eat as many plants as possible, while escaping from the humans and natural disasters.

The human class players are release a few minutes after the animals and their job is to eat as many plants and animals as possible, while escaping from the natural disasters.

The natural disaster class players are released last and their job is to destroy everything with no fear of anyone.

At the end of the game, the team with the most remaining players wins.

#6. World Domination

Divide your field and your teams into four to eight parts. Assign a section and a color to each team. In each section there is a bowling pin with a large crease around it. The objective is to knock over that pin by throwing a ball at it. Each player may only hold the ball for three seconds and may only take three steps while holding the ball. The player must then throw the ball to a teammate or at the pin. If a team’s pin gets knocked over, they become part of the the team that threw the ball a the pin. For example if the green team knocked over the red team’s pin, the green team and the red team will now work together. You keep going until one team has taken over the world.

You probably need at least 20 players for a successful wide game, but you can have hundreds or even thousands if you have the space for them. The most I’ve ever played with is about 300 – and in the case of wide games, it really is the more the merrier.

What’s been your wide game experience? What the biggest group you’ve played in? Send me your comments – I’d love to hear from you.