Children's Games Without Winners or Losers
Finding games for children to play doesn’t have to be a struggle, even if you are concerned about winners and losers. Think back to the games we played as children, especially when we were outside, entertaining ourselves. Many outdoor games don’t have an overall winner or loser; instead, these games choose a winner for the round which dictates who is “it” next round. The game continues for multiple rounds so no one has to be singled out as a “winner” or “loser.”
Outdoor games like tag, hide-and-go-seek or sardines can be fun for young people, especially when there is lots of room to move around. There may be a winner for each round which dictates who is "it" the next round, but there is no overall winner for any of these games.
Hide-and-go-seek is a great game for groups of children to play together. The seeker covers his/her eyes and counts while everyone else hides. When the seeker is finished counting he or she calls out: “Ready or not, here I come!” The seeker must then look around and try to find everyone. The round is over when everyone is found. Whoever was found first becomes the seeker in the next round.
Sardines is just like hide-and-go-seek but backwards. In this variation the “it” player hides while everyone else counts. When the “it” player is hidden, everyone else must seek this player out. Any player who find the “it” person must get into the same hiding spot and wait for the other players to find them. The game is called Sardines because all the players must pack themselves into the small hiding space chosen by the “it” player. The round is over when everyone has discovered the hiding spot. Usually, being “it” in this game is considered a privilege, so whoever found the hiding spot first gets to be “it” next.
Tag is a great game with lots of variations to keep children active and entertained. One person is “it” and attempts to tag or touch the other players. When someone is tagged, that person becomes “it” and must chase the other players. Freeze tag is a little different. A player who has been tagged must freeze or stop moving until another player touches and unfreezes him/her. Once everyone has been frozen a new “it” can be chosen (usually who ever was frozen first). Hide-and-go-seek tag combines the two games by allowing the hidden players to run away from the seeker.
Big Dog/Little Dog is a game similar to Duck Duck Goose, but it has a different name and slightly different rules so older children can play too. Everyone sits in a circle and a big dog is chosen. The big dog then chooses a little dog to chase around the circle. Both dogs must bark while running, using their big/small barks. When the little dog is caught or tagged, he becomes the big dog and the game continues. There are no overall winners or losers in this game either.
While the purpose of a game or contest is to get a little competitive, games do not have to single out children as winners or losers. Play games that chose a winner for the round not the overall game as a whole.