Let me just say first, I am a strong believer in healthy competition.
In no particular order, here are some tips for making games fun while keeping the competition in perspective:
1. Divide the room into two sides.
Give each side a team name. For Kidz Blitz Live events, we call our teams Blue and Green. Dividing the room with a center aisle or rope down the middle is helpful/important/critical. Games just work better with a visible team divider.
2. Don’t play games that take any real athletic ability.
That way if/when you lose, nobody cares. There are no crushed self-esteems if you can’t jump rope with flippers on. If you have to play a game with a ball, do something different with it besides throwing it or kicking it into a goal. This way the non-athletic kids have the same opportunity to pulverize the competition. Uh, I mean … win gracefully.
3. Make the game urgent.
Time it. Make it frantic. Use a stopwatch, a clock, hourglass, something. Ahhhhh!!! Frantic is fuuuuuunnn!
4. Explain it carefully.
Nobody gets excited about a game they don’t understand. Explain the rules. Clearly.
5. Choose kids wisely.
If a small kid can play it, pick him. If a shy kid never raises her hand, ask her if she wants to play.
Don’t choose the same kids over and over.
6. Give points to the winning team.
Points are free so you can give away lots of them. “This next game is worth 25,000 points!”
7. Crank the music.
Play something fast. And loud. Use fast Christian music or one of Kidz Blitz’ parodies of classic rock during the games.
8. Start the music first.
Start the music BEFORE you start the game. Let the music draw you into the game. Hearing the music gets your heart pumping so you’re ready to go.
9. Don’t make winning any bigger than it already is.
It’s already a big deal, so you can tamp it down some by saying, “By a little bit I guess this one goes to the Blue team!” That’s better than, “Wow! It looks like the Blue team has smashed the Green team into oblivion again!!!”
10. Announce the players by name.
Make a bigger deal out of playing than winning. “This is Jack! Jack is 10 years old and has a dog named ‘Chewy.’ Let’s give it up for Jack!”