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Group Games for Sleepovers for Kids

by John McKenna
  • A group of friends, nighttime, a cornucopia of junk food. Maybe a movie. Sounds like a recipe for a fine time. If you're hosting a sleepover, it might be a good idea to have some structured games ready to play, just to keep things interesting and lively.
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  • One-Sentence Story

    Everyone sits in a circle. One player begins with a simple sentence, and each successive player around the circle adds another, thus building a story. Careful listening is important to ensure that the story makes sense and so that no part of story is ever contradicted. Players should be instructed to work as part of a team, making a coherent story the goal. When the story has achieved its natural end, the next person in the circle can say, "The end."
 
  • Improvisation Challenge

    A stage area is designated and two players get on stage. The players are told their imaginary location, imaginary identities and objectives. Players' objectives can conflict. For instance, the characters might be a mother who wants her son to clean his room and a son who wants to go out and play. Players should try as many different strategies for achieving their goals as possible. It is important that players agree never to negate any part of the reality that is created on stage. If one player says, "Don't forget your umbrella," the other should not say, "What for? It's sunny outside." Instead the second player should agree with what has been established. "I love rainy days," is a better response.
  • Mafia

    Also known as Werewolf or Assassin, this is a story-oriented elimination game. Players are randomly assigned roles. In a group of about 10, there should be one seer, who acts as the narrator, provides all instructions and keeps his eyes open throughout the game. There will also be two hit men. All others will be townspeople, including one nurse. Game play alternates between daytime and nighttime. During nighttime, the group closes their eyes. The seer instructs the hit men to open their eyes. Each hit man silently points to a victim. Then the hit men close their eyes. The nurse is next to open his or her eyes, and points to a player to rescue, who will survive the night unscathed. Next comes daytime. All players open their eyes, and the seer describes the events of the night. Perhaps she will say something like, "During the night assassins struck again. They attacked Amanda the baker just as she was making muffins, and they attacked Stephen the artist, crushing him into one of his own paintings." If either of the victims survived the night with the nurse's help, the seer will say so. The townspeople must then pursue justice. They can debate, and individuals may make cases against one another, argue, reason or beg for their lives, but ultimately the group must vote on someone to execute. If both hit men are executed, the town wins. If the townsfolk all die, the mafia wins.

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