Giant Games

One of the most underutilized resources for camps is ‘gap times’ and ‘gap spaces’.

Gap times are those 5-25 minute slots that happen between the official scheduling.  It is the time before breakfast, or between free time and chapel, or after supper before the next game is ready.  Camp weeks are filled will little sections of time that really can’t be scheduled, and where campers usually just end up sitting around waiting for the next event to take place.  While these times are occasionally useful for counselors to get in some conversations, the majority of campers could benefit from a way to fill them.

Gap spaces are those areas around camp that don’t have specific uses.  Camps have game fields, ropes courses, gathering spots, etc.; they also have a multiple small spaces that just exist without clear purpose.  The strip of lawn in front of cabins is gap space, the areas to the sides of most buildings are gap spaces, sometimes the concrete parking lot near the chapel acts as a gap space during the week.  These are great areas that add to the camp feel, but are definitely underutilized.

To better utilize these gaps, certain activities can be made available.  These activities need to be options that are always around, don’t require much set-up, and can be accomplished fairly quickly.  Most camps already have games like carpetball and tetherball that fit these requirements, but giant games are another great addition.

Giant games are simply common old games that are enlarged for the camp setting.  They use the simplicity of these old-fashioned games to make them easily accessible to campers, and the large scale of ‘giant’ to give them a particularly novel feel that can truly only be duplicated in the campsite setting.  Games like checkers, connect four, and jenga are easy choices for giant games.  They have very simple rules, can be easily built into giant form, and are finished quickly.  The game boards can be painted onto concrete, or built to  be permanent, or even kept in large tubs or boxes that can easily be placed outdoors when needed.

A list of just a few games that can be transformed into giant games for your campsite:

  1. Checkers
  2. Chess*
  3. Jenga
  4. Mancala
  5. Connect Four
  6. Dominos*
  7. Yahtzee*
  8. Twister
  9. Pick-up Sticks
  10. Kerplunk
  11. Card games*
  12. Mouse Trap*

*These games aren’t necessarily quick enough to fit this category, but are wonderful additions nonetheless.  If anyone ever figures out how to do giant mouse trap, please send me pictures and information as I know this would be a favorite if it was ever made into a reality.


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