4-H Club Recreation Resources & Activities

4-H Clover Use your imagination and create your own games using new twists on old standards.


Pre-Meeting Recreational Activity GuideWord & PDF versions (Booklet Format)


 1.     4-H Publications & Resources

a.     So you’re the club’s recreation leader…, Publication 4-H 0071G /Publications/4H71G.pdf

b.    4-H Recreation Leaders’ Handbook, Publication 4-H 0072G

c.     The Game’s The Thing… /4H/Volunteers/Documents/Games.PDF  

d.     Recreation: Indiana 4-H Leader’s Guide, 4-H 686-W  http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/4H/4-H-686-W.pdf

e.     Leading Club Recreation, Activity Plan- Wisconsin 4-H Club Training Series ACTcc059 http://www.uwex.edu/ces/4h/pubs/showdoc.cfm?documentid=4087


2.     4-H Challenge - Ask trained facilitators to share 4-H Challenge resources which could be adapted and used for club recreation activities.


4-H Challenge


3.     Old standards – with variations

a.     Tag, you’re it! – Variations to the traditional game of tag: Everyone is IT. At the beginning of the game everyone is IT.  When time to start is called everyone tries to tag someone else without getting tagged themselves.  If IT tags you, you are out and have to sit down right where you were tagged. If two people tag each other at the same time they are both out.  The winner is the last IT still standing. ; Sports tag. If IT tags you, you have to stay frozen until someone saves you by tagging you and calling out a type of sport. To unfreeze you must come out of the frozen state by doing an action related to the named sport. Example: swimming-move arms in a swimming motion, soccer-footwork like moving the ball, etc.; Handshake tag. You are frozen if IT tags you.  To unfreeze another player must shake your hand and say, “Hi, I’m (name), how are you today?” You reply, “I’m (name) and I am fine.”    Beware of IT while shaking hands!

b.    Double Tag or Hook Tag: Designate boundaries and have everyone find a partner.  Each partner joins by hooking arms to connect at the elbow.  The partner pairs spread out within the boundary area and stay planted once they are in a spot. (The pairs remain stationary throughout the game unless they are hooked by NOT IT.) IT and NOT IT are selected.  To start the game, a game leader calls “Go” then IT tries to catch NOT IT. NOT IT can simply run away, within the boundary area, or can hook on to an arm of a paired partner.   The partner NOT IT hooks to becomes a new partner with NOT IT and the other partner has to now run and try not to get caught by IT.  If IT catches NOT IT then NOT IT becomes IT and the former IT becomes NOT IT and runs away.  During play the game leader can call “switch” and IT and NOT IT must reverse roles.  (Calling switch is a good way to relieve IT that is having trouble catching NOT IT.)

c.     Scavenger Hunts: Limitless ways to design scavenger hunts make this game versatile enough to use for any size club, any location, and any timeframe.  The hunt can be for one item or hundreds of items, collectors can hunt solo or in groups, and hunts can take place indoors, in the country, or throughout a town.  Scavenger hunts can be educational, just for fun or as a club community service project.  (Example of community service: teams are divided and given the task to collect non-perishable items for a local food bank.  Groups can be given a predetermined list of items and a week or month to collect them OR the groups can be given a few hours to collect any non-perishable food items.) Bring Me, is a variation of a scavenger hunt that can be played inside.  Clues are given by a group leader and then each group has to guess what the item is and bring it forward.  Click here for an example of a Bring Me game.    

d.    Dragon Tail. Everyone is given a tail, bandana or strips of material, to put in back pocket or hanging out of waistband.  Predetermined length of the tail must be visible. The tails have to hang free and players cannot hide or hold onto the tail.  IT does not have a tail and tries to take a tail from another player.  Once IT takes a tail away from another player that player without a tail becomes IT and tries to get a different tail. A tail cannot be taken back from the same person who just took it. 

e.     Octopus. A rectangular boundary area is selected with two safe ends.  The safe ends are the beaches and the area in the middle is the ocean.  An octopus is selected and stands in the middle of the ocean.  All other players start at the same beach.  When the game leader calls “swim” all players must run across the ocean to the other beach.  The octopus can move about the ocean and tag as many players as possible before they reach the other beach. If they make it to the beach without the octopus tagging them they are safe.  If the octopus tags them they must stop in the spot they were tagged and remain in that place.  The tagged players become the octopus tentacles and although they can’t move their feet they can move their arms and tag other players as they run by.   Once all players are tagged or at the safe beach, the game leader calls “swim” again and all free players must try to reach the other beach without being tagged by the octopus or the tentacles.  Play continues until only one player is left untagged.  That untagged player can become the octopus for another round of play. 

f.     Snowball-less Snowball fight:  Use old newspapers to make paper balls.  Divide the group in half and give each group the same number of paper snowballs.  Place a dividing line between the two groups.  When the games leader calls “Go”, each team starts throwing the paper snowballs to the other side.  Snowballs can be picked up and re-thrown.  At the end of a predetermined amount of time the games leader calls “stop.”  The winning team is the team with the least amount of snowballs on their half. 

g.    Relay Games: Unlimited possibilities with relays. Outside on a hot day, use paper cups with a hole in the bottom and have teams transfer water from one end of the relay line to the other.  Inside, use small items to pass from one end of the relay line to the other.  Depending on your group and location a variety of items could be passed… ice cubes, plastic fishing worms, squishy balls, Frisbees, hats, potatoes, etc.  The items could be passed a number of ways also… hand to hand, head to head, thrown, rolled, use your imagination. 


4.     Resource Recreation Books

a.     The Bottomless Bag Again?, by Karl Rohnke

b.    Quicksliver, by Karl Rohnke and Steve Butler

c.     Cowstails and Cobras II, by Karl Rohnke

d.    Silver Bullets, by Karl Rohnke

e.     Teamwork & Teamplay, by Jim Cain & Barry Jolliff

f.     50 Ways To Use Your Noodle, by Chris Cavert & Sam Sikes

g.    50 More Ways to Use Your Noodle, by Chris Cavert & Sam Sikes

h.     Great Group Games, by Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor

i.      The Book On Raccoon Circles, by Dr. Jim Cain and Dr. Tom Smith

j.      Games for All Ages 100 Fun Activities Everyone Can Play, Copyright ©2002 Group Publishing, Inc.

k.     The New Games Book, Created and produced by the Headlands Press, Inc.

l.      K!ds’ Team!, Copyright ©1991 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cooperative Extension


5.     Internet Game Resources

a.     Food for Fitness and Fun, Activities: /food/activities/index.htm

b.    Food for Fitness and Fun,

c.     Index to Group Activities, Games, Exercises & Initiatives: http://www.wilderdom.com/games/

d.    FUN-ATTIC The Great Game List: http://www.funattic.com/game_list.htm

e.     Games Kids Play: http://www.gameskidsplay.net/

f.     Zoom, games by kids for kids: http://pbskids.org/zoom/games/


6.     Purchased games – Store-bought games can be a good way to engage club members in a recreational activity.  Depending on the size of the club games can be played in a tournament style or a variety of different games played simultaneously. 

a.     Cards – Crazy Eights, War, Kings in the Corner, Hand and Foot, 500, Black Jack, Speed, Rummy, Go Fish, Spoons, etc. are all games which can be played with a standard deck of cards.  Specialized Decks: Uno, Boom, Old Maid, Pit, Sum ‘r Set, Phase 10, etc.

b.    Dominos – Chicken foot, Mexican Train, a number of domino games and rules can be found on the following webpage: http://www.domino-games.com/

c.     Board Games – Backgammon, chess, checkers, Scrabble, Monopoly, Risk, Boggle, etc.

d.    Boxed Games – Apples to Apples, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Pictionary, etc.


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