Space can be limited when throwing a party for children in a small house or apartment, or when playing games in a small classroom. If you are looking for a game for a group of children, but don't have a lot of space, you have many different options. Many simple relay races and physical challenge games can be entertaining and educational, and don't require a lot of space to play.
Assign each player to a partner and have them stand back to back. Count to 10 and have the children turn around and assume a position. One version of the game requires children to choose between gorilla, slingshot, and human; the gorilla has his arms raised and emits a growl; the slingshot user makes the motion of using a slingshot and says "boing!" and the human places her hands on her hips and says "oh yeah?" Gorilla wins over human, human over slingshot, and slingshot over gorilla. You can change the three variables as you desire, or to fit a theme. The loser sits down and the winners of each round pair up with a new partner. A tie can result in either both children continuing, or both being "out."
Have all the children close their eyes. Tap one child on the shoulder. That child will be the secret murderer. Ask the children to open their eyes and begin circulating amongst themselves and shaking hands with each other. When the murderer gives an extra squeeze to one of the other children while shaking his hand, that child becomes a victim. The victim should count to 10, then act out a dramatic "death." At any point, a child can choose to pause the game and try to guess who the murderer is. If she guesses incorrectly, she becomes a victim. If the guess is correct, all of the remaining children win the game. If no one guesses correctly, the murderer and the victims win the game.
Have all of the children stand in a small circle. Each child will then take the hand of two other children who are not standing immediately next to them. After every child is holding the hand of two other children, they will have formed quite a knot of arms and bodies. Challenge them to untangle the knot without letting go of hands. Children will have to use teamwork and problem solving skills to untangle the knot.
Ask each child to hold one end of a clean, unused craft stick in his mouth and to stand in a line or circle, depending on the amount of space you have available. Place a doughnut, or a round plastic circle, on the end of the craft stick in the first child's mouth. Challenge the child to pass the doughnut to the next child in the line or circle, and then on down the line. Children cannot use their hands when passing the doughnut, only the craft sticks. If the doughnut falls to the floor, the child must pick it up using only the craft stick in her mouth.
Have each child put the end of a clean drinking straw in his mouth and stand in a line or circle, much like in the doughnut relay game. Ask the first child to inhale while you hold a tissue to the end of the straw not in his mouth, creating a slight suction that holds the tissue to the end of the straw. Challenge children to pass the tissue along the line or circle using only the straws in their mouths and the suction from inhaling on the straw. If the tissue falls to the floor, begin the game again with a fresh tissue to avoid germs that could possibly be inhaled.
Cristel Wood is a writer specializing in food, photography, gardening and video games. She holds an Associate of Arts from South Puget Sound Community College and has worked for her local Parks & Recreation department, Mt. Baker ski area, Vista Village Retirement Community and has taught ESL in Peru.