If you've ever had a job as a camp counselor or youth leader, you've learned the importance of improvising, whether it's because one game ended too soon or an outdoor activity was rained out. It's important to always have an game or activity in your back pocket to pull out when you need a way to keep your group entertained. This is a ridiculously easy and fun way to fill the time. It can keep children and adults occupied for a long time.
Have all the participants remove their shoes and place them in the center of the gym or play space.
Divide the partipants into two equal teams and have them stand at the wall of the gym farthest from the shoe pile. At this point, the facilitator should go to the pile of shoes and mix them up, so that the pairs of each shoe are far from each other. It should take a bit of work to pull out a matching pair of shoes.
Once the shoes are thoroughly mixed up in the pile, make sure all the participants are at the ready. It's a good idea to have the lead of each team behind a line so that neither team will have a head start.
Blow the whistle. The first person on each team must run to the pile of shoes, find his shoes, put them on, tie them and run back to his team. He must then tag the hand of the next runner, who will run to the pile and find her shoes. The process repeats until all the members of one team have retrieved their shoes. The first team to accomplish this wins.
To make the game more difficult, have the participants tie their shoes before putting them in the pile. When a participant runs to the pile during the game, he must untie the shoes, put them on and retie them before running back to his team. To make the game easier for younger participants especially, you may appoint a few people to sit with the pile and help tie shoes. You may also appoint someone to monitor participants as they run to the pile to make sure that shoes are tied before participants run back to their teams.
As with any gym game, make sure to have a first aid kit on hand in case anyone gets hurt. Common injuries in this game result from participants tripping over untied shoes.