How to Lead Games
While this may seem to be a simple task, teaching games to either your troop or at an event, can become a bit over whelming based upon your level of experience. I am by far, no a Game Instructor, but I have led enough games to know when I am in control and when I am not. It is through these experiences that I have learned ‘tactics’ that have worked best for me.
Like songs, games are another element of Girl Scouting that seems to be a natural part of the experience. It also has another great quality, you can virtually teach any type of game in any type of environment. Whether it is indoors or outdoors, races or quiet games, you can rest assure the most significant factor in a game, is in the leadership.
#1. Preparing to Lead Games.
Know your games thoroughly. This cannot be emphasized enough. Plan not only what games you are going to do, but how you are going to present them. Games require almost as much thought, as you would plan a presentation. You should be well versed in each game, its rules or requirements, items or objects needed (if any) and a copy of the game to fall back on in case of memory loss. You also want to vary your games. Active games are great, but add some quiet games in as well. This will keep the environment from becoming far too energetic. Other important factors to remember in leading games are; space requirement, the number of people involved, the age level(s) of the participants, and the average length of each game.
#2. Explaining the Game
The most important part in explaining a game is having the undivided attention of the group participating. There are many ways of getting their attention. For small groups, the Girl Scout Sign should be enough. Larger groups, whether indoors or out, you can use the classic ‘two bits’– (*the leaders calls–dut dut-dut dut-dut, the group replies DUT-DUT!). Last (and this should be used in outdoor environments with either a very large group for relays and races only) – use a whistle.
Once you have the group’s attention, begin explaining the game. You should have your voice loud enough to be heard from the back row, yet speaking slowly enough and distinctly enough so they can hear you the first time. Make sure you have seen or performed the game before hand or have a few people demonstrate the basics (step by step), if you feel it would greatly aid in getting the girls to understand.
Another important factor is to have assistance. Whether it is other leaders, older girl scouts, or parents, make sure they are aware of the game before hand as well. Use their help in spreading the knowledge of the game and its rules. Once the game is in play – let the girls be girls. Shouting and screaming (to a point) is part of the excitement, just making sure you can still gain control of the situation at any time. Remember to encourage fairness and sportsmanship and last but not least, DON’T wear the game out. QUIT while they are still having fun.