Game: Popcorn Name Game!


Looking for a fun, inclusive and simple name game for school age kiddies?  Try Popcorn!  It’s a simplified adaptation for from a leadership development game found in one of Michael Brandwein‘s summer camp staff training books (excellent resources, by the way)!

In his books, Brandwein speaks about name games can often be competitive and stressful. Not everyone can remember a name after hearing it once — especially if they are nervous or distracted by new people, places, learning rules to the game.

And we all know that at least a couple kids will already be fixated on the “big girls” doing big tricks.

The Popcorn game takes the stress out of it, and gives lots of time to learn and practice each other’s name while doing a fairly simple task of keeping the ball in the air. It’s also collaborative, so it hits on team building. Plus, participants are never “tested” to make sure they know everyone’s name — a huge relief for those with “name-stress”.


– 1 or 2 beach ball (or balloons for younger kids)

How to Play:
There are several levels to this game. Work your way through each level. If the kids are successful, move along to the next stage.

Level 1
Working together, keep the beach ball in the air as long as possible. After a few practices, aim for a realistic number of hits (15-20 perhaps? This will depend on your time frame and the kids abilities).

Level 2
Repeat level 1, but now you must call your own name out loud when you hit the ball up in the air.
(Coaches may need to role model loud & clear voices)

Level 3
Repeat level 2, but now after you call your own name, the group must repeat it back to you.
(Coaches may need to role model loud & clear voices)

Level 4
Continue level 3, but stop calling your own name and let the group call your name when you hit the ball.
(Coaches may need to role model loud & clear voices)

Level 5
Continue playing, but add a second beach ball (or balloon) for added excitement. See how long you can keep going!

And voila! The Popcorn Game. It’s super simple, but effective. I like to play this first thing during Summer Camp or March Break Camp — there is so much value in knowing names – for kids and staff (but that’s a whole other post!).



If you are interested in learning more ice-breakers and other games, check out the Email Round Table that is on now! By sharing your fav game you get access to the games submitted by everyone else!  Deadline is Feb 23, 2016.
For more info on the Email Round Table, click HERE! 🙂



Looking for 100+ games to keep in your back pocket — ready to be pulled out on a moment’s notice? Check out the Little Back Pocket Book of Games (for Gymnastics Coaches).

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