Games Your Kids Will Never Tire of Playing-Kick the Can

June 10, 2013


Games Your Kids Will Never Tire of PlayingThis is a fun, outside game that combines elements of hide and seek and tag! It can be played with as few as three players.

You need a big space with some open areas and lots of hiding places. You will also need something to act as base like a frizbee and a can or bucket.

Here’s how to play:

Set Up

Find a central, open area for the base. Put the can on top of it. Designate a jail area close by but not blocking the base.

Choose one player to be It and one player to be the designated kicker.

To Start the Game

Players start the game at base. The designated kicker kicks the can as far as they can. It runs after the can and returns the can to base. All other players (including the kicker) run and hide.

To Play the Game

Once It has returned the can to base, he/she will start looking for hidden players. When It finds a player, he/she must call out that player’s name and location.

  • If It is wrong, the Hider stays hidden and It continues looking for hidden players.
  • If It is right, both players race to the can.
    • If It gets to the can first, It jumps over the can and the Hider must go to jail.
    • If the Hider gets to the can first, the Hider kicks the can. It must go get the can and bring the can back to base and all players in jail are freed and can hide again.

Note: If at any point in the game a Hider (who has been seen or not) kicks the can, all players are free. This makes the game more interesting because the Hiders may choose to come out of hiding to get a change to kick the can and free their fellow Hiders. If It notices a Hider racing for the can, It can try and get their first. If It jumps over the can before the Hider gets there, the Hider goes to jail.

To End the Game

There two possible ways to end the game.

1. The game or round ends when all Hiders are caught. The first one to be caught then becomes It.

2. The game or round ends when all but one Hider are caught. The last Hider is the winner and becomes It if play continues.

How to Explain Roles to Players

If You’re “It”:

  1. Stand by while another player kicks the can as far as possible.
  2. Retrieve and put the can back on the base.
  3. Start looking for hidden players.
  4. Capture Hiders by calling out their names and their hiding places.
  5. Race Hiders back to the can.
  6. Jump over the can if you get back first. That Hider goes to jail.
  7. Run after the can and put back on base if Hider kicks the can away.
  8. Start looking for another hidden player.
  9. Be aware of “uncaptured” Hiders trying to kick the can and free players from jail. If you see one, race them to the can.
  10. Continue until you have all the players in jail.

If You’re a “Hider”:

  1. Select someone to kick the can as far as possible.
  2. Hide.
  3. Watch for an opportunity to race back and kick the can before It gets there, freeing other players from jail.
  4. If It calls your name and location, race to the can and kick the can before It get there.
  5. Go to jail if It jumps over the can before you get there.
  6. Wait in jail until you are rescued – that is, until someone kicks the can.
  7. Run away and hide again when the can is kicked and you are released from jail.
  8. Be It for the next game if you were captured first

Tips for Game Play:

  • It must retrieve the can and bring it back to base whenever the can is kicked (regardless of what is happening in the game.)
  • Hiders don’t have to stay in one location. They can move around from one location to another and even run back to base to kick the can in order to free their fellow players from jail.
  • Honesty is assumed. When It calls out a Hiders name and location correctly, Hider must run. Hider can’t pretend they didn’t hear, or were in a different location or that It was wrong. When It calls out a Hiders name and location and the Hider does not run back to base, it is because It was wrong, not because the Hider is cheating.
  • When It calls out a location, It must be sufficiently descriptive. For example, “John behind the really big pine tree.” Leaders can help here by giving kids examples of descriptive statements. “John behind the tree” is an example of a location that is not descriptive enough. Also, It needs only be close enough in their location, rather than exactly right.

Reasons Why I Love this Game:

  1. All children play at the same time. No one is left out.
  2. Kids who are jailed aren’t out entirely; they can get back into the game.
  3. It is easy to learn and simple to play.
  4. It is easy to include new players into the game, even in the middle of the game.
  5. It is a versatile outdoor game – it can be played almost anywhere as long as there is an open space and lots of hiding spaces, requires little equipment, and can be played with almost any number of children.

Have fun!


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About Janelle

I am passionate about Jesus and kids and the people who work with kids in the church. I want to help empower children’s ministry volunteers – especially those who work in small and rural churches.

View all posts by Janelle

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