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YMCA of Central Stark County

To put Christian Principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Down Time

Check out these helpful resources below. If you have anything you would like to add, please email mscarpino@ymcastark.org 












  • “If you can hear my voice clap once…If you can hear my voice clap twice….”
  • Blow the train whistle twice:  “Shhhhhhhh Shhhhhh”
  • Throw an object in the air.  Anytime it is out of your hand everyone screams
  •  “Aussie Aussie Aussie” “Oi Oi Oi”
  • “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea” “Sponge Bob Square Pants!”
  • “Marco” “Polo”
  • “A hush fell over the crowed” “hhhhuuuuusssshhhhhhhhh”
  • “Shark Bait” “Woo Ha Ha”
  • “Pretty Please” That means Freeze”




ice breakers

Find Your Partner

Cooperation Tag


Have you ever?

People to People

Silent Interviews

Ten Fingers

Change 5 Things


The Kids From Mars

Whoops Johnny






Here are some fun questions to ask your group when you have some down time.

- If you could go anywhere in time in a time machine where would you want to go?

- If you could have one super power what would it be? Why?

- If you could be drawn into any cartoon which one would you choose?

- If you could be any animal what would you be?

- If a game show offered you $1,000 to eat a bowl of live crickets would you?

- If you could create a new television show for the Disney Channel what would it be?

- If you could be famous for anything what would you want to be famous for?

-If you could only watch 3 movies for the next year which would you choose?

- If you could invent one thing what would it be?

- If you had to paint your room one color what color would you pick?

- If you could listen to only 1 band for the next year which would you pick?

- If you could only have 1 kind of ice cream for a year which would you pick?

- If you had the power to stop time for 24 hours what would you do.

- If you only needed one hour of sleep per day what would you do with the rest of your time during the middle of the night?

- If you could be the most gifted athlete in 1 sport which would you choose?

- If you found a book of magic spells who would you tell?

- If you could talk to one kind of animal which would you choose?

- If you could meet anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?

-If you could have had the starring role in one film already made, which movie would you pick?

-If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?

-If you could eliminate one thing you do each day in the bathroom so that you never had to do it again, what would it be?

-If you could have any job in the world, which one would you want?

-If you could be one for just 24 hours, what cereal box cartoon character would you be? Why?

- If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be and why? If you already play an instrument(s), what do you play and why?

-If you owned a CB radio what would your "handle" be?

-If you were given 24 hrs to live, what would you do?

-If you were in the "Miss America" talent competition, what would your talent be?

-If you could spend 15 minutes with any living person, who would it be and why?

-If you were to write a book what would it be about?

-If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

-If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

-If you could be any animal in the world for 24 hours, which animal would you be?

-If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be?

-If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?






Never give the “mind reading” secrets away. If the kids learn the secret then that “mind reading” game is dead. Keep it all a secret. They can learn how to “read minds” when they become staff.

Black Magic

The Name Game


Stick Numbers

Yes or No

Orange Kangaroo Game

Click Click Bang Bang

Green Glass Door







The kids can ask as many yes/no questions as they need to. Every once in a while you may need to give them a clue to keep the group interested.


Scenario: A man is sentenced to death. He must choose between three rooms, and if he chooses the correct room he may live. The first room is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years.  Which door should did he choose?

Answer:He picks the third door. Since the lion’s haven’t eaten in 3years, they are already dead.


Scenario:John, Susan, Oscar and Wanda all live in the same house.John and Susan go out to a movie. When they return,Wanda is lying dead on the floor in a puddle of water andglass. It is obvious that Oscar killed Wanda, but Oscar isnot prosecuted or severely punished. Why not?

Answer:Wanda is a gold fish and Oscar is a cat.


Scenario:A father and his son are in a car accident. They are bothrushed to a hospital. The doctor looks at the boy and says, "Icannot operate on this boy, he's my son." How can this be?

Answer: The doctor is the boy’s mother.


Scenario:A train pulls into a station, but none of the passengers move Why?

Answer:It’s a model train set


Scenario:A man pushes his car in front of a hotel. He says that he isbroke and out. What happened?

Answer:He is playing Monopoly.


Scenario:A man is lying, dead, face down in the desert wearing abackpack.

Answer:He’s a skydiver and his parachute failed to open.


Scenario:Joe wants to go home, but he can't, because there’s man ina mask waiting for him at home. What’s going on?

Answer:It’s a baseball game and the catcher isguarding home base.


Scenario:During an archaeological dig in the Antarctic, the frozen bodies of a man and woman are found. One of the archaeologists realizes that the remains are those of Adam and Eve. How does he know?

Answer:The bodies didn’t have bellybuttons.


Scenario:A man walks into a bar and asks for a drink. The bartenderpulls out a gun and points it at him. The man says, "Thankyou," and walks out.

Answer:The man has the hiccups and the bartender scares them away.


Scenario:A black dog is sleeping in the middle of a black road, there areno

streetlights or  moon. A car coming down theroad with its lights off steers around the dog. How did thedriver know the dog was there?

The Answer:It’s daytime.






Action Syllables

Bippity Boppity Boo 

Name Relation Games


Who am I?

Name Roullette






Q. How many letters are in the alphabet?( 11 letters in “the alphabet”)


Q. If you were running a race, and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now? (2nd place, not first)


Q. How many sides does a circle have? (Two, an inside and an outside)


Q. How many animals of each species did Moses take in the Ark? (None. It was Noah’s Ark.)


Q. You have one match and enter a cabin with a wood burning stove, a candle and a kerosene lamp. What do you light first? (The match)


Q. Seven months of the year have 31 days, how many months have 28 days? (They all have at least 28 days)


Q. If a plane crashed on the border of California and Nevada, where would they bury the survivors? (You don’t bury survivors)


Q. You’re driving a bus with 21 people on board. At the first stop 3 people get off and 6 get on. At the second stop 8 people get off and 4 get on. At the third, and final, stop everyone gets off the bus. What is the name of the driver? (Your name. You are the one driving the bus.)


Q. What word can be written forward, backward or upside down, and can still be read from left to right? (NOON)


Q. He who makes it, sells it. He who buys it, doesn’t use it. He who uses it, doesn’t know it. What is it? (A Coffin.)


Q. What gets wetter the more it dries? (A towel)


Q. When I point up it’s bright, but when I point down it’s dark. What am I? (A light switch)


Q. I'm not an airplane, but I can fly through the sky. I'm not a river, but I'm full of water. What am I? (A Cloud)


Q. What has a head, a tail, is brown, and has no legs? (A penny)


Q. If Mr. Green’s rooster lays an egg in Mr. Brown’s yard who’s egg is it? (Roosters don’t lay eggs)


Q. Do they have 4th of July in England? (Yes. They also have 5th of July and 6th of July…)Q. How can you throw a ball so that it goes a short distance, comes to a stop, and then goes back the opposite way? (Throw it straight up in the air.)






- A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.

-We surely shall see the sun shine soon.

-Two toads, totally tired.

-Selfish shellfish.

-How much wood would a woodchuck chuck If a woodchuck could chuck wood?

 A woodchuck could chuck all the wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

-Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair, Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy, was he?

-Red and yellow rubber baby buggy bumper.

-A big black bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose.

-How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?

-The 33 thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday

-Stupid superstition!

-If Stu chews shoes, should Stu choose the shoes he chews?

-Seventy seven benevolent elephants

-Santa's Short Suit Shrunk

-Six sleek swans swam swiftly southwards

-Pirates Private Property

-Two tried and true tridents

-Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

-I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop. Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits

-How many boards could the Mongols hoard, if the Mongol hordes got bored?

-How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?

-Denise sees the fleece, Denise sees the fleas. At least Denise could sneeze and feed and freeze the fleas.

-Send toast to ten tense stout saints' ten tall tents.

-Coy knows pseudonoise codes

-Sheena leads, Sheila needs.

-The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.

-Seth at Sainsbury's sells thick socks.

-Roberta ran rings around the Roman ruins.

-Six sick hicks nick six slick bricks with picks and sticks

-I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won't wish the wish you wish to wish.

-Stupid superstition!

-There was a fisherman named Fisherm, who fished for some fish in a fissure,
Till a fish with a grin, pulled the fisherman in. Now they're fishing the fissure for fisher.

-Seventy seven benevolent elephants






Kids love answering “would you rather…” questions. These will get you started, and then add in some of your own.

...drink Pepsi or Coke?

...have ice cream or cake?

...have the ability to fly or be invisible?

...have only one leg or only one arm?

...go on a hike or watch television?

...be covered with cockroaches or spiders?

...be a movie star or a rock star?

...watch the Disney channel or Nickelodeon?

...be really hot or really cold?

...live without television or music?

...have a cat or a dog?

...eat pizza with thin crust or thick crust?

...be inside on a sunny day or outside on a rainy day?

...eat at McDonalds or Taco Bell?

...be a rich Muggle or a poor Wizard?

...live in a mountain cabin or a beach house?

...have lots of good friends or one great friend?

…be poor w/ a job you love or rich w/ a job you hate?

…take an ice cold shower or not shower for a week?

…eat a stick of butter of tablespoon of salt?

…be 4’5” or 7’7”?

…be the best player of a bad team or the worst player on a great team?

…give bad advice or receive bad advice?

…be really hairy or completely bald?

…wear pajamas all day or a suit?

…go without internet for a month or walk everywhere for a month?

…sit all day or stand all day?

…be rich and single or poor with true love?

…be super strong or super fast?

…be the most popular or the smartest kid in school?

…lose half your hair or half your hearing?

…go to jail for a year of live in a car for a year?

…Go back in time and meet your ancestors or go into the future and meet your grandkids?

… date your secret crush, or a celebrity?

… have free Starbucks for a year, or free I Tunes for a year?

…be famous, or be best friends with someone famous

…have a baby penguin or baby monkey

…be weird, or completely average

…work in a group or work alone







Find Your Partner: Tell the children to close their eyes. Give each child a card with a picture on it (of an animal, color, shape...etc.)  When you say, "go," the children have to open their eyes and find a person with a matching card, without showing the card or talking. When they find their match they run to a designated area.



Cooperation Tag: One person is it. Be sure to have a designated playing area. When the game begins, the person who is it chases people and tries to tag them. A person is safe from being tagged as long as they are holding the object (pick any random object i.e. a softball). When a person is tagged without holding the object, they become it. Then the game continues.


Clump:  Have everyone stand at least five feet apart, so that when you spread out your arms, you're not touching anyone else's arms. The leader then shouts out: "Clump of [some number]" Everyone then has to huddle together in a group huddle or "clump" of that many people. There should usually be people left over because there aren't enough people to form a full clump. If you can't form a clump, then you're out! The game ends with a clump of two, and those two win the round!



Have you ever?: Everyone stands or sits in a circle in front of a place marker, such as a book bag, chair, or other objects. The one person without a chair or a place marker is "it". The "it" will say something about themselves. For example, "Have you ever gone swimming in the Atlantic Ocean?" Anyone in the circle that has that in common must move to a new spot in the circle. Each move has to be at least two place markers or chairs from where they started. Whoever is left without a place marker will be it and will tell something about themselves.



People to People: Pair up in groups of two and stand back to back. Make sure participants introduce themselves to one another. Then the leader will say different combinations that the group has to try to get to while staying back to back (right hand to right hand, left foot to right foot, head to head, right hand to left leg, etc…). The pairs must maintain all called combination until they switch partner. Once the leader says People to People they will then go switch partners. If you have an odd number of participants, the odd person is the leader. Once pairs switch, the odd person out is the new leader.



Silent Interviews: Divide the group into pairs - try to make mix the group into pairs of folks who don't know each other well. Ask the participants to introduce themselves to their partner. Instruct the group that from this point forward, speaking is not allowed. This includes whispering, mouthing words, and making sounds, too! Inform the group that they must tell their partner 3 things about themselves without speaking, similar to a charades game. These things cannot be physical characteristics.  Once all of the partners have finished miming to each other, call everyone back into a circle. Ask for each pair to verbally introduce their partner to the group, as well as the three things that they learned (or think they learned).



Ten Fingers: 
This activity is great for the first day or just when ever your group has free time. It works best with more people, and everyone should be honest when playing. Have everyone sit in a circle or close enough to be able to hear everyone. Tell them to hold up all 10 fingers. A counselor can start off by stating one fact about themselves. For ex: "I have never been to Florida." or "I have blue eyes." Then the participants who haven’t been to Florida, or don't have blue eyes, will put one finger down. This will continue around the circle, having each person share one fact about themselves until someone is all out of fingers. It’s better to try and use less obvious, unique facts about yourself because there is a chance that more people will have to put a finger down if they can't relate to your fact. Whoever has the most fingers left at the end of everyone’s' turn wins! This is a great way to pass the time and learn about each other while having simple fun.



Change 5 Things: Everyone gets a partner and picks an area to stand in. The two partners stand back to back where one is assigned to be the “guesser” and one is assigned to be the “changer.” Allow the “guesser” to look at the “changer” for a few moments, then return to being back to back. The “changer” will change 5 things about their appearance. Once everyone is ready, the pair faces each other again, the “guesser” attempts to see what is different about the “changer.”



Mingle/Mingle: The whole group is in a large area. When the facilitator yells out the word “mingle” every one walks around saying “mingle, mingle, mingle.”  The facilitator yells out a category such as favorite ice cream, pizza toppings, cartoons, ect. Participants must than form groups according to their likes, I.E. all chocolate ice creams should be together.



The Kids From Mars: Set up two boundaries across from each other on a flat playing surface. Choose two participants to be “The Kids From Mars”. They are it and should begin the game in the middle of the two boundaries. The rest of the players should line up along one of the boundaries facing “The Kids From Mars”. Play begins when “The Kids From Mars” chant "We're the kids from Mars, we'll steal your candy bars, if you're wearing..." and they will choose a color or some item that the players are wearing. Any player wearing that item or color must attempt to run across the playing field to get to the opposite boundary. If they are tagged before they reach the other side, they must sit in that spot and become a helper for the rest of the game. They can tag players who run past them but they must remain seated. Those who make it across without being tagged wait behind that boundary line until “The Kids From Mars” call out the chant again. Play continues until everyone is tagged or there are only two players that haven’t been tagged. For safety, only let children run in one direction at a time.



Whoops Johnny: Tell the group to do exactly what you do. Raise your hand with your palm facing you. Starting with the little finger, touch the fingers one by one and say "Johnny" at each finger. Next, slide down the index finger and up the thumb while saying, “Whoops”. At the thumb, say “Johnny”. Then reverse the steps going the other way. It should sound like this: “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Whoops,

Johnny, Whoops, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny” At the end cross your arms. Have the kids try watch you and then try it. In order for them to be correct they must cross their arms at the end.





Name Games

Action Syllables With the group standing in a circle, have the participants each choose an action for each syllable of their name. Example: Elvis has 2 syllables, so he does a “hi shake” with “EL” and snaps his fingers for “vis” once Elvis has done his action while saying his name, the whole group repeats. After the 2nd person does his/her name, the whole group repeats, then does Elvis’s again. Continue.



Bippity Boppity Boo  Everyone stands or sits in a circle with the one “it” person in the middle. The “it” then walks up to a person and says “Me, Bippity Boppity, Boo.”  The person in the circle has to say “it’s” name before “it” finishes saying “Bippity Boppity Boo.” If they say the name correctly, the “It” continues going to other people in the circle. If they make a mistake or don’t say the name in time, they become the new “It”.  You can add variations like: “You, Bippity, Boppity, Boo”. “Left, Bippity Boppity Boo”, or “Right Bippity Boppity Boo.”



Name Relation Games    Get the group standing in a circle. Then start out by saying your name and a food that begins with the same letter. Then the next person does theirs, plus yours. Then the third person does theirs, the second’s and the first’s name and food. It then moves on down on down the line, so that the last person has to do everyone within the group. Different variations of this can be played but it is great for getting the group to know one another and their names.



Peek-A-Who  Split into two teams. Each team sits behind one side of a sheet out of view of the other side. One person from each side will sit facing the sheet. When the sheet is lowered, the team that says the name of the person on the opposite side first gets that player on their team. The game ends when everyone is on the same side.



Who am I?  The group forms a circle. One person is chosen to be the guesser and they go into the middle of the circle. The guesser is blindfolded or asked to keep their eyes closed. The game begins with a counselor spinning the guesser around in a circle. The group is asked to spin around in a circle as well, but in the in the other direction. When the spinning stops, the guesser point in the direction of one of the people in the circle and says the name of an animal. That person must make the noise that that animal makes. The guesser will then try to guess who the person is by the sound of their voice.



Name Roullette:To play this game you need to form two equal circles, one inside the other. Set the circles up so one person from each circle is physically standing back to back to one member from the other circle. (I use a spot on the ground to mark the spot for each circle.) These circles both start moving in clockwise motion, ensuring each member of the circle passes through the "spot". Someone who is not in either one of the circles and not facing them, will call stop. At that point the people on each spot must turn around and face each other. The person who names the other wins




Mind Reading

Black Magic: This mind reading trick requires 2 people. One person (the mind reader) will go out of the room and the second (the accomplice) will stay in the room with the kids. One of the kids chooses an object in the room. The object can be anything. Once everyone knows what the chosen object is, the MR returns to the room. The MR asks which kid chose the object. With showmanship he should then try to “read the kid’s mind”. Play this up. The accomplice asks the MR to choose the correct object, by giving him/her options.  Here is an example of how it will sound:

Accomplice: Is it that door?                     Mind Reader: No.

Accomplice: Is it Kevin’s hair?                  Mind Reader: No.

Accomplice: Is it that (black) notebook?    Mind Reader: No

Accomplice: Is it Jenny’s hat?                   Mind Reader: Yes.

The MR will know what the chosen object is because it comes after the black object. That’s the secret of Black Magic.



The Name Game: This impressive “mind reading” trick requires a partner and some practice, but it’s worth it. The MR goes out of ear shot of the group. One of the kids tells the other leader (the accomplice) a name of someone famous. The MR returns and attempts to read the mind of the kid who chose the secret name. The MR then announces the name of the famous person.

Secret: The accomplice pretends to give support to the MR as he attempts to guess the secret name. The phrases are actually cryptic clues to the name. Example: Tom Cruise —The accomplice spells out the name through his or her support phrases. The first letter of each phrase spells out the name.

1. C’mon you can get it. 2. Read his/her mind. 3. Unlock his/her thoughts. 4. I think you have it. 5. So close. 6. Everyone quiet.



Brain: This mind reading trick requires 2 people. The MR leaves the room and “the accomplice” stays in the room with the kids. Five objects are placed in front of the group. The group chooses an object and the MR is called back into the room. The MR chooses the correct object.

Secret:Five objects are laid out in a line each represents 1 letter in “BRAIN”.

Object 1= “B” Object 2= “R” Object 3= “A” Object 4= “I” Object 5= “N”

When the accomplice calls in the MR he or she uses a phrase that starts with the correct letter. For example, for the 2nd object the accomplice will yell out “Ready! You can come back in.” or anything else that starts with R, which represents the 2nd object.



Stick Numbers: Stick Numbers is a game in which all the players can learn to " readm the mind" of the asker. The asker must gather a few small objects, such as sticks, tableware or pencils. The asker begins by telling the group, "I am going to indicate a number between one and ten by what I do." She then arranges the objects on a table or the floor. She should place them carefully so it looks like the way she is arranging them is important. She then asks the group what number she is indicating. The number, however, has nothing to do with the way she arranges the objects; she indicates it by the number of fingers she places on the table or the floor near the objects when she is finished arranging them. As different members of the group figure out the secret, they can take turns being the asker until everyone sees how it works.



Yes or No: Yes or No is another game that requires two players who both know the secret, a mind reader and an asker. The mind reader leaves the room, and the group decides on a question that can be answered with yes or no. The group also agrees on what the correct answer is. The mind reader then returns to the room and places his hands on the temples of the asker. The asker clenches his jaw to give the mind reader the answer: one clench means yes and two mean no. The mind reader can feel the clenches although the rest of the group cannot see it.



Orange Kangaroo Game: This mind reading game involves choosing a country, an animal and a fruit. It takes two people to play, and players must know their math facts, because it also involves a little multiplication, addition and subtraction. The game begins with one person writing on a piece of paper secret words. Fold the paper and give it to the second player. Your partner will choose a number from one to nine. The selected number will be multiplied by nine and then added together. If the new number becomes higher than nine, they will have to subtract five from it. With the new number, the second player figures out what alphabet letter is associated with their number; for instant, A is #1, B is #2. The letter associated with their number will be used to name a country. After a country has been selected, your partner will select an animal that starts with the last letter in the country named. The final step involves selecting a fruit that starts with the last letter of the animal that was chosen. The surprise comes when your partner looks at the piece of folded paper and finds their answers match that which is on the paper. 



Click Click Bang Bang: The leader points at someone and says “Click”, points to someone else and says ”Click”, points at yet another person

and says “Bang”, and finally points at someone else and says “Bang”. The leader stops and asks, “Who got shot?” The kids will make guesses but will most likely be stumped. The leader tells them who is “It”. The leader does “Click, Click, Bang, Bang” again pointing at different people and the kids guess again. Secret: The first person to speak after the leader says “click, click, bang, bang” is the one who got shot.



Green Glass Door: Tell participants that we are going on a picnic and in order to come on the picnic, they need to go through the green glass door. To get through the green glass door each participant must bring something to the picnic. What they can bring to the picnic depends on the first letter of their first name. Each person may only bring objects to the picnic that start with the letter of their first name. For example: The facilitator (whose name is Sam) would start by saying. "I am going through the green glass door and I'm bringing Sandwiches, but I am not bringing the watermelon. What are you bringing Larry?"Larry might respond by saying I'm going to bring the potato salad, but I am not going to bring the juice. In which case the facilitator might say, I'm sorry Larry, you can't bring the potato salad, but Patty, you could bring the potato salad. Continue doing this until everyone catches on to the rule