CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 31. . . .April 16, 2010
The 175 Best Camp Games: A Handbook for Leaders.
Kathleen Fraser, Laura Fraser & Mary Fraser. Illustrated by Bernice Lum.
Erin, ON: The Boston Mills Press (Distributed by Firefly Books), 2009.
160 pp., pbk. & hc., $19.95 (pbk.), $29.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55046-505-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55046-516-7 (hc.).
Professional: Preschool and up.
Review by Claire Perrin.
Games are the most useful tool we know in aiding childhood development. They help children develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, listening skills, and the ability to think, respond and strategize. They encourage children to work together as a team to achieve a common goal. They allow children to experience success and failure in a positive and supportive environment. They help children communicate with each other and with adults. They teach children valuable life lessons...
Most adults recognize the value and appeal of playing games with children but do not have an extensive repertoire to draw upon. Those who have been campers may remember games, but the exact rules and instructions are harder to remember. The purpose of this book is to gather and describe all the best camp games under one cover. This collection does not include sports-based games, card games or board games.
The authors collectively have many years of experience as campers, camp leaders and eventually teachers. This is evident in the variety of games they present as well as in the way the information is presented. The handbook is very well organized and easy to understand. Games are divided into categories (chapters): Break the Ice, Take it Easy, Get them Moving, Run Them Ragged, and Wet and Wild. Chapters are further subdivided: for example, Get them Moving includes Parachute Games, Just for Juniors, musical games, theme days and relay races. A series of symbols is used throughout the book to denote large group games, everybody wins games, team-builder games, plan-ahead games, etc. The instructions are presented clearly, along with the equipment needed (usually minimal), the number of players, and the basic goal of each game. Variations and modifications are thoughtfully suggested at the end of the game description.
The handbook contains many tried-and-true favourites, such as Capture the Flag, What Time is it Mr. Wolf? and Red Light, Green Light. Other less familiar games make up about half of the 175 games. Many have catchy names that would appeal to a child's sense of humour and curiosity. Which child would not want to try one of these games: Bop! Werewolf Tag, or Chuck the Chicken?
One of the best features of the handbook is the "Tips for Leaders" which are interspersed throughout the book. These include dealing with rulebreakers, pros and cons of elimination games, and ways to modify games. These tips would be extremely useful to game leaders to understand in advance the problems that can occur during games. The authors also call attention to various safety considerations through these Tips for Leaders.
The illustrations are a great supplement to the instructions. Almost every page has a colourful cartoon drawing of a game being played. The illustrator clearly made an effort to include children of many different races, sizes and abilities in her illustrations.
The 175 Best Camp Games would be a valuable resource to not only camp counsellors, but anyone who works with young people. Parents, teachers, recreation leaders, and childcare providers would likely find many uses for the wide array of games described in this handbook.
Claire Perrin is a teacher-librarian with the Toronto District School Board.
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