Anyone who's been to summer camp knows that a huge part
of the camp experience is group singing. Blasting out silly lyrics at the top of your lungs is not only a rousing good time (for adults too!), but also helps create bonds between campers who may have little else in common. Classics such as Boom-Chicka-Boom resound across living rooms long after kids return camp, and are often remembered for months or years afterward. And no camp would be complete without a good collection of games.
As garden camps and camp gardens sprout up throughout Wisconsin, these traditions carry on, and can be molded to fit the growing theme. Below is a collection of garden-themed songs and games. We'd love to add more to the list! Please send your favorite garden-themed songs and games to firstname.lastname@example.org
- we'll compile the list, and post it to our Resources page!
In addition to the games listed below, almost any garden activity can be made into a game! Try longest root competitions while weeding, create plant "characters" while planting, name the worms, and when you water your plants in July, don't forget to water yourself, too!
Farmer in the Dell
Similar to "Shark and Minnows" or "Park Ranger." Create a rectangular playing field. All students stand at one end. Choose two people to be the "Farmers." Everyone else chooses a vegetable or fruit. Farmers stand in the middle of the field and call out a veggie characteristic. Example: "If your vegetable is the leaf of a plant." Then, everyone whose veggie or fruit has that characteristic has to run to the other side, while the farmers try to tag them. If you get tagged, you become a "plant" rooted to the ground where you were tagged. Plants can still move their arms and tag other runners! Farmers can also say "Harvest Time!" and everyone must run. After the first round you will end up with students running in both directions. Run out of bounds and you automatically become a plant. Play until the majority of people are "plants." Good for large groups.
A Big Wind Blows
A good icebreaker. Make a circle with one person in the middle. Everyone in the circle needs a "marker" such as cone or a garden glove behind them. Person in the middle says "A big wind blows if you...(something they like in the garden)" Anyone else who also likes that must run into the middle of the circle and find a new spot by an empty marker. One person will be left without a marker. This person is now in the middle. If kids end up in the middle multiple times, you can have them "bump" to another person. Good for groups of 10-20 people.
Sit in a tight circle of 8-12 people. Assign each person a different vegetable, or have them choose. Everyone must cover their teeth completely with their lips. The point of the game is to get other people to laugh and show their teeth. On your turn you must say the name of your vegetable twice, and someone else's vegetable once. For example, the "Pepper" person could say "Pepper, Pepper, Corn." Now its is "Corn's" turn. If you show your teeth, you are out. (Alternatively, assign one point in the circle to be the "sun" - if you show your teeth, you move away from the sun. The point of the game is then to get closer to the sun.)
Simon in the Garden
Similar to "Simon Says" or "Ship to Shore." One person is the caller - everyone else must follow his/her instructions and try to not get eliminated. Here are the commands and the actions that follow:
- "Farmer's coming!" - Stand "at attention" with pitchfork in hand. Do not move until you hear "Water break" - then you may relax or follow other commands. If you move before you hear "Water break," you are out!
- "Garden!" - Run to the left side of the field. If you run the wrong direction, you are out.
- "Shed!" - Run to the right side of the field. If you run the wrong direction, you are out.
- "Worm!" - Everyone wriggle like a worm.
- "Wheelbarrow!" - Two people group up and one holds the other's legs to make a wheelbarrow. Find a parter fast or your are out!
- "Harvest!" - Form groups of three. One person stands with their arms out to be the plant, the other two pick "fruit" off the branches. Find a group, or your are out!
- "Chow down!" - Form groups of four. Pretend to be eating a giant salad or other yummy garden snack. Find a group, or you are out!
Students who are "out" can help the caller watch for other students who should be "out."
Funding for this project was provided by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health from the Wisconsin Partnership Program.