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Playing Games with Varying Skill Levels

John sent in this question:

Hi, I am wondering if you have a solution to the following: With all games where the smallest person is out first and the best person stays in longest the scouts that need the most practice at something get the least. Do you have any thoughts on how to play games almost in the opposite way where the least talented stay trying for the longest?

Thanks for the question, John. You could have the “winner” of the round exit the game and let the others keep playing. It is also a matter of whether the purpose of the game is to teach them a practical skill which some of them need to improve or if it is to teach them values like sportsmanship and teamwork. So it depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the activity.

Here are some other approaches to games:

Play Team Games

Instead of pitting individuals against each other, play games which have teams playing against each other.  Capture the Flag is a favorite among our scouts. Steal the Bacon is another good example.

Play Games Which Require Different Types of Skills

Instead of  playing games which rely mostly on athletic skill, rotate in plenty of games which require different types of skill. For example,  the Guide Me game will favor scouts with good communication skills rather than favoring the ones who run the fastest. Picaria will exercise their strategy skills. I Can Do that With One Hand Tied Behind My Back is another game which relies on communication skills.

Play Initiative or Teambuilding Games

Intuitive games promote teamwork rather than competing against each other. These games often have no winner or loser. Some examples are Human Knot and Elbow Balloon Pass.

So playing a variety of games might help the situation. You can find many more game ideas on my games page.

Readers, how do you deal with this issue? Add your ideas to the comments below.


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