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Pip Squeak and Charlie


Equipment: Popsicle sticks

Recommended Players: 12+


Split the players into groups of three. Have one person from each group stand in a circle, with the other two players in a line behind them.

In the diagram above there are 24 players and therefore 8 groups


The first person in each line, the one closest to the centre, is Pip. The middle person in each group is Squeak. The third person is Charlie. Place some popsicle sticks in the middle of the circle. When the game starts you will call one of the names. If you call "Pip" then the first person in each line will run around the circle. While they are doing that, the two remaining people in each line will form a house by holding their arms over their head and joining hands. When the person who is running has gone around the circle she will go through the house that her partners are making and try to grab a popsicle stick from the centre. Each player can only grab one popsicle stick. If you call Squeak, the second person from each line runs while the other two make a house, and if you call Charlie, the third person runs while the other two make a house. Every popsicle stick that they collect is a point for their team. When you end the game, have them count their sticks and congratulate the team with the most points.


Make sure to play a few practice rounds before they start accumulating points. When I lead this game, I usually start out by putting out only slightly less popsicle sticks than there are groups. If there were 6 groups, I would start out by putting out mainly 5 popsicle sticks, sometimes 4, and sometimes 6. As the game progresses, amp up the competition by occasionally putting out less popsicle sticks, or even just 1.


The next time you play, you can write numbers on the popsicle sticks that you put in the middle so that if the grab a popsicle stick with a 3 written on it, that popsicle stick is worth three points. You can add a bit of coding and teamwork by using coloured popsicle sticks or putting colours on the sticks with marker and creating a legend that is displayed during the game along the lines of "Orange = 3 points" "Purple = 4 points" "Blue = 5 points" etc. This means that they have to quickly decipher which popsicle stick they will grab based on its value. Their teammates will often help out by figuring it out while they are running and telling them which one to choose.


Instead of the two teammates making a house, you can have them stand with their legs spread and the runner will have to crawl under their legs to reach the centre. I find the houses work well, but this is a bit more challenging and can work if all the kids are a similar age and no-one is wearing a skirt.