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Hungry HipposHungry Hippos Group Game;



Equipment: Wide tape (such as duct, packing, masking), scissors, many beanbags or small balls (such as wiffle or tennis balls, you could even use rolled up newspaper pages), 4 gym benches



Place gym benches in the centre of the gym to form a square, leaving about a metre of space between benches at the corner. The will be the "Battle Arena". Place the beanbags (or other items) in the middle. I also like to make mini piles along the edge between each corner.


To start, divide players into teams of three players. Each round will involve four teams. If there are more than 4 teams, remaining teams will sit out until the next round. One player on each team will be the Hippo. This player will interlink their fingers and you will wrap tape around their fingers to keep both their hands joined together. The second player from each team will be the Pusher. The third player will be the Gatherer.


Each team is assigned to a corner of the Battle Arena. The Hippos lie on their stomachs with their torso inside of the Battle Arena and their legs sticking out of their corner hole. When the game starts the Pusher will hold the ankles of the Hippo and will push them into the Battle Arena where the Hippo will try to grab the balls and push them towards their corner. The Pusher will be pushing and pulling the Hippo by the ankles, sliding them along the floor to help them achieve this. When the balls are through the hole, the Gatherer will collect them. The game ends when there are no longer any balls in the Battle Arena. Each beanbag is a point. The team with the most points stays in the game for the next round and those with the least points switch with the waiting teams. Make sure players change roles on their team.


You can give the Gatherer a basket or bin, but I think it's fun when the Gatherer has to use their body to collect the beanbags. I add a rule where immediately when the game ends (no more balls in the Battle Arena), the Gatherers must freeze, and whoever is holding the most beanbags in the air wins (the beanbags cannot be touching the ground). This gives the Gatherer more responsibility during the game.


You may want to have 4 players on every team, with two players doing the role of Pusher, one for each leg. You may also want to expand your Battle Arena by adding more benches to make it a pentagon or hexagon.  If you have them available, you can experiment using wheeled boards under the players.