Become a Games Leader – A Kids Entertainer’s Guide Part 2

Two groups of smiling children playing tug of war

Hi. I’m Clayton Poland from West Monroe in Louisiana. In my previous post, I mentioned I play games for a living and I discussed Part One of my seven-part series on how to lead kids games like a pro—all put together especially for Kids Entertainer Hub readers. Now here is Part Two. Read on and find out the next tip on how to be a better games leader.

Create Healthy Competition

Group the kids into two.

When leading kids games, it is almost always a good idea to divide the participants into two teams. My preference, based on my view from the stage, is to place one team on my left and one team on my right. I suggest mixing the boys and girls together on each team.

And of course, when there are teams, there ought to be team names! And they shouldn’t be just any team name. Be creative and come up with names such as THIS team and THAT team, LION team and TIGER team, or MAGICIANS and WIZARDS. Kids love awesome team names!

Award points and keep score.

Points do not cost you anything, so give away a bunch of them! Be creative with what you use for a point. You can use long balloons, balloon animals, rubber chickens, or magician silks. This will be sure to delight the kids even more.

Next, allow the children to keep their points with them in their seats until the end of the event. This lets you keep track of the score without having to keep a numerical count.

At the end of the event, ask the kids who have points to hold them up high in the air. Quickly count and collect the points. If you use long balloons or balloon animals, you can have the kids keep them.

Another idea: If you are playing a game at the end of the event while you are waiting for parents to arrive, you can give the winner a sucker or some other small prize rather than award points.

Do you know another thing that I do? I give winning children what I call a “High 5 of Honor.” What’s that, you ask? It’s simply a High 5 with much more drama and flair. Kids love it!

Help the kids focus on the activity rather than on winning.

In any game, there is a winner and a loser. Winning is its own reward. But what can you do to encourage both the winner and the loser in any game that you play?

Here’s a trade secret: when the game is over, rather than saying “The winner is ____,” say “The point goes to the ____ team!” This keeps the focus on the activity rather than on the winner.

Once you award the point and the winning team cheers, ALWAYS turn to the other team and say, “Let’s give your teammate a hand! He/She did a great job!” This allows both kids on the stage to go back to their seat with their teams cheering for them.

Keep it short.

Don’t allow the game to go on for too long. I like to use games that take only a couple of minutes or less to complete. This allows you to play more games and involve more kids.

What’s more, fast-paced games are just as fun to watch as they are to play. Using them will keep the spectators engaged as they would be cheering on their team, helping you prevent boredom or disturbance during the game.

No booing!

If one team boos or jeers the other team, you can stop this by simply saying, “We do not allow booing. If you boo the other team, I will award a point to the other team.” This will stop all negativity in your games and help cultivate sportsmanship and good old plain healthy competition.

Now that you’re through with Step Two, be sure to check out Step Three of my mini-series—keep things simple.


Want to know all seven tips on how to run successful kids games? See the complete list below.

Step 1: Make It Fun!

Step 2: Create Healthy Competition!

Step 3: Simple Is Better!

Step 4: One Rule Is Enough!

Step 5: No Questions!

Step 6: Become a Cheerleader!

Step 7: Kill It Before It Dies!