Best for: A big group of about 20.
What you need: A big open area. A flat, grassy field is perfect. You’ll also need some sort of ball, which you will be using to peg each other. I’ve played with a kick ball, but you could also do a tennis ball (ouch) if you’re tough or a hacky sack or soccer ball.
How to play: First, assign each player a number, starting at 1 and ending at however many players there are. (Players will need to remember their number, but not anyone else’s.) One person, like Toby, starts out as it. He stands holding the ball and everyone else stands around him in a circle.
To start the game, Toby takes the ball and throws it straight up into the air as high as he can, at the same time shouting out a number that he knows belongs to one of the other players, like “Seven!” And as soon as Toby shouts out a number, all of the players including Toby run away from the ball as fast as they can – all except player number seven, who we’ll call Julia. As soon as Julia hears Toby call her number, she runs to catch the ball (or pick it up as fast as she can, if she doesn’t catch it). And as soon as Julia is holding the ball in her hands, she shouts “SPUD!” as loud as she can, and all players immediately freeze wherever they are.
Julia then gets the chance to peg another player to get him or her out. She must freeze where she’s standing, too, but she can look around and survey who’s closest to her. Say she decides to aim for Robbie because he’s closest. She gets to take three steps towards Robbie and then has one chance to peg him.
If Julia succeeds in pegging Robbie, he gets the letter S. Once a player gets an S-P-U and D, they’re out of the game. If Julia misses or Robbie catches the ball, she gets an S. While he’s being targeted, Robbie can’t movie his feet or he gets an S, and Julia can’t move hers, either, or she gets an S.
Once Julia or Robbie has a letter, Julia picks up the ball again and gets to start a new round by throwing the ball high in the air and shouting out another number.
The game continues until only one player remains, and he or she wins.
Variations: For a shorter version, you can play single elimination, meaning as soon as a player is tagged once, they’re straight out of the game.
Also, depending on the ball you’re using and the ages and strength of your players, you might want to do away with (or modify) the take-three-steps rule.
Caution: As with all throwing-and-pegging games, don’t hurt each other. 🙂 Only allow pegging from the shoulders down, and make sure the size and hardness of the ball is adequately matched to the age of your players.