What it is: A throwing and catching game for a small group. Players try to keep the ball away from one player (the “monkey”).
Best for: A small group, maybe 3 to 5.
What you need: You’ll need a ball to throw and catch. It could be a kickball or an inflated ball. You could even play with a soccer ball that you kick and receive, or a frisbee or some other object.
How to play: Monkey in the middle is one of those simple games that’s easily variable. Players toss or kick a ball back and forth between them, but one extra player (the “monkey”) is left standing in the middle. The other players try to keep the ball away from the monkey. The monkey tries to grab the ball, earning him or her a place on the outside of the circle.
When the monkey grabs the ball, the last player to have touched it is now the monkey. You can decide on more specific rules, too. Does the monkey have to grab the ball, or will simply touching it count? You can adjust the rules and playing size to the ages of your players.
This is often one of those games that happens naturally to pass the time or (unfortunately) to bully someone else by keeping something they want away from them.
Don’t play like that. We all know it’s not nice.
But when played with people who agree by common consent to play, it can be a fun game that lasts for a while.