Name games are a great way for you to play with kids in the classroom or around the campfire to get everyone to know each other better.
These 27 games that will be sure to create a bonding experience for you and your crew! Full instructions are listed below, along with any materials that may be needed for each game.
Don’t hesitate – try these games today and see how much fun group bonding can be!
1. Action Syllables name game
Have all the kids stand in a circle. One by one, tell each player to say their name out loud while picking one action for each syllable of their name.
For example, Alice has two syllables in her name, so she might point to the sky with her left hand for “Al” and then stomp her left foot for “-ice”.
After Alice is done saying her name, have the entire group repeat the name with the actions.
Once the second person says their name, the group should repeat the second name/action combination and then repeat Alice’s.
Repeat for the third person, then go around the circle until everyone’s name has been said.
2. Hobbies Name Game
Tell the children to stand in a circle. One person should start the game by saying, “My name is ______ and I like to ________.” As the person says their hobby, they should act out a movement to reflect that hobby.
For example, if the hobby is swimming, they might move their arms around to simulate swimming. Have the group repeat, “________ likes [swimming]” and act out the swimming motion.
The second person should then state their own name and act out their favorite hobby.
When s/he is finished, have the group repeat the second person’s name and hobby, and then the first.
Repeat for each person until everyone in the circle has said their name and hobby.
3. Favorite Things
Have the group stand in a line or circle. The first person in the line should say their name and then name of a favorite thing.
The group then repeats the statement. After this, the second person in the line should state their name and favorite thing, as well as the name and thing of the first person.
The third person should then repeat their information and the information of the second and first people in the line, and so on until the entire group has had a turn.
4. Favorite Foods
The entire group should stand in a circle. To start, someone should say their name and the name of a food that starts with the first letter of their name.
The second person in the circle should say their name and food, then repeat the first person’s information.
The third should repeat the process with the second and first person’s information, and son on until the entire group has had a turn.
5. Web of Names
For this game, take a large ball of string of the kind that can easily unravel. Tell the entire group to sit in a circle and make sure to warn them that they must remain seated for safety reasons.
To start, one person should hold onto the tip of the string, then say their name. While still holding onto the string, the person should throw the ball of string to another person.
The second person should then say their name, then throw the ball of string to a third person.
As the game continues, a web of string will start to be formed by the criss-crossing string.
When the last person’s name has been said, the fun really starts as the group begins to unwind the web by saying the name of the person who came before them while throwing the ball of string at the person.
Make sure that each person rewinds the ball of string before throwing it to the preceding person.
6. Getting To Know Me
For this game, you’ll need a medium-sized ball that is easy to catch and throw.
Tell all the kids to stand in one large circle. As a group, come up with five questions that ask about information that you want to find out about each other, like:
What’s your name?
Where were you born?
What’s your favorite food?
What’s your favorite color?
What’s your favorite hobby?
After the group has decided on the questions, give the first player the ball. Tell them to say their name, answer the questions and then throw the ball to another player of their choice.
The person who catches the ball has to then say their name, answer each question as well, then throw the ball to a third player who answers as well.
Continue the game until everyone has answered the questions. Make sure that nobody answers the questions twice.
7. Jack In The Box
This is a game for very young children. To play, have all the children sit in a circle on the floor.
The teacher should start by sitting in the middle of the circle curled in on themselves, hiding their head under their arms. S/he should be wearing comfortable clothing. The entire group should chant:[Mr. Martinez] in the box, sits sooooooo still.
Will he come out?
YES, HE WILL!!!!!
When the group chants the last line, the teacher should pop up from their crouch like a jack-in-the box, still seated, legs out and arms up overhead as if to say, “Ta-Da!”
Once the teacher has shown the kids how to play the game, repeat the chant with each child in the circle taking a turn sitting in the center.
8. Willoughby Wallaby Woo
This game is for very young children. To prepare for this game, listen to Raffi’s song Willoughby Wallaby Woo and learn the melody.
Then, to play the game, have the group sit in a circle. As the group claps together, the teacher should repeat the first two lines of the chant, with the group repeating the last two lines together.
Have the group practice the chant before the game begins.
The chant goes as follows:
Willoughby Wallaby Woo
An elephant sat on YOU (point finger toward child whose name will be used)
Willoughby Wallaby [Wistopher]
An elephant sat on [Christopher]!
9. Who Do We Appreciate?
This game is for very young children. It’s a simple chant that you can dress up by clapping, grinning and waving your arms and fingers at the end of every round. To play, have the kids sit in a circle. Pick one child and sing,
2-4-6-8, Who do we appreciate?
Kelly – Kelly – KEL-LY!!!
Repeat for every child in the circle.
10. Thanks For The Compliment!
For this game, you’ll need some paper, markers and tape, enough for everyone in the group.
Each sheet of paper should have the name of one of the children in the group written in marker at the top.
To start, tape the sheet of paper corresponding to the child’s name onto each child’s back. Give every child a marker and have them stand in a circle.
To play the game, tell each child to walk around the room and pick another player.
Once this player has been picked, the child should write a compliment or positive remark about that person on the sheet of paper taped to their back.
(NO PEEKING!) When everyone has finished, players should return to their place in the circle.
Have each child turn to their right and remove the sheet of paper of the person standing in front of them.
One by one, have the children read off the name of the person to their right, along with the compliment or positive remark.
Remarks can be general or very specific, depending on how long the group has known each other.
11. Capture The Balloon
To play this game, inflate one balloon for every child in the group (plus one or two extra in case they pop).
Have each child write their name on a balloon and decorate it with marker. Put all of the balloons in a container, box or bag.
Put on some fun children’s music, then release all of the balloons into the air at once. Have the children bat the balloons around and attempt to keep them in the air.
When the music stops, the children should “capture” a balloon and freeze in their position.
One by one, call on a child to say the name written on the balloon they’re carrying.
The child whose name is called should then answer a predetermined question about themselves, one that was chosen at the beginning of the game. Some good questions include: What is your favorite food?
What would you like to be when you grow up? If you could do anything for a day, what would it be? Repeat until every child has had a turn to share.
12. Who Stole Them?
For this game, find a large plastic jar. To play, ask all the kids to sit cross-legged in a large circle.
Start the game by holding the jar and leading the group in a chant, “Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?” Then, you say “[Andrew] stole the cookies from the cookie jar!” while handing the jar to the person named.
The child who was named will chant, “Who me?” The group should respond, “Yes, you!” The child should respond, “Couldn’t be!” The rest of the group responds, “Then who?”
The child should then pass the jar to the person on their left, while singing “[Kathy] stole the cookies from the cookie jar!” The chant should repeat until everyone has had a chance to play.
13. Name Game (basic)
This is a good basic name game for students who have never met before. It’s also great for ESL students.
You’ll need a ball that is easy to throw. Have all the kids sit cross-legged in a large circle. Point to yourself and say your name while holding the ball, then go around the circle and have each kid say their name while holding the ball.
Go around the circle a few times to make sure everyone has a chance to remember names.
When ready, have each student throw the ball to another student. The student who catches the ball has to say the name of the student who threw it. Continue until everyone has had a chance to remember someone else’s name.
14. Name Memorizing Game
This is a simple game for children who haven’t met before. Have all the children sit cross-legged in a large circle.
Begin by saying, “My name is [Ms. Walker]…” and then answer a question about yourself. For example, “My name is Ms. Walker and I like the color purple.”
The next person in the circle can say, “My name is [Alessandra] and I am 8 years old and this is Ms. Walker and she likes the color purple.”
The person after that can say, “My name is Cho and I like to dance and this is Alessandra and she is 8 years old and this is Ms. Walker and she likes the color purple.” Continue around the circle until everybody has had a chance to share their name and question.
15. Who’s Out?
For this game, have everyone stand up in a circle. Explain that you are going to make a statement, and if the statement is true about them, then they must sit down.
For example, you might say, “Sit down if you have a cat,” or “Sit down if you have a sister.”
Once the kids are sitting down, ask each of them to say their name and elaborate on the statement. For example, one kid may say, “My name is Jared and my sister’s name is Malia.”
16. Name Alliteration
To start this game, choose a category of things for the game, such as cartoon characters, types of fruit, or animals. Have the kids sit cross-legged in a large circle, then tell them to think of a word from the category that starts with the same letter as the first letter of their name. For example, kids may choose “Betty Bugs Bunny” or “Cow Carla”.
Have one child say their name and then name the thing they have chosen. Then the next child in the circle will say their name and object, followed by the first child’s name and object.
The third child will say their information and the information for the first two children, and so on until everyone in the circle has had a turn.
For this game, pair the group up in twos and have them “interview” each other, asking the person’s name and three questions that you decided on in advance.
For example, you can decide to ask about a favorite color, food and type of animal. When the group has finished, have the kids take turns introducing their partner by name and talking about the information they have learned.
18. Going On Vacation
Have the kids sit or stand in a circle. Start off by saying your name and the name of a place you would like to take the class to visit.
For example, “I’m Ms. Louboutis and I’m taking the class on a trip to China. Ms. Louboutis is taking a digital camera.”
The first student to start should then introduce themselves, choose an item to take that begin with the first initial of their first name, and then reintroduce the teacher and what the teacher is taking with them. Repeat until everyone has had a chance to play the game.
19. Hide and Seek
To start, have the kids stand in a group. Tell them that you are going to have them close their eyes, and then pat one kid on the head.
The kid whose head is patted will hide out of sight in the room and, when you tell the others to open their eyes, the others will have to guess the name of the kid who is missing. Repeat until everyone has had a turn.
20. The Story Of My Name
In this game, have the kids sit or stand in a circle. Going around the circle, have each kid say their name and explain the history of that name – why their parents chose it, what it means, what culture it comes from, etc. Continue until every person has had a turn.
21. What’s The Lie?
This game is a good way for kids to learn more about each other. To start, have all the kids sit or stand in a circle.
Have each kid think of two truths and a lie about themselves. Then, going around the circle, have each kid say their name and the three statements they chose.
The group can have fun trying to figure out which statements are true and which is the lie.
22. Rhythm Game
This game is good for helping kids learn musical skills, as well as public speaking skills.
To play this game, have all the kids sit in a circle and start a basic rhythm with clapping, slapping their knees, etc. Choose a category (sports, food, animals) and have each child think of one thing they like from that category.
As the group slaps out the rhythm, have each kid say their name and the name of the thing they like. For example, “My name is Bethany and I like zebras.” As each kid makes their statement, have the other kids repeat the statement back to them.
Each statement should be said in rhythm to the beat. Repeat until all kids have had a turn.
23. Who’s Special?
To play this simple game, have all of the children sit or stand in a circle. One by one, have them say their name and describe something about themselves that’s unique.
For example, “I’m Anita and I like to garden.” Go around the circle until everybody has had a turn.
24. Adjectives Game
Have each child pick an adjective that describes themselves well (pretty, smart, cranky, happy).
Tell all the children to sit or stand in a circle. The first child to start will introduce themselves using the adjective – for example, “I’m Sweet Belinda.”
The next child in the circle will say their own name and adjective, and then repeat the first child’s information. Continue around the circle until the last child has repeated everybody’s name and adjective.
25. Me, You, Left and Right game
A cool game to get know the class. sit everyone in a circle with a main player in the middle of the circle.
The game starts when the kid in the middle points at one of the kids sitting and saying:
After saying one of these, the main player starts counting to five in a reasonable manner.
If the main kid says Me – The kid he pointed on has to call the name of the main kid.
If the main kid says Left – The kid he pointed on must call the name of the kid on his left.
If the main kid says right – The kid he pointed on must call the name to the kid on his right
If the main kid says you – you must call your own name before he counts to five
26. Clapping name game ( variation of the rhythm game )
A cool game with names that helps the kids in the class introduce each other in a fun way but also incorporate some hand movements and music. Because we all love games with music right? To play this game the teacher has the kids sit in a circle, and then set a pattern of hand claps. And every time everyone does the pattern, the teacher starts by saying her first and last name.
When she is done, the next kid sitting next to her needs to go, but he needs to do in rhythm and with the clapping pattern. Easy game and so much fun
27. Repeat my name
A very simple game to have the kids learn each other’s names but also encourage public speaking because we all know kids at that age are mostly still shy and don’t like to stand in front of a crowd and talk.
Just have the class stand in a circle, and every kid takes his turn to speak out his first and last name, and right after that the entire class repeats his full name to him, and moving on to the next kid.