Sitting around in a circle is one of the most natural things party guests do together. And when you’re the busy host trying to keep everyone happy, you want to grab every moment of peace you can. If you’re thinking about games to play sitting in a circle, you’ve come to the right place.
Circle games offer you a number of benefits, the first one being their simplicity. These types of games require little preparation and are quick and easy understand. Sitting in a circle can also help people relax. The fact you’re sitting across from someone else can reduce barriers between guests.
Circle games also tend to be calm in nature instead of competitive. This makes them inclusive to even the most shy of guests.
Let’s get you started.
Elimination games to play sitting in a circle
The 3-6-9 Clap Game
This circle elimination game is played fast and furious. Lead the game, by starting to clap three times (which everyone needs to repeat), then six times, then nine.
You can have everyone clapping three, then six, then nine times in succession; or with pauses. You can get people clapping above their heads or clapping quietly or loudly.
Anyone caught out by not doing the clap as instructed is eliminated from the game.
Get everyone sat together, then closing their eyes tight with heads down. Tell everyone you’re about to tap two people on the head: a person tapped once on the head is the Detective; a person tapped twice on the head is the Winker. Once done, have everyone opening their eyes again.
The Winker’s role is to wink at people quickly or subtly. The person targeted by the wink must freeze in position. The Detective’s job is to work out the Winker is before they get to leave the circle. Once a person is frozen in place, they must hold that pose without laughing.
The game continues until the Winker wins or the Detective runs out of guesses.
I Am Sitting In A Meadow
You need everyone sitting together in a wide circle and with one empty cushion. The game starts with one person saying “I am sitting.” The person to their left says “in the meadow,” with a third saying “And I would like,” and the fourth saying “To have [name] here.” With [name], the fourth person calls out the name of someone else in the group.
As soon as this name is called, this person must rush quickly to the empty cushion (on their hands and knees) at the same time as everyone has to swap places with the person sat opposite. The last person to sit on a cushion is eliminated from the game. Remove their cushion and play the next round with a new person to start with “I am sitting.”
Birdie On A Perch
This circle game can get a bit physical so be warned. Have guests partner up, with one partner being able to piggyback the other.
The partners who can piggyback form a circle while those they will carry form a circle within their circle. Then instruct everyone in the circles to start walking – the inner circle works anti-clockwise to the outer circle.
At the moment you yell “Birdie on a perch!”, the partners need to find each other and start piggybacking. The last pair to do this is out of the game. Reassemble the circles and begin gameplay again. The last pair left after multiple rounds is the winner.
Movement games to play sitting in a circle
Caught In A Circle
Get everyone sat together and holding the hands of the persons either side of them and as tightly as possible.
Choose one player to sit in the middle of the circle. This person must try to break through the circle and the circle must work hard to hold position and not let any hands go. The person who does let go switches places and the game begins anew.
Once again, get everyone seated and holding the hands of each guest either side of them. Ask one person in the circle to let go of the hand to their right and take the hand of someone sat three places away. Keeping hold of the hand they do have, they must move to this new person.
As this person moves, so everyone else moves with them, still holding hands. This person must hold the hand of the new person even though the new person is already holding two other hands. Then pick someone else take hold of someone else’s. The rest of the “snake” must move with them.
Players can crawl over legs of other people or go under armpits to reach their target person. By the end of it, everyone in the circle will be tangled up.
One person is asked to exit the circle and stand five metres away with their back to the group. Everyone else remaining is shown a scene or told of a scenario they need to act out. The player then returns and sits in the middle.
Then each person in the circle is given just ten seconds to act out the scenario (in silence), going around the circle until everyone has their go. The player now needs to guess the scene/scenario based on what they’ve seen.
Balloon Circle Pass
This game seems simple but is really challenging to play. Everyone needs to be seated in a fairly relaxed circle formation. A balloon is then introduced to the first person who must pass it to a person on their left by using only their shoulders and head, no hands.
Anytime the balloon veers towards the floor, players can break formation and intercept it, nudging it back to someone in the circle before retaking their place.
Creative games to play sitting in a circle
Have everyone sitting in the circle with enough space between them, so people can get up easily. Pick someone to start this game. This person must stand up and do an action for every syllable in their name.
For example: Matthew has two syllables. Matthew must create an action for “math” and then “thew.” After he’s done that, the whole circle must get up and do the dance he’s created before sitting down. Then another person takes their turn. Keep this game fast and furious. You can add even more excitement to this game by including the person’s surname with their first name.
The Frozen Chocolate Game
Unlike the other games in this list, this party game requires props: a huge bar of chocolate; a pair of dice and a dice shaker; a hat, scarf and a pair of gloves; a knife, fork and plate.
Unwrap the chocolate and freeze it overnight, removing it two hours before gameplay. Get everyone sitting in a wide circle. Place the chocolate on the plate in the middle with the clothing and cutlery to either side.
Players take turns trying to throw a double. Whoever manages to do so shuffles to the middle of the circle, puts on the clothes, and tries to eat the chocolate with the knife and fork. They keep going until another double is thrown. This new person takes over the clothes as well as the chocolate-eating. Keep going, until the chocolate is finished.
Get everyone sitting together in a circle. One person is tightly blindfolded and is therefore the “Blind Cow.” This person is stood up and spun around five times on the spot before being brought to the centre of the circle. Once sat, everyone else needs to get up and quietly change places. A bell is then passed around the cirle and rung.
The blindfolded player follows the sound of the bell. When the bell stops ringing, they need to guess who is holding bell by pointing at that person. If they’re right, they swap places. If they’re wrong, the game resumes until the cow guesses correctly.
Rubber Chicken Run
You will need a rubber chicken to play this game, and also designate someone to be your “counter.”
Pick someone to sit in the middle of the circle and give them a topic. On Go!, the rubber chicken is passed from one person to the next. The person in the middle must list as many items as they can connected to their topic, as the chicken goes around. The person stops when the chicken returns to the start.
The designated counter needs to have counted the number of items the person has been able to list. The player with the most items at the end of all the rounds gets a prize.
The topics you give need to be as challenging as possible, to trip people up. Examples: car brands, astronomy, sea life, Star Wars characters, outdoor jobs, objects in a bedroom, Japanese culture, famous biscuits/cookies.
Having a few games to play sitting in a circle means you can take advantage of the moment your guests start to relax. The flexibility of these games means you can play them indoors and out, during in any season, and with any number of people. As a busy party planner, these games are a blessing in disguise.