This posting looks at games for groups of children which can be played with conkers.
Pass the conker
Everyone stands in a circle holding a conker in each hand behind their backs. An adult or a child who isn’t part of the circle counts to twenty quickly. The children in the circle, close their eyes and start passing conkers to their left as quickly as possible. Once the counting ends, the aim is for each child to have a conker in each hand. Those without a conker in each hand are out. The rules can be varied, e.g. if a child has more than one conker in each hand, he or she is out. Another option is for the child who is counting to walk around the outside of the circle, feeding conkers into the game.
Put conkers in heaps around a grassy area. The children start in the middle of the area. When the whistle blows, the children have to crawl to the heaps and collect 10 conkers. They can be stuffed in their socks, pockets, sleeves, etc. Once a child has 10 conkers, he or she yells “TEN!” and the game stops. The children will get wet and muddy so waterproof jackets and trousers are a good idea. An additional challenge for responsible groups is to complete this activity blindfolded. Supervision is required.
The Conker King (an adult) sits in front of a semi-circle of children with a bag or basket of conkers in front of him. The Conker King starts telling a story. Whenever he says the word “Grab”, he throws a conker into the semi-circle. The children make a grab for the conker and the winner is the child with the most conkers at the end of the story. Some ground rules are worth putting in place such as the children may only crawl to get a conker as it can get quite rough otherwise.
In this game, a child throws a conker up into the air and tries to hit it with a bat in an agreed direction. This is surprisingly tricky. Each child gets three shots. The winner is the child who has batted their conker the furthest. Do ensure that the rest of the group keep their distance and are in the opposite direction to that where conkers are being hit.
Collect the Conkers
You need a lot of conkers for this game. Put the conkers into four heaps, at each corner of a large square, like rounders. In teams, the children set off running, one at a time and try to pick up 5 conkers at each base. If she drops a conker, it may not be picked up. The team with the most conkers collected in one run (max 20 per child) is the winner.
When the children are exhausted from all of the above, just leave a basket of conkers out and see what the children do with them...sometimes just being left to play is the nicest activity of all.