Kim’s Game

Kim’s Game is an age-old game used in Scouting and Guides since the early Baden-Powell Days.

It has been used for over a century to help sharpen the memory and deductive reasoning aspects of young minds. The premise is extremely simple and can be set up with whatever is at-hand. It’s easily played at meetings, outdoors or in—even online; camps; events; Spy Games; etc.

The game is simple. The Guider, or person leading the game, collects on a tray or in a shallow box a number of items numbering between 10 and 25. She covers it with a scarf or towel. Then she gathers her Guides around where everyone can see the tray and uncovers it for one minute. The Guides must then list everything they saw on the tray.

Easy-peasy right? You can create a theme for the tray depending on what your meeting is about. You could do it to help girls learn about kit lists or other commonly grouped-together items in Guiding. You can take away items and ask the girls to remember which items were removed. You can add items and do the same.

Sometimes I ask questions later like: what colour was that dinosaur? Which items on the tray represented Brownie totems? Or which items didn’t fit the theme? Etc.

I have never encountered a group of girls from Sparks to Rangers they did not enjoy some version of this classic Scouting and Guiding game. It’s often been a component of wide-games, sometimes we just make one up on the fly during camp downtime. Sometimes the girls themselves prepare it and play with each other.

It’s a really fantastic way to help develop and maintain sharp minds. It gets girls to not only improve their memories, but develop strategies of critical thinking that aid in that memory.

Here are some theme variations you can try:

  • Different tree leaves
  • Tracking images or moulds
  • First aid supplies
  • Common Kitlist items
  • Learning Guiding totems and symbols
  • Learning Guiding promises and laws
  • Knots
  • Rainbow (great for sparks!)
  • Healthy foods

And here are some great variations on Kim’s Game to try:

Online Kim’s Game

Either take a picture or grab one from Google. Put it up on your screen share for one minute then ask your Guides to type all the items they can remember in the chat.

Shadow Kim’s Game

Hang a sheet from a bar, and shine a light towards the sheet from behind, the Guides stand at the front so objects held between the sheet and the light appear as shadows on the sheet.

Witness Kim’s Game

While the Guides are involved in another activity, have one Guider slip out of the room and get dressed up on an outrageous costume (wig, different colour socks, a funny hat etc.). When the girls aren’t expecting it, have her come into the room and do something unexpected (sing a silly camp song for example) and then leave. Once she is out of the room, had out pens and paper and have the girls list everything they can remember about what she was wearing. Then have her come back into the room and have the girls check their lists against her actual costume. One use of this game is as a starting place for a discussion on what to wear at camp or on a hike. The costume can be made up of all the wrong things to wear (high heal shoes, an umbrella etc.).

Two Hands Kim’s Game.

Guides hold an object in each hand, standing in a circle they show the objects thirty seconds, then they hold the objects behind their backs out of sight They can then be asked to locate a given object from memory by telling who was holding it.

Long Distance Kim’s Game

Instead of a tray or tabletop at close quarters the objects are viewed at some distance (the distance proportional to the size of the objects). This can be extended to a hundred yards and the objects can be displayed against a sheet or other background.

Vertical Kim’s Game

Hang the items from a tree or ceiling.

Kim’s Game on The Trail

Distribute the objects along a trail or path. Guides are given a fixed amount of time to cover the trail and find and remember the objects.

Flying Kim

Each object is tossed either from one Guider or Girl Assistant to another or from a Guider or Girl Assistant to a Guide and then tossed back. Everyone has the opportunity to observe as this is going on and then to write down what they remember.

Passing Kim’s Game

Objects are passed around a circle of players very quickly (a time limit for getting the articles around is set).

Blind Kim

Guides are blindfolded and objects are handed from Guide to Guide who have a set period of time to observe each by the sense of touch alone.

Did you know Kim’s Game was originally from a book by (surprise! Surprise!) Rudyard Kipling? You can read some excerpts here: Kim

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