Flashdance and Fun: 4 Games For An 80's - Themed Program

A great decade makes for a great programming theme! canstockphoto20927014

Instead of a basic game night, why not implement a themed game night by modifying popular, familiar games and presenting them in a new, fresh way? This set of four games, inspired by the 1980s, can be supplemented with a costume/dress-up contest, musical chairs with 80s songs and lots of big hair and neon jelly bracelets for everyone!

1. Human Simon


2-3 foot length of duct tape in each of these four colors:





Large, flat, hard surface (tile, wood, concrete, black top)

Pre-Game Preparation:

Create a list of 15 random color combinations on a sheet of paper. Each number should correspond to the number of colors in that sequence and mirror the order of colors before them. For example:

1. Red

2. Red blue

3. Red blue blue

4. Red blue blue yellow

5. Red blue blue yellow green

On the hard surface, outline four separate 12-inch circles, each a separate color of duct tape and the sides of the circles touching but not overlapping.


Line campers single-file behind the circles. Instruct the first camper to step on the first color. When they complete this successfully, they return to the end of the line. Give the second camper the second color sequence and have them step, hop or jump from the first color to the second color. If they are correct, have them return to the end of the line. If they jump in incorrect order, they are out.

Color sequences are repeated only once. When a camper steps out of color sequence, they are out and take a seat away from the group. When a camper steps out of sequence, the next camper starts their turn on the same sequence. Continue until one camper remains. If all 15 color sequences are completed correctly and campers remain, continue by repeating random color sequences from list until a single camper remains.

2. Win, Lose or Draw


2 dry-erase boards on easels or 2 large pads of chart paper on easels

Markers for both boards

List of cultural, musical and entertainment terms, titles and references to the 1980s

Pre-Game Preparation:

Have two teams each gather around a separate board with a moderator in the middle. Each team chooses the first contestant to draw for their team and they report to their team board.


Moderator whispers one term/title/reference to both contestants who each draw their interpretation on the board. The first team to guess correctly gets a point. Repeat with two new contestants and a new term until one team reaches 10 points.

3. Turtles, Tunes and Cats

Turtles, Tunes and Cats is built on the foundation of Giants Wizards Elves/Giants Wizards Trolls/Giants Trolls Wizards. Turtles (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Tunes (Looney Tunes) and Cats (Thundercats) is a large-group game designed to get everyone moving.


Large, open space for running

Pre-Game Preparation:

Divide large group into two equal teams.

Set boundaries for both teams equidistant from center.

Demonstrate the game characters and order of capture to the whole group:

Turtles: bend elbows and flex muscles

Tunes: imitate a running Wile E. Coyote

Cats: lift hands beside head into mock claws

Turtles beat Tunes

Tunes beat Cats

Cats beat Turtles


Have teams huddle and collectively choose one character all team members will replicate.

Reassemble each team into a single-file line facing each other with about 6 feet between teams.

On the start, all players in unison chant and demonstrate Turtles Tunes Cats in order three times.

Following a 2-3 second pause after the final “Cats”, both teams yell and demonstrate the character their team chose.

The team that chooses the character that beats the other character (i.e., one team is Tunes, the other team is Cats—Tunes beats cats) chases the lower-level team to the specified boundary and attempts to tag as many members of that group as possible before they cross the boundary. Once a lower-level team member is tagged, they join the team that tagged them.

This game continues with all members of both teams choosing a new character, reassembling and repeating the sequence. There will be no “true” winner as team sizes fluctuate with each round of play.

4. Smurf Village

Smurf Village is based loosely on the game Ships and Sailors, a large-group running activity where campers must follow a series of commands designed to eliminate players until only two winners remain.


Large, open area for running

Bullhorn, if necessary

Pre-Game Preparation:

Give commands to entire group at once.

Commands for Smurf Village:

City–everyone runs to the right

Country–everyone runs to the left

  • Smurfs under a mushroom: the number of campers specified must assemble and raise hands overhead to mimic standing beneath a mushroom

  • Smurfs climbing trees: the number of campers specified must assemble and make movements to mimic climbing up a tree

  • Smurfs in a canoe: the number of campers specified must assemble, sit on the ground and imitate rowing in a canoe

Smurf stealth: individual campers drop to the ground and crawl on belly, military-style

Azrael: individual campers jog in place with a look of fear or surprise on their face.

Angry Papa Smurf: Two campers group together. One camper scolds the other with a pointed finger, the other camper appears apologetic.

Gargamel: individual camper bends and the waist and put index fingers on their lips (shhhh!)

All-Clear: releases campers from Gargamel pose. If a command is given after Gargamel but before an all-clear command, anyone who moves is out.


Start campers by having them run with either the country or city command. Call random commands to continue. If campers run in the wrong direction, make the wrong movement or fail to gather in the correct number of Smurfs, they are out. Have them gather in a separate space behind the person calling the commands.

Game continues until only two campers remain.

Beth Morrow is a summer lover, freelance blogger, educator and member of the Central Ohio Diabetes Association’s Youth Committee and Camp Leadership Teams. She has served as Senior Week Program Director for Camp Hamwi, a residential, age-based, week-long camp for diabetic youth, for twenty-one years. She’d love to see your Summer List photo collage! Reach her on Twitter at @BethFMorrow.