No Props—No Problem

The best part of no-prop games--everyone can participate!

The best part of no-prop games–everyone can participate!

That person can quickly move to another circle and immediately get back into the game. After the third movement is completed, person number two (whose hands are still raised high above the head) becomes the first person in the next round, points to one of that group’s members, and evokes the command “Wah!” and the game continues.


Pulse is an outstanding no-prop table game that can be played on the floor as well. Begin with a small group of seated players, with one hand of each player flat on the surface of the table. Each player is to imagine there is a hinge at the wrist. The group leader begins the pulse by pointing out the direction the pulse will travel, and then raises the fingers of his or her hand (while the wrist stays in contact with the table), and slaps the table once. The pulse moves in the direction stated, and the next person continues by slapping the table once as the pulse continues to travel around.

At any point, a player can slap the table once or twice. If he or she slaps once, the pulse continues in the same direction. If the person slaps twice, the pulse reverses direction. If anyone around the table lifts even a single finger when it is not his or her turn, that player is out for the duration of the round. Play continues until approximately half of the group has been eliminated, then players move up to a higher level of challenge.

Round one—players place just one hand on the table.

Round two—players use both hands, side-by-side.

Round three—players use both hands, but cross them (to form an X) so their right hand is on the left, and their left hand is on the right.

Round four—players use both hands, but reach outwards so the right hand crosses over the left hand of the person on their right and their left hand crosses over the right hand of the person on their left, forming X’s with the partner on each side.

Round five—players revert to the starting positions in round two (two hands, side-by-side), but an additional technique is allowed. If a player slaps the table with a fist, the pulse jumps over the next hand in that direction. If the fist double-slaps the table, the pulse reverses direction and skips a hand in the new direction.

Dr. Jim Cain is the author of the teambuilding texts, Teamwork & Teamplay, The Revised and Expanded Book of Raccoon Circles, A Teachable Moment, Teambuilding Puzzles, and Essential Staff Training Activities. He is the Director and creative force behind his company, Teamwork & Teamplay. Reach him at


A new book, Find Something To Do!, by Jim Cain features more than 100 no-prop activities that counselors and staff members can use throughout camp.  From painless icebreakers and challenging team initiatives to trust activities, puzzles and games, creative debriefing techniques, and closing activities, this back pocket-sized book should be your essential staff-training manual this year.

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

Related posts:

  1. Jungle Mania Pong
  2. Stretch & Twist
  3. Campfire Songs
  4. Sugar Explosion
  5. Summer Staff Icebreakers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


HTML tags are not allowed.

  • Columns & Features
  • Departments
  • Writers