Top Programming Ideas 2005

From the sublime to the subtle, it’s all here this year in our annual Programming Ideas feature. We had more than we could print this year, so we’ll keep publishing ideas throughout the year.

Our hope is that you’ll glean something practical to use that will help round out your programming or add that something extra to help with retention and recruitment.

Our contributors, representing a broad spectrum of experience, were kind enough to offer their perspectives and ideas. If you happen to meet up with one of these great camp professionals, please let them know you appreciate their input. They took time out of their busy schedules to share their ideas with you, and are deserving of extra recognition.

If you have any great ideas, or you’re looking for more information, please let us know. E-mail us at, call (830) 257-1012 or fax (830) 257-1020.

Ice Breakers


Give each camper a sheet of paper and a crayon or felt tip pen. Ask the camper to write their name and three of the following things on the paper:

• Three words that describe you

• Your favorite hobby

• A picture of yourself

• Your favorite camp activity

• Your pet’s name

Campers pin the paper on themselves where it can be easily seen. They walk around and read other’s papers. Encourage the campers to ask about the things on the other campers’ papers. After milling is over, collect the papers and see how much the campers remember.

Opening Discussions

Start discussions centered on some of the following questions:

• Why did you come to camp?

• What do you like best about camp?

• What would you like to accomplish at camp?

• What can you offer to the camp experience?

Open-ended Sentences

Have the campers select a partner. Give each pair an open-ended sentence and ask them to complete the sentence with the thought that comes to mind. When they are finished change partners until they have been with everyone. Here are some suggested sentences:

• My hobbies are…

• My favorite song, movie, food…

• When at camp, I…

• A good camp counselor is…

• I feel good when…

• My friends are…

• I cry when…

• My parents are…

Ostrich Tag

To prevent being tagged, the player must raise one knee, slip an arm under and grab his/her nose.

Human Bowling

Players sit in a circle and toss a ball at the players standing in the middle of the circle. The players in the middle try to dodge the ball. If they are hit they are replaced by the person who rolled the ball and hit them. This game can be played with several balls and several people in the circle.


The players stand in a circle in a very specific position — hands down at their sides. There are a few people in the center with bean bags (one bag per person). Those in the center are tossing the bean bags at those in the circle with easy underhand throws or attempting to fake them out with false throws. The object is to eliminate everyone in the circle.

People can be eliminated by:

• Not catching the bean-bag when thrown in a “catchable” way.

• Moving their hands to catch the bag (or flinching) when the bag is falsely thrown.

• Throwing the bag back to those in the center overhand

It is possible to eliminate several people at once by all of them flinching at a throw. As those in the circle are eliminated, they must sit down. Once there are only a few people who remain standing, those people replace those in the center and the game begins again.

Sock Name Game

The players sit in a circle and introduce themselves. One player is chosen to sit in the middle of the circle. He holds a sock with another rolled-up sock in it.

One person is designated to start the game by loudly announcing their own name and the name of someone else in the circle. The person who was named has to quickly (before getting hit by the sock) say their own name and the name of another person sitting in the circle. (It can’t be the name of the person sitting in the middle with the sock.)

This goes on until someone gets flustered or can’t think of a name quickly enough and the person sitting in the middle hits them with the sock before they can complete saying their own name and the name of another person in the circle.

Fox and Rabbit

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  1. 25 Programming Ideas for 2002
  2. Top Programming Ideas 2003
  3. Top Programming Ideas 2004
  4. Collaborative Programming
  5. Collaborative Programming
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