Jurassic Spark kids game: how to distribute fun more evenly? Answered
I recently made up an outdoor kids adventure game that is really fun for most, but could use help with making the game more fun for all the kids. I conducted an anonymous survey afterwards and a few kids were sad that they didn't get to find the batteries (explained below). My question relates to this. I'm asking here because I figure teachers have tons of experience with kids!
The game is called Jurassic Spark. I've written up the details with lots of pictures in this Instructable for the game, but I'll summarize here:
Target kid age: 4 to 7 years old (although I plan to continue adapting as kids get older)
Scenario: The Jurassic Spark electrified fence has lost power and many dangerous dinosaurs are on the loose. Can our brave explorers (kids) find the high power batteries to energize the fence before it's too late? Watch out for the T-Rex!
Player roles:explorers (kids), small dinosaurs (adults), and the terrifying T-Rex (adult)!
To win: the explorers need to find and return the 6 high power Batteries back to the Power Station to energize the electric fence before the dinosaurs tag all the explorers. Because the kids are young, the dinosaurs (adults) aren't playing to win, just to make it an exciting challenge. The game lasts around 15 to 20 minutes.
Getting tagged: When a dinosaur tags an explorer, the explorer has to freeze and put their arms out like in freeze tag. Frozen explorers are encouraged to yell for assistance "Help! Help! A dino chomped me!" and can be unfrozen by being touched by another free explorer.
Tail stealing: The explorers are not completely defenseless, however. The small dinosaurs have tails that can be stolen and they hate that! "Roar! Who stole my tail!?" Tail lacking dinosaurs must return to the dinosaur pen before they can regrow their tail and return to hunting. I feel that this is a very important part of the game as it brings balance and a whole lot of fun. It also encourages lots of exciting team building as kids will often gang up on a dino to take it down or distract it. Once the electric fence is powered up, dinos that have their tails stolen are trapped in the pen until the game ends (usually only a minute or two).
T-REX: To up the level of excitement, we add a T-Rex wild card into the mix! The T-Rex cannot be stopped and loves chomping on explorers! There's nothing quite like seeing a giant roaring T-Rex head chase or stalk their cute tiny prey :)
We played the game with 20 kids, 6 small dinosaurs, and 1 T-Rex.
Question: How can I make the game more fun for the kids that feel left out because they didn't find a battery? We made a rule that a kid can only return one battery per game, but there are 6 batteries and 20 kids. The older kids tended to find the batteries each game. My gut is telling me that I wouldn't be able to handle a game with 20 batteries.
The part that makes this extra challenging is that the kids are young and I can't make too many complicated rules. We'll add complexity as they grow older with tranquilizer darts and stuff like that :)
If you are interested in reading all the survey feedback, it is near the bottom of the Instructable.