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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.





12 days ago

I love all the captioned images in your instructable. It looks like a fun game for birthday parties and large family get-togethers. Have you thought about having the children work in groups or teams that correspond with the colors of the 6 batteries? So the red team will set out and work together to find and return the red battery. You could add rules like "only your team members can unfreeze you" to add to the teamwork aspect.


Reply 12 days ago

I had not thought of that. What an interesting idea! Teams are a well known concept and could definitely help shift the focus away from individuals. In the games that we played, kids definitely helped each other out, but I didn't get the sense that they felt like they were part of a team. THANKS!


Reply 11 days ago

Glad I could help. I would love to know how it goes if you try it out with teams. :)

Jack A Lopez

12 days ago

You could have the small dinosaurs just hand out batteries to the smallest, least skilled players.

This unfairness will irk the older children, if they find out about it, but they'll probably keep playing.

By the way, college admissions work the same way. There are a lot of kids who feel sad because they lack the grades, test scores, writing ability, that the smart kids were able to "find" somehow.

So to help make the game more fun for everyone, colleges have special exceptions to their usual rules, like "affirmative action," and "bribes."

This irks the smart kids, but usually not so much they'll refuse to go that college, if admitted.

afraser-kruckJack A Lopez

Reply 12 days ago

Hehehe. I will definitely accept bribes for the locations of batteries :) I like the idea of having a more straight forward option for younger kids. Maybe there could be another tangible item other than the batteries that the smaller kids need to transport from one spot to another. Let's call them widgets. They can see the widgets, but need to navigate a field of dinosaurs to accomplish the task. Then they can still have fun and get a feeling of accomplishment. Thanks for the idea!