Herbally Adapted Games

This is a list of popular kids games that have been adapted for herbal learning. If you have any other ideas, leave a comment and I’ll add your suggestion to the list along with your name.

Genus Species (Marco Polo)
One person is “it” and blindfolded. This person calls out the genus name while the others call out the species name. For instance “Matricaria…” would be called out by the person marked “it” while the others would reply “chamomilla”. The person tagged “it” tries to find the others based on the direction of their voices (while they move around).

Hot Garlic Bulb (Hot Potato)
Everyone stands in a circle facing inward. One person stands in the center with the Garlic bulb. They toss it to someone in the circle who catches it. That person shouts out a fact about Garlic (or any other designated herb) and tosses it back to the person in the center who tosses it to someone else. If the person can’t name a fact, they take the person in the center’s place.

Weed, Weed, Herb (Duck, Duck , Goose)
Shared by Katja Swift
Everyone sits in a circle facing inward while one person (the “wild crafter” walks around the outside, tapping each person’s shoulder and calling out “weed” until finally choosing one to be an herb (pre-select the herb to be picked before the game starts). The wild crafter then runs around the circle while the tagged person must call out a fact about the herb and then run after them. If the “herb” tags the wild crafter, the wild crafter must go around again but if the wild crafter gets to the herbs spot, they can sit down and the herb is now the wild crafter.

Herb Tag  (T.V. Tag)
One person is it. Decide the theme (names of herbs, latin names of herbs, facts about a specific herb, members of a specific family). The other kids run from the person who is it. If the person who is it comes close, the person ducks down and shouts out the theme. If they get tagged before they call out something or call out the wrong thing, they are it.

Theme: Herb names
Catnip, Comfrey, Lemon Balm, Violet, Garlic

Theme: Latin names
Nepeta cataria, Symphytum x uplandica, Melissa officinalis, Viola odorata, Allium sativum

Theme: Facts about a specific herb
Catnip facts: Calming, fever reducing, sleep inducing

Theme: Members of a specific Family
Family: Lamiaceae family (Mint family)
Catnip, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Spearmint, Basil, Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary

Herbal Freeze Tag (Freeze Tag)
One person is marked ‘it.’ They choose the theme such as herb names, latin names, herb facts or members of the family and call out the theme. All the other players run in the designated area. When a person is tagged, they are frozen until someone can come along and unfreeze them by tagging them while the frozen person calls out the answer to the theme. Once an answer is used, it cannot be used again for that game. For instance if the theme is herb names and the person unfreezing them calls out Basil, no one else can use Basil for the rest of that game. If someone calls out a duplicate or cannot think of an answer, they are it.

What herbs are you picking Mr. Wild Crafter? (What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?)
One person stands at one of the playing field with his back turned to the other players. The other players stand at the other end of the playing field. Pick one herb for the players to be such as Comfrey. The other players chant in unison “What herbs are you picking Mr. Wild Crafter?” and Mr. Wild Crafter answers with the name of an herb. If he names something other than the designated herb, the players take a step towards him. This continues until he calls out “Comfrey” and turns around to chase them back to their starting point. If he tags someone, they are it.


Choose a theme such as herbs from the Mint family and Mr. Wild Crafter can only call out Lamiaceae family herbs.

Instead of calling out random herbs, he can call out a description of the designated plant such as “herbs that heal wounds,” “herbs that heal broken bones,” “herbs with lots of calcium,” or “herbs that reduce scarring” until finally calling out “Comfrey!”

Red Clover, Red Clover (Red Rover, Red Rover)
Split kids into two groups. Each group forms a line about 20 away from each other, holding hands and facing the other group. The first group chants “Red Clover, Red Clover, send ___ right over,” choosing a child from the opposite line. That child runs through the line, trying to break it. If the child who runs through breaks the line, they get to return to their team and choose one of the children from the line they broke to go back with them. If the line holds, that child has to join the opposing team. The opposite team then chants the chant and tries to increase their own line. When 1 team is down to 1 player the game is over.

One Response to “Herbally Adapted Games”

  1. 1
    Teresa Honey Youngblood

    This is brilliant! So simple, easy to do in multi-aged groups, in many circumstances, in those hard-to-fill 10/15/20 minute gaps between other activities, and engaging many of the seven learning styles. What a gift to those of us who love and work with herbs and kids. Many, many thanks!

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