Ice Breakers

11 Paradoxical Games for Children and Adolescents

The Paradoxical games are those in which the ambivalence between cooperation or opposition is presented.

At any time the player can decide if he wants to cooperate or wants to oppose. This means that the same person can intervene as a partner or adversary within the same game.

There are many traditional games that are paradoxical but can also be applied to sports such as cycling, or skiing.

The participants of these games make a series of pacts and alliances, but not necessarily met throughout the game, which generates a distrust because it is not known whether the agreement will be fulfilled or not.


Unlike the traditional games, the paradoxical ones propose a network of motor interactions so that the participants act among themselves at their whim.

In addition to fulfilling important social and educational roles, they are games that are used for fun, since they have an established dynamic for fun.

There are several classifications of the games depending on the logic of the game and the rules. If we characterize them by the motor situation, they can be psychomotor or sociomotor. In the psychomotor the performance of the game depends on the player, so as a rule will act alone.

On the other hand, in sociomotrices, participants must interact with each other. And we can also classify them as:

  • Cooperatives or communication: where alliances are formed.
  • Opposition or counter-communication: where there is an adversary
  • Opposite-cooperative: where there are two sides, one of allies and one of rivals.

Examples of paradoxical games

1- Cycling

This sport that consists of going on a bike, can be considered from the paradoxical point of view. If relays are formed, or even teams, even if there is a clearly defined side, only one will cross the finish line.

So despite alliances that may have been established before, a participant could change his mind and go against his team in order to win

2- 1X2

Players use a ball, while players count out loud: “one”, “X”, “two” must pass the ball.

Whoever in turn takes the count “two” should throw the object to another partner: if he hits it wins, if instead that partner takes the ball without dropping it will lose the first. Whoever gets more points will win.

3- Climb the caballito

A player climbs on a horse on another player and they have to go running trying to catch the rest. When they catch someone, they have to get on a horse on top of another player to continue with the game

4- Fill the field

This game consists of dividing the field into equal parts, in each division there must be the same number of balls.

When the whistle blows, players have to try to get rid of as many balls by throwing them into other fields. When the time runs out and the whistle blows again, the team that has the fewest balls in its field will win.

5- The stain

This classic chasing game consists of a player who has “the spot” chasing the rest and passing “the stain” to another player to this exchange the roles.

6- Tapaculo

In a group of players, near a wall, is that the other player does not touch your ass. The barrier can be used as a protector. Win the last one that is left that has not touched your ass

7- Burned (prisoner ball)

Two teams formed that are placed in front of each other with a line on the ground that they can not cross. With a ball they will try to “burn” a rival.

If the ball touches the opponent and he is not able to catch it before it touches the ground, it will be eliminated. If, on the contrary, the opponent is able to catch the ball on the fly, the pitcher will be eliminated.

The team that remains with a player on the court will win. This game is the paradoxical game for excellence, since the pact of alliance with your team is established.

But as the players of the opposing team begin to decrease, a player can establish a strategy in which he is the final winner and not his team.

8- The King

By marking a circle on the ground, all the players get inside. The game consists of taking the players out of the circle by pushing only with the back and the ass.

This game needs an initial pact to be able to be carried out, but the game is almost impossible to win. Once the allies have managed to get ahead, the pact must be broken so that some player is like the king

9- King of the sands

It is a variant of the games to pursue. In this case, there is only a part of the floor that can be stepped on that will be previously agreed, for example, the stripes painted on the floor. Whoever steps outside the bounded area will automatically lose and keep it

10- The hiding place

This classic game we all know, is that a person is responsible for counting while others hide. Once the account is finished, it will go to find its partners.

If these arrive at “home” before the counter, they will be saved. If everyone manages to get home before the accountant, he will lose. The accountant has to find the largest number of people and get home before them.

11- The handkerchief

In this game two teams are formed at a distance of at least five meters separated by an imaginary line.

Another player will be at the beginning of the imaginary line holding a handkerchief. Each player will receive a number, the head of the handkerchief will say a number and they have to run to get the handkerchief before the other.

If a player takes the handkerchief, but the opponent catches him before reaching the starting position, he will lose.

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