Human Hungry Hungry Hippos

The classic tabletop game, reinvented with sheer glee.

Do you remember playing Hungry Hungry Hippos during your own childhood? Gather a group of little thrillseekers and get ready to play the unforgettable, interactive version. Led by human ‘hippos’, each team member will become a part of the game itself, and find themselves giggling for days thereafter.

Just remember to make sure everyone is wearing a securely fastened helmet before you begin – the last thing you want is a clash of heads when the ‘hippos’ meet in the middle.

Instructions

  1. If you’re unsure of what to expect, start by watching this hilarious clip of Scouts enjoying the game.
  2. Gather your group in a large, clear, indoor space. Check for any hazards – such as furniture – and remove them. The space should be as clear as possible.
  3. Prepare all of your equipment. Each ‘hippo’ will need a bucket, a helmet, and a skateboard with an appropriate amount of cord or rope attached to it. The length of the cord will depend on how large the room is, and how far they need to travel to reach the centre of it.
  4. Blow up all of the balloons – or gather all of the plastic balls – and place them in the centre of the room.
  5. Divide the group into teams, and assign a team to each corner of the room. This is their territory, and this is where they will store any of the balloons/balls they manage to retrieve from the centre.
  6. Once everything is prepped, explain the following rules to the group and begin.

Rules

  1. The ‘hippo’, lying flat on their skateboard, is pushed into the centre of the room by their team.
  2. While they are in the centre, they must attempt to collect as many balloons/plastic balls as possible, using their basket to scoop them up, and return them safely back to their team’s assigned corner.
  3. To make things even more fun and challenging, the skateboard the ‘hippo’ is riding must not stop moving throughout the game, unless team members are swapping places. As soon as the ‘hippo’ reaches the centre, he or she must be immediately pulled back to their corner by their team (who have control of the bungee cords/rope).
  4. The children can either send the same player back to the centre multiple times, or have the whole team rotate, taking it in turns to play the ‘hippo’.
  5. Only balls that are unequivocally within the team’s corner count as points. Balls/balloons will quickly become scattered around the room, and it’s not enough to have these close to the team’s corner. If a stray balloon/ball is nearby, the team can choose to send the ‘hippo’ towards that ball to retrieve it, instead of to the centre.
  6. The game ends when all of the balloons/balls are gone, or when the timer runs out.
  7. The team with the most balloons/balls wins.
  • Cost
  • Cheap
  • Time Needed
  • 1 hour
  • You will need
  • Buckets, plastic balls or balloons, strong cords - such as bungee cords or ropes, skateboards, helmets, timer (optional)
  • Skills developed
  • Confidence, teamwork
  • Perfect for
  • Thrill seekers