Games Database



A chair for each child, arranged in pairs in a circle

Game Description

Chair are arranged in pairs in a circle, and each pair of chairs is numbered 1, 2, 3 around the circle, as a clock face. The last pair of chairs does not have a number, but is called the Bughouse. Children sit on all of the chairs (including the Bughouse) and hold the hand of their partner. The Leader then calls out two numbers representing two of the chair pairs.

The aim of the game is for the children in those chairs to swap chairs without letting go of their partners hand, while those in the Bughouse try to steal a seat.

Often, younger children will want to sit in the Bughouse and will be reluctant to move out. I have found that if the leader stands behind the Bughouse they can encourage them to move more quickly. Younger or smaller children may be reluctant to run out in case of running in the wrong direction. A quiet work in their ear, before the numbers are called out, can overcome this problem.

Another problem will occur when one child from each pair is sitting on a chair and there is a potential for shoving and pushing to get one or the other off the chair. There is one more call that the Leader can make, that is 'Bughouse'. At the call 'Bughouse' everyone must change chairs.

Do not be affraid to call 'Bughouse' several times in succession to resolve problems, the children appear to enjoy it.

For the very young, it often helps to chalk the number of the chairs on the floor in front of the them.

A variation that works for Scouts, is to number the participant pairs rather than the chairs. The effect of this is that those in the Bughouse do not know where the numbers will be coming from, particularly as the game develops and they get well and truly mixed up.

Another variant for Scouts is to call more than two numbers, three numbers gets interesting. This variant is not advisable for the younger age groups as more people running around is a potential for more bumps.