3 Games to Help You Learn Names

We all know that moment when we go to say hello to someone and realize that we have totally forgotten their name. It leads to an awkward exchange where you either just refuse to use their name or come up with a nickname to pretend like you didn’t just blank on their name. By then it feels way too late to ask them again for their name and confess that we forgot it in the first place. However, despite how awkward it is when you forget, everyone knows that it can be difficult to remember everyone’s names all the time, especially when you have a new group of people. A great way to learn everyone’s names while having fun is by playing name games. This prevents any awkward moments where you forget someone’s name and helps build bonds between your group members. Here are three games you can play to learn a group’s name! 

Bumpity, Bump, Bump

Ask your group to form a circle and put yourself at the center. The circle of players should be 6-10 feet in diameter. Once this is done, explain to the group that the game begins when you point at a player and say that person’s first name followed by the phrase “Bumpity Bump Bump.” The player you pointed at must say the person’s name to their immediate left before you finish saying Bumpity Bump Bump. If they do not, then they must go to the center to try and trap someone else. At random points, you should also give the command “chaos” where all the players will run around and switch places. This will give them new names to learn. You can vary the game by saying “RIGHT” just before pointing to someone. The person you pointed at must now say the person’s name to his/her right. Or you can say “ME,” where the person must identify the person in the middle. 

Repeat After Me

Have the group stand in a circle. Begin by telling the group that you are going to go around and share your first names as well as a few additional ‘get to know you’ facts of your choice (family, church, childhood hobby, etc…). You go first to model this for them and then choose a direction for who goes next. Before the next person shares, inform the group that each person will need to say their own name as well as every person’s name who has shared previously. The last person in the circle will therefore be sharing every other person’s name. 

Slap That Name

Players sit in a circle and place their feet out in front of them. One player is standing in the middle holding a pool noodle. A player sitting in the circle calls out someone’s name who is also sitting in the circle. The player with the pool noodle tries to hit (gently) the player whose name has been called. The player who has their name called must call out someone else’s name before they are hit with the pool noodle. The pool noodle holder then goes after that person. If a player whose name is called gets hit before they can call out another player’s name, they switch places with the person standing in the middle with the noodle. A helpful rule is to not allow players to call out the names of the people sitting next to them.

Now, you no longer need to refer to someone by “buddy,” “dude,” or any other nicknames because you blanked on their name. These games can be played anytime, anywhere, but they work best when you have a larger group. There are also many variations you could implement in order to match the needs of the group you are working with.

Heather Flanagan
Heather Flanagan
Heather is a student at the University of Georgia studying English and Communication with the hopes of one day becoming an editor for children's fiction. In her free time, you can find her hiking, reading, or drawing, but her favorite pastime is finding new activities to do with friends.

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