One… Two… Let’s play Zoo!
Summary: Zoo is a rhythm-party game that has each player represented as an animal. The object of the game is to eliminate other players.
Ages: 10 and up. Recommended # of people: 6-15. Messiness factor: No sweat. Materials Required: None. Recommended Setting: Indoors.
How to Play: Zoo is a simple yet very fun rhythm game. A group of people chooses to stand or sit in a circle, with everyone facing the center. Now everyone must choose an animal to represent him or herself. Each player will have a specific animal that they represent by a hand gesture. For example, a player could put their arm up by their nose to represent an elephant or they can hold out one of their hands in a claw shape to form the paw of a lion. Players can use their imagination for how they want to represent their animal, just as long as it’s not too difficult to mimic quickly. No two players can have the same animal or have a similar hand gesture, so that no one gets confused. Memorize each player’s hand gesture and make sure everyone else knows all the animals in play.
Having formed a circle, select a person who will start the round. He or she begins a basic 1-2-3 rhythm beat among the group using your hands. On the first two beats, everyone slaps their thighs, and on the third beat, everyone claps. If this is anyone’s first time playing, make sure everyone has a feel for the beat. When all players are ready, begin the beat and everyone shout, “One, two, let’s play Zoo!”
Slap your hands on your thighs for the first two beats, then on the third beat, perform your animal hand gesture (if you are the first player.) On the next set of three beats, slap your thighs twice, then use another person’s animal gesture on the third beat. At this point, the player whose animal was just represented has to respond by performing their animal, still keeping with the 1-2-3 beat. After that, they throw it to another player by representing their animal on the next rhythm beat.
Continue playing the beat with your hands by slapping your thighs twice and then clapping on the third beat, if you don’t need to represent your animal. Everyone has to keep the beat going, regardless of whether or not you are representing yours or another person’s animal. Keep in mind that just because the beat is 1-2-3 that doesn’t mean it has to stay at the same speed. Players can, and probably will, speed up the beat, making it tougher on everyone to stay focused.
Failure to represent your animal or messing up a hand gesture means that the player is out of the group. The circle must remain close, so move chairs or positions when it is necessary. The last player remaining wins the game.
Advanced mode: A little twist to this game is that you may begin rotating step-by-step in a circular motion while in play, but that is recommended for players with at least a few rounds of experience.
Credits go to Leo Tang for this great game!