A great activity for everyone

Rush Hour

A thrilling and chaotic group game where players race to find a seat on the opposite side, with chairs progressively removed, creating a fun and dynamic challenge.

Rush Hour
By Jon Zajac

What is Rush Hour?

The Rush Hour group game is a lively and engaging activity that involves medium to large groups of kids and teens. Its purpose is to provide pure fun and entertainment, rather than act as an icebreaker since it doesn’t involve much talking. The game is similar to musical chairs, but without music. Players start seated on opposite sides of the room and must run to the other side to find a chair once the game begins.

Rush Hour is best suited for young children up to the early teens, though it can get quite rough, so adult supervision is necessary for younger players. The game doesn’t require much preparation or materials, only chairs for each participant. To play, divide the group into two teams and have them sit on chairs arranged in two rows facing each other.

The goal of Rush Hour is not to win but to have fun while navigating through the chaos. As players run to find a chair, they may need to avoid “traffic cones,” or players who didn’t find a seat and are now standing still in the middle of the room. The game continues with chairs being removed until only two chairs remain, one for each team. At this point, the teams aim to have at least one player seated on their respective chairs.

The Rush Hour group game is an excellent way to engage kids and teens in active play, fostering a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition. The rules are simple, making it easy for anyone to understand and enjoy the fun!

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Rules for Rush Hour

  1. Split the group into two teams and have them sit down on chairs arranged in two rows, facing each other.
  2. Count backwards from 3, and on “go,” everyone will need to leap up out of their chair and head to a chair on the opposite side of the room.
  3. After the first run, remove chairs from the game (one chair from each side or randomly).
  4. Players that fail to sit in a chair become ‘traffic cones’ and stand in the middle of the room, requiring other players to navigate around them.
  5. The game continues until only two chairs remain, one for each team. There won’t be a single winner; instead, there will be two winners, one on each side of the room.

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Materials needed for Rush Hour

  • Chairs: You will need enough chairs for each person participating in the game. These chairs will be arranged in two rows, with one row facing the other. Participants will need to run from their chair on one side of the room to an empty chair on the opposite side.

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Setting up for Rush Hour

To set up for the Rush Hour icebreaker activity, you will need to split the group into two teams and have them sit down on chairs. The chairs should be arranged in rows on opposite sides of the room, with an equal number of chairs on each side. Before starting the game, make sure to clearly explain the rules and safety guidelines to all participants. It is important to ensure that everyone understands the objective of the game and how to navigate through the room without causing injuries. Additionally, designate a safe area in the middle of the room for any players who do not successfully find a chair to stand as “traffic cones.” Overall, proper setup and clear communication are key to ensuring a fun and safe Rush Hour icebreaker activity.

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How to play Rush Hour

  1. Set up the game: To set up the Rush Hour icebreaker, you will need to gather enough chairs for each participant. Place the chairs in two rows facing each other on opposite sides of the room. Make sure there is enough space between the rows for participants to run through.
  2. Split the group into teams: Divide the participants into two teams and have them sit down on a chair in their respective rows.
  3. Explain the rules: Explain to the participants that when you count backwards from three, they must quickly get up and try to find an empty chair on the opposite side of the room. The goal is to be one of the last two players left with a chair.
  4. Remove chairs: After each round, remove one chair from each row (or alternate removing chairs) to make it more challenging for participants to find a seat.
  5. Introduce traffic cones: If a participant does not make it to an empty chair in time, they become a “traffic cone” and must stand still in the middle of the room. The remaining players will have to navigate around them to find a seat.
  6. Continue playing until there are two winners: The game continues with participants running back and forth between rows trying to find an empty chair, while avoiding traffic cones. Keep removing chairs until only two players remain, one from each row. These two players will be the winners of the Rush Hour icebreaker.

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Benefits of Rush Hour

  • Builds Physical Activity: Rush Hour is a game that involves running and balance, which can help players to get some exercise and have fun while doing so.
  • Encourages Teamwork: Although Rush Hour isn’t an icebreaker in the traditional sense, it does encourage teamwork as players work together to find a seat on the opposite side of the room.
  • Improves Reaction Time: With players having to react quickly to find a chair before their opponent does, Rush Hour can help to improve reaction time and decision-making skills.
  • Boosts Energy Levels: This game is high-energy and can help to boost energy levels and morale in a group setting.
  • Easy to Organize: With no preparation required and minimal materials needed, Rush Hour is an easy game to organize and play at any time.

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Skills built with Rush Hour

  • Running and Balance: Rush Hour is an active game that requires participants to run quickly to the opposite side of the room and find a chair to sit in. This requires good running speed and balance, as players will need to navigate around other players and avoid collisions. Additionally, as chairs are removed from the game, players will have to think strategically about which chair to go for, adding a cognitive element to the physical challenge.
  • Teamwork: Although Rush Hour is not strictly a team game, playing it in a group setting can foster a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition. Participants may work together to block opponents from reaching chairs or may help each other up if they trip or fall. By encouraging players to support one another while still competing against each other, Rush Hour can build trust and cooperation within the group.
  • Spatial Awareness: As players run towards a chair on the opposite side of the room, they will need to be aware of their surroundings and anticipate potential collisions with other players. This requires good spatial awareness and the ability to make quick decisions based on one’s position in relation to others. By improving participants’ spatial awareness and decision-making skills, Rush Hour can help them navigate busy environments more safely and efficiently.
  • Resilience: Rush Hour is a fast-paced game that requires players to bounce back quickly from setbacks or failures. For example, if a player fails to reach a chair in time, they may become a ‘traffic cone’ and have to stand in the middle of the room. However, this does not mean they are out of the game; instead, they can still try to navigate around other players and find a chair in subsequent rounds. By encouraging participants to keep trying even when they face obstacles or setbacks, Rush Hour can build resilience and perseverance.

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Why I like Rush Hour

As someone who enjoys facilitating fun and engaging activities for groups, I find the Rush Hour icebreaker to be a great option due to its simplicity, accessibility, and high-energy nature. Here are some reasons why I like it:

  1. Easy to understand and play: The rules of Rush Hour are straightforward and easy to explain, making it simple for participants to jump in and start playing without any confusion or hesitation.
  2. Encourages physical activity: As an active game, Rush Hour gets people moving and engaged, which can help to energize the group and create a positive atmosphere.
  3. Suitable for a wide range of ages: With its simple rules and high-energy gameplay, Rush Hour is suitable for children as young as eight, making it a great option for groups with a wide age range.
  4. Customizable difficulty level: By adjusting the number of chairs and traffic cones used in the game, you can easily customize the difficulty level to suit the needs and abilities of your group.
  5. No preparation required: Since Rush Hour only requires chairs as its primary material, it’s easy to set up and doesn’t require any advance planning or preparation.
  6. Creates a sense of competition: While there isn’t necessarily a winner in Rush Hour, the game does create a sense of competition as players race to find a chair on the opposite side of the room, which can help to build excitement and engagement.
  7. Encourages strategic thinking: As the game progresses and chairs are removed, players must think strategically about how to navigate around traffic cones and other obstacles to find a seat, which can help to develop critical thinking skills.

Overall, I find Rush Hour to be a fun and engaging icebreaker that is easy to set up, customizable, and suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities. Its high-energy gameplay and strategic elements make it a great option for building excitement and engagement in any group setting.

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Tips for making Rush Hour more inclusive

  • Tip: Provide chair options. Consider offering chairs with different heights or sizes to accommodate people of all ages and abilities. This will make the game more inclusive for individuals who may have difficulty sitting on standard-sized chairs.
  • Tip: Designate a safe zone. Clearly mark a safe area where participants can go if they feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed during the game. Encourage players to use this space if they need a break from the action.
  • Tip: Modify the rules. Adjust the rules of the game to better suit the needs and abilities of your group. For example, you could allow players to walk instead of run, or provide additional chairs for those who need them.
  • Tip: Use visual aids. Consider using visual aids such as signs or diagrams to help explain the rules and objectives of the game. This can be especially helpful for individuals who may have difficulty understanding spoken instructions.
  • Tip: Encourage teamwork. Instead of having participants compete against each other, encourage them to work together to find seats. This will promote a more inclusive and collaborative atmosphere during the game.

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Reflection questions for Rush Hour

  1. How did you feel during the game? This question can help participants reflect on their emotions and physical sensations during the game, which can be useful for understanding their comfort level with active group games.
  2. Did you have a strategy when trying to find a chair? If so, what was it? This question can encourage participants to think about problem-solving and decision-making skills they used during the game.
  3. What challenges did you face while playing the game? How did you overcome them? This question can help participants reflect on their resilience and ability to adapt to unexpected situations.
  4. How did you feel when you had to navigate around the ‘traffic cones’? This question can help participants think about empathy and consideration for others, as well as their ability to focus and pay attention to their surroundings.
  5. What did you learn from playing this game? This question can encourage participants to reflect on the skills they used during the game and how they might apply them in other situations.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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