Chicken Market

This is a classic dramatic and active game. There are a few simple rules that make it great for young children, and anyone who can cluck like a chicken is able to get in on the fun.

Number of Players: 5+
Ages: 3+
Space: A big indoor room, or anywhere outdoors.

To begin play, one player is chosen to be the market owner and another a shopper; the rest of the players simply pretend to be chickens by stooping down in a row and clasping their hands under their knees.

The buyer approaches the market owner and says, “Have you any chickens for sale?”

The market man answers, “Yes, plenty; will you walk around and try them?” The buyer goes up to different chickens and tests them by laying her clasped hands on the “chicken’s” heads, palms downward and pressing inward. The buyer pretends to be unhappy with some of the chickens, and complaining to the market owner. “This one is too tough,””This one is too old,” and so on until at last she finds a suitable one. The chickens are supposed to go through this whole ordeal without smiling or laughing – which should prove pretty challenging.

When the buyer finds a satisfactory chicken, the buyer and the market owner take him by the arms, one on each side, and lift him up in his original position, (hands clasped below the knee) and swing him back and forth three times. If the player can stand the swinging test without losing their position, he’s okay for sale and the buyer leads him to the other side of the playing area.

The game continues like this until all the chickens are sold. Any chicken that smiles or laughs, or who can’t pass the swinging test, is out of the game, or if playing with forfeits, must pay a forfeit.