How to play the circle game Wah!

A fun circle game that can be played indoors or out! This game is taught using the theme of trees, but has been taught with the theme of ninjas as well! An entertaining how-to story can make games even more fun and this one definitely be very fun! The game of the week is Wah!

Group Size:  Large group (10 or more)
Age Group:  Grades 3+
Length of Activity:  Under 10 minutes
Developmental Goal:  To develop awareness and active listening capability.
Equipment:  None

Before You Start: 

  • Make sure participants understand the three motions: becoming a tree, chopping down a tree, and having a tree fall.
  • Review when in the game you would perform each motion.
  • Review proper chopping (no touching), as well as proper heckling (no touching or yelling).
  • Play a slow motion practice round.

Set Up: 

Everyone standing in a circle facing each other.

How To Play: 

  • Play begins when a designated player raises both arms over their head with palms together to form a “tree” and says “Wah!”   
  • The two players on either side of the tree become lumberjacks and must chop the tree down by placing their own palms together and simultaneously make one chopping motion toward the midsection of the tree while also saying “Wah!” (Remember not to actually touch the tree with the chopping motion.)
  • When the tree is chopped, it falls by bending at the waist, saying “Wah!” and pointing to another member of the circle. The fallen tree may point to anyone in the circle except the players directly next to them. 
  • The player whom the fallen tree points at must immediately become the next tree by raising both arms together and saying “Wah!”  
  • The game continues with the players on either side of the new tree chopping it down, the tree falling and pointing at another player, and the player pointed at creating the next tree.
  • If it any time a member of the circle hesitates, performs the wrong motion or does not say “Wah!”, that player must step outside the circle. The game stops to let the player step out and starts again when a new tree goes up (anyone may do this). 
  • Players outside the circle remain active by walking around the circle and distracting the remaining players by heckling them (without touching or yelling).
  • As players are eliminated, the circle continues to shrink until the final four players are congratulated as the winners.


  • Don’t eliminate players, work together to go as fast as you can.
  • Change the “Wah!” to something else, like “Uma!” or “Oprah!

Find more new and exciting games in our games database!

Love implementing Game of the Week? Playworks Trainers are equipped with oodles of tools and tips to help you get a recess and play program going today. Check out our professional development programs and bring Playworks to your school or afterschool program.

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