Find the Penny

  • Great fun for all abilities and age groups
  • Works agility and good for both individual and team competition
  • Ideal for groups of 3-10 players
  • Works best on grass

Find the Penny is a fun and competitive game that includes a prize (albeit a very small one). It's easy to set up and allows players to be grouped into teams of various sizes.

Equipment

A set of flexi-cones. 4-5 per player for smaller groups of up to about five players; 3-4 per player for larger groups of seven or more.

Setting Up

Select an area appropriate to the group size. The game will be made more challenging by setting out the cones over a much wider area.

A penny is hidden underneath one of the cones. It's very important that nobody knows where the penny is hidden.

Playing

Players simply have to find the penny. Each player is allowed to run to, and check underneath, any cone. As soon as the penny is found the player calls out and everybody returns to the start point. The winner can either keep the penny as a prize or become the "hider". If the plan is to hide the penny again the rest of the group must turn around and cover their eyes while it is hidden.

You can choose to have players either replace cones once they've been checked or to turn them upside down to indicate that there is no penny underneath. The second option tends to result in a quicker game since each cone will only be checked once.

In variations of the game that involve hiding more than one penny or object it can be difficult to determine when all pennies have been found. In such cases it can be useful to either set a time limit or require that each penny that is found is returned to the group leader who can keep count.

Group Size

Three is the minimum for the game to feel like fun, and unless you have a very large number of cones the game tends to be over very quickly with more than about ten players. A good strategy with larger groups is to spread the cones out over a very large area.

Variations

Pennies Galore

There are several pennies hidden and play continues until all have been found. The winner is the person who finds the most pennies.

Pennies Plus

Various denominations of coins are hidden under several different cones. The winner is the player who finds the most-valuable coin, the runner-up the player who finds the second most-valuable and so on. This version of the game can end up being quite expensive for the group leader when things get lost, so it might be worth using slips of paper or card with values written on.

Teaming Up

Players are organised into two or more teams and several pennies are hidden underneath cones. The winning team is the one that finds the most pennies.

Penny-free

There's no need to use pennies, any object that can fit under a cone will suffice. It can be fun to hide prizes and have themed games (e.g. hiding a small chocolate egg at Easter).

Real World Example

There is a group of eight athletes and the session is taking place in a park. Athletes are of mixed abilities.

50 coloured cones are laid out randomly and pennies are hidden underneath ten of them.

Players are instructed that they must find as many pennies as possible within two minutes. Each cone that is checked must be replaced in its original position.

Play begins and after 45 seconds the run leader shouts "stop".

Four players have found one penny and two players have found two pennies each. This means we have a draw and that there are still two pennies hidden under cones. The two players that found two pennies each have a "penny-off" to determine the winner.

They set off searching under cones and after about 30 seconds one of the players finds one of the remaining pennies and is announced the winner.

Tips

Use more cones, or spread them out over a wider area, to make the game more challenging.

Danger

Players should be careful not to bump heads when reaching down to check underneath cones. Place cones at reasonable distances apart to mitigate this.