Sunday, January 19, 2014


Sometimes children get a little over zealous if you are playing team games where you keep points. Here’s a tip to eliminate some of that competitiveness. Take a deli lid and trace around it twice on paper and cut out. Write “high” on one circle and “low” on the other circle and tape to opposite sides of the lid.  (I had to trim the circles a little to get them to fit on the lid.)  After playing the game, toss the lid. If it lands on “high” the team with the highest score wins. If it lands on “low” the team with the lowest score wins.

Note! Do you see how easy it is to adapt these games for whatever age or skill you are working with? Pre-k teachers could use shapes and letters, while second grade teachers could use vocabulary words, math facts, or science questions.

                           TIC TAC TOE - THIS IS WHAT I KNOW
Skills: review questions, math facts, words, etc.
Materials: questions, flashcards

Directions: Divide the class into two teams. One team is “X” and one team is “O.” One child at a time from each team comes forward. The teacher asks players to answer a question, identify a word, etc. The first player to get the correct answer gets to make an “X” or an “O” on the board for their team. The first team to get three in a row wins.

Skills: math facts, words, names, review questions, etc.
Materials: scrap paper, crayons

Directions: Give each child a scrap sheet of paper and invite them to write their name, a letter, word, numeral, question, math fact, etc. on the paper. Divide the class into two teams and have them stand on opposite sides of the room. Children wad up their papers to make snowballs. When the teacher says, “Let it snow!” the children begin throwing their snowballs at the opposing team. Children must open a snowball and identify the information on it before throwing it back at the other side. After several minutes the teacher says, “Freeze.” Children gather up the snowballs, count, and compare. In this game, the least amount is the winner. Continue playing and tallying scores.

*A variation of this would be for the teacher to make the snowballs ahead of time by writing words, math facts, etc. on scrap paper. The children wad them up and then begin throwing. There are no teams, but the children just pick up snowballs, open them, identify the information, and then wad it up and throw it again.

                                               SWAT IT
Skills: numerals, letters, words, etc.
Materials: marker, two fly swatters

Directions: Write numerals (letters, words, etc.) on the board. Divide the class into two teams. One child from each team comes forward and is given a fly swatter. The teacher calls out a math fact. The first student to “swat” or hit the numeral that is the answer gets a point for their team. The game continues as children from each team come forward to “swat” the answer.

* STOMP is a similar game played with flashcards. Divide the class into two teams facing each other. Place the flashcards on the floor in between the two teams. Choose one child from each team to play. Call out a math problem. The first child to stomp on the answer wins a point for their team.

                                      AROUND THE WORLD
Skills: spelling words, math facts, high frequency words, etc.
Materials: flashcards

Directions: Children sit in a circle. One child (it) stands behind the first child in the circle. The teacher holds up a flashcard. If the child standing identifies the information first, he can move “around the world” and stand behind the second person in the circle. If the child sitting says it first, then they switch places with “it” and stand behind the second child. The game continues as the teacher holds up flashcards. The object is to see who can go all “around the world” or the circle.

Skills: nursery rhymes, book titles, science categories, etc.
Materials: none

Directions: Children will have fun “performing” and “stumping” their classmates with this game. One child at a time gets up in front of the room. The child acts out a nursery rhyme as their friends try and guess which one it might be. The first child to guess correctly gets to act out the next rhyme. (You might need to suggest rhymes to younger children.)

Hint! Children could also act out books, songs, feelings, animals, or other categories. You can let children make sounds or simply “pantomime.”