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Tuesday, April 16, 2024


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.

Pick Up
Place the flash cards randomly on the floor in the middle of the room. Divide the class into two teams. Choose one child from each team to come up and play. Call out a word. The first child to pick it up wins a point for their team.

Write words on scrap paper and distribute to the children. (Older children could write their own words.) Each child wads up their paper to make a snowball. Divide the class into two teams and have them stand on opposite sides of the room. When the teacher says, “Let it snow!” the children begin throwing snowballs at each other. Before they can throw a snowball back at the other team, they must open the paper and read the word. The game continues until the teacher says, “Freeze.” The children gather the snowballs on their side and count. The side with the least amount wins.

*Adapt the game for math facts, letters, children's names, and other skills.

*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.

Catch and Tell
“Catch and Tell” can be played if you've got a few minutes during transitions, while waiting in the hall, or at the end of the day as a review. All you will need is a bean bag or small sponge ball to play this game. The teacher says a letter and then tosses the ball to a child. That child must name something that begins with that sound before tossing the ball back to the teacher.

*This game can be adapted for rhyming words, colors, math facts, social studies, and other skills.

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.

Kids vs. Teacher
Draw a T chart on the board with “Kids” on one side and “Teacher” on the other side. Hold up a flash card. If a child raises her hand and correctly reads the word, she gets a point for the “kids.” If any child shouts out the answer, then the teacher gets a point.

(If children keep talking out of turn, just continue to give points to the teacher. They’ll figure it out!)

Four Corners
Several years ago Ginny McLay told me how she adapted 4 corners for different skills she was working on. She said she wrote skills they needed to practice (sounds, math facts, sight words, etc.) on sticky notes and placed them in a corner in the classroom. She made a second copy on index cards. The kids tiptoed to a corner while the teacher covered her eyes. The teacher then randomly picked an index card and called out that information. If they were in that corner they had to sit down. The game continued as the kids moved to another corner until one student was left.