Magical Connections

Over the years I have found that games are a key component in teaching or reviewing the information that I share in my educational assembly programs. What follows are some great ideas for games that will be easy to do with little preparation but they will be EFFECTIVE. Before we get into the actual games lets take a moment and consider what makes an educational game effective.

1) The game needs to be FUN...wow, that's enlightening isn't it? However, you would be suprised how many people use games just to fill time and keep the students busy with little regard to whether the students are having FUN!! But in order for them to have fun you need to have fun as well. After all FUN is contagious.

2) Competiition an ugly word in today's day and age. The self esteem years had good intentions but the net result is disappointing at best. The age of "everybody wins a trophy" has come and gone (hopefully) and we find kids who have a hard time dealing with any kind of disappointment. We can have competition in a way that is rewarding and educational if we just take some time to make a plan that will encourage "healthy competition" and discourage win at all costs! It helps to break the group into two teams and let them come up with creative names for their teams. You can award points to a team rather than individuals which helps to focus the attention on the action rather than winner and loser.

3) Length of the game should be short, I don't care what the age longer games tend to get boring...and when they get boring you LOSE 'EM! And make sure the rules are short and easy to understand complicated games are quick to become long and boring. Students like quick and to the point games, get to the FUN!

4) Interaction is encouraged but do offer guidelines. Encouragement of team members is great but booing or put downs are NOT ALLOWED. We need to treat each person with respect and appreciate what they bring to the game.

5) Music is always a wonderful option with games it adds excitement and energy. It can be an intrinsic part of the game or simply background as you play the game. Make sure to keep up on what music is popular but be sure to listen to the song completely to make sure it is appropriate!

6) Be an encouraging encourager...you are the focal point of the classroom that means you need to encourage team support and good sportsmanship between the teams.

7) Don't overdo a fun game! There is an old saying in the entertainment business, LEAVE 'EM WANTING MORE! Same thing applies to games. It's great to get them excited but it really pays to not over play a game or play it to often or it loses it's excitement. Have a few alternative games in case they grow weary of their favorite game!

Well those are a few pointers to help with the games you use, but now let's jump into some games you can use right away.


Heads Or Tails Logo

Here's a simple game to get the wiggles out of a group of students in a fun way they will appreciate. Have all the kids stand up and show a coin. If you want you could share the history of the figure on the coin and the significance of the other symbols on the coin. Explain that this is a simple game of elimination right before you flip the coin the kids either place their hands on their head for HEADS or on their hips for TAILS. You flip the coin if they match the flipped coin they stay standing everyone else sits. Do this until only one student is standing they are the winner. This simple little game could be used to determine many different things in your school day. Some teachers even have a little prize for the winner like a bookmark or something.

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Another great game to get kids to review and socialize at the same time. Let's say for example your lesson plan for the day is covering 4 United States presidents. Each corner of the room represents one of the presidents. Let's say by way of example the presidents are John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. You then share interesting facts that pertain to each president and the kids have to decide which president by going to the correct corner. In this way the kids learn but also have fun in the process and burn off some energy! Obviously, the subjects are only limited by your imagination but here are few ideas.

Characters in a book they read.
Four countries and their key characteristics.
Capitol cities and the products the state is known for.
Four planets from our solar system and their make-up.

After they make their choices have them discuss their reasons with one another!

Fling Logo

Have the kids sit in a circle. Explain that no one can laugh or smile unless someone "flings" them a smile. You start the game by demonstrating and creating a very large ridiculous smile on your face. Then take your hand and wipe it off your face and "fling" it to one of the children in the circle. The student who received the smile mist make a very large, ridiculous smile on their face, then wipe it off and fling the smile to another student in the circle. No one is allowed to smile or laugh unless a SMILE is flung at them.

If someone does smile or laugh, they must leave the circle and join the giggle club...this game is not about winning or losing, it's about generating laughter and good feelings!

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