To prepare for the event:
- Visit the Global School Play Day Web Page to register.
- Visit the Global School Play Day Teacher Resource page for a press release, permission slips, expectations for what unstructured play entails, and more.
- Invite students to bring in games from home-without batteries or electronics.
Five Games That I Love That you May not Have Seen Before
1. A Game of Things
2. Think-ets: And A new purpose for Some random Game pieces
I found this game in the gift shop at The Exploratorium in San Francisco. There are several ways to play, but the "What's Missing?" version is my favorite. It's a very simple game. Players take turns by emptying the contents of the satchel onto the table. Inside are thirteen trinkets. One player closes their eyes while the other player removes a trinket from the table. Then the other player has to guess what's missing.
My students liked this game so much that I thought I would make some more of them. This is a great way to reuse all of those random game pieces, or any other little trinket that you find in the couch cushions, or under the seat of your car. I save these little items, and when I have collected thirteen of them I put them in an empty jewelry box and label it "What's Missing?"
3. Story Cubes
This game is a favorite of my students. Like "Think-ets", there are many variations of play suggested with the game that spark ideas for other ways in which students can alter the game. The benefits range from story telling and language use to creativity and imagination.
During the Global School Play Day there was a lot of laughter at this table, which attracted my attention. When I moved in closer, I observed a group of students excitedly listening to their classmates stories while waiting for their turn to roll cubes and tell a new story. I suggested a variation of their game that would require them to leave out a cube when telling the story to see if their friends could guess which cube had been omitted.
4. Ready, Set ... PLAY!
I picked up this game in the exhibit hall at a Math conference for teachers. I was staying in the hotel at the conference site with some other teachers from my school and we were up past our teacher bedtime playing this addictive game. It is still one of my most favorite games.
When I first discovered this game, years and years ago, I made overhead projector colored copies of my cards so we could use them in class as a daily puzzle. It makes for a great warm up, brain break, or finished early type of activity. Now there are daily digital sets online, a daily set app for your phone, and the New York Times publishes sets along with the Sudoku and crossword puzzles, all of which are much easier options than making colored copies on overhead transparencies. Just click on one of the links above if you want to try it out for yourself.
In addition to the original card version, there's now a dice version, a mini version, and a kid's version.
5. BeanBoozled! A Great Activity for a "Brain Break"
I'm not really sure what the official rules are for this game. I think they come with the kit, but we have that kind of classroom where we make up our own rules. What we came up with is: I start by choosing two students randomly. I use the random feature on Class Dojo, but there are many methods for choosing students. Someone spins the spinner. I played a round with a student and it landed on buttered popcorn/rotten eggs. We each took the appropriate colored jellybean and popped them in our mouths. The idea is to trick the class, which is watching us very carefully for facial expressions, or any other clues to decide if we got a rotten egg or a buttered popcorn bean. I had rotten egg and failed miserably at keeping a straight face or offering a subtle clue that I had something tasty in my mouth to fool everyone. Two bites in and I'm shaking my head and saying nope as I make a beeline for the garbage can to spit it out. Yuck! The kids are much better at this game than I am.
Sometimes a student will opt out, and I really don't blame them. It is equally fun to observe with this game, and eating gross stuff isn't for everyone.
Some photos and Observations from our day of play:
I put together some reflection questions in a Google form and plan to have them submit their reflections tomorrow. I am really looking forward to reading them and will share my reflection with them too (this blog post). The students in my media class are writing blog posts and news articles on the event and I plan to interview some of the students for our weekly video news broadcast, produced and directed by the talented Miss Capeluto- shout out to Miss Cap for the weekly dose of awesomeness!
Play it Forward: Games that Extend Beyond The Classroom
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: become a secret agent of joy, spreading art and intrigue to an unsuspecting public.
So How Do We Make Play Happen More than Once a Year?
Why not come up with variations of popular games that support curriculum? Or better yet, have students create these variations?
This would be a great game to have students help create. They can create new cards to slip into the slots that are focused on characters from a book study or on Historical figures. What a great way to wrap up a Black History month unit?
I did notice that the characters on the cards in this game were not diverse. This would be great opportunity to have a thoughtful discussion with your students. Ask your class, "Does this set of characters represent the diverse people in this room?". Can we make a version of this game that does represent us? Can you think of other games that you have seen that are lacking in representation of a diverse population?