Background: Here are two great games that reinforce a variety of academic concepts.
Set-Up: This is one of my personal favorites. This game can be used whenever you need to reinforce geography map skills in a fun and interesting way! The children are scattered around gym (I say “find a home”). I am positioned on the North wall.
How We Play It: I describe myself to the children as being on the “Minnesota/Canada border.” Using my position as a point of reference, the children respond to my directions. For example, I may say:
- “Everyone skip South. Everyone jog North. Jump to the East. Leap to the West!”
- “All boys slide (or any other locomotor skill) to California.”
- “All girls slide to Maine.”
- “All those with birthdays on odd-numbered days gallop to Florida.
-”All those with birthdays on even-numbered days gallop to Texas.”
The activity is fast-moving and fun! It’s a great instant activity. We often use it upon the students’ arrival to the gym. It can be used as long as desired, however, I find about 5-7 minutes to be appropriate.
Modifications: Variations would include: (1) changing the state name to the name of the capitol, (2) varying the locomotor movement.
Set-Up: The children get a partner and stand back-to-back as shown.
How We Play It: This is a variation of the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” In this game, instead of displaying an object (ex: scissors), the students display fingers (between 1 and 5) to represent a number.
In unison, the students say, ” 1, 2, 3!” On the number “3,” the students turn to face their partners, display their fingers, and quickly add the numbers together. The player to correctly say the sum first becomes the runner, while the other child is the chaser. The chaser will try to tag the runner before the runner gets to the safety line that it directly behind him.
The pairs can keep score if desired. There are a few simple rules: (1) Tags can only be made on the shoulder or back, (2) All children must stay within the pre-established boundary, (3) All numbers must be displayed with the palm down to assure visibility.
In Closing: This is a great activity incorporating math skills, movement skills, and spatial awareness skills! Have fun!