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Smoke Free

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Kim Catalfamo from Bayonne, New Jersey submitted this game for grades 3-6.

Background: This activity can be used for the Great American Smoke-Out Day (3rd Thursday in November) or for Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week (this date varies each year).


  • Laminated cigarette carton cutouts and yarn to create a necklace for each of the taggers.
  • “Smoke-Free” stickers. You can create your own stickers or coupons or contact the American Lung Association for their wonderful stickers available to schools.
  • A chalkboard or poster to record your discussion notes.

Class Discussion: Gather your class together to discuss why smoking is considered a health hazard by the U.S. Surgeon General. Allow the students to freely share their opinions and ideas. My students like to see their own ideas in writing, which is why we use a chalkboard for this activity. Some examples why people should say “No thanks” to smoking may include:

- Bad breath
- Lung cancer
- Yellow teeth
- It’s addictive
- Heart attacks
- Throat cancer

How We Play It: ┬áSelect 1-4 players to be “It.” The number of taggers will depend on the number of students in your class and/or the amount of time you have. Each tagger receives a laminated cigarette carton cutout necklace. The remaining students are spread out in the playing area. On the signal from the teacher, the taggers will try to tag as many students as possible. In order to be safe, a student must quickly squat down and state a reason why he should not smoke.

If tagged before he is able to squat and state the reason, he goes to the “Break the Habit” area. In this area, the student reaches into the box of “Smoke-Free” stickers and gets one. In order to re-enter the game, he must give the sticker to one of his fellow students. When all of the students have a sticker, the game is over. Since only one sticker is allowed per student, this makes for a very interesting game. There will be taggers chasing students and students with the stickers running around to see who does not have a sticker yet.

Variations for Younger Students: Here’s a cute variation for your younger students (K-3). After the discussion circle, use this fun locomotor movement song with your students. All of the students form a circle facing the center. The words are sung to the tune of “This is the way I… (clap my hands, clap my hands…).”

As the group sings the tune, everyone moves clockwise using a locomotor movement designated by the teacher (walk, run, gallop…). With the last line of the tine, the children stop and face the center. Now it is time for each student to complete a new version of the song:

“I know smoking is bad for me, bad for me, bad for me…
I know smoking is bad for me, because it makes me _______.”

The students would end the song with words such as cough, sick, have yellow teeth, bad breath.

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