Sometimes, the most priceless lessons are taught in elementary school.
One of lesson was taught was in 3rd grade from the most unlikely person. Mrs. Starr was an older lady, with bright red flaming hair. Her nose was a bit crooked, and she had huge square frames. Short and stocky, she was known to be “feared” amongst the students because she had a reputation for being one of the most strict teachers in the elementary school.
However, once in the class- I understood why she was so strict. Mrs. Starr wanted to truly teach us and have us LEARN. She gave clear guidelines. If you broke a rule, Mrs. Starr would follow up and give your consequence- no matter what. She gave us a system of earning stamps if we did well daily, and rewarded our accumulation with parties in the end. She disciplined, motivated, and caused us to believe in ourselves. Mrs. Starr shared her passion of art with her students, and you can just SEE how it lifted her. At one point, one of the students asked her this question:
“If you could have any job, what would you do?”
Mrs. Starr replied that she would still teach students- that she wouldn’t trade being a teacher for anything in the world. I was shocked and amazed. What was this? She could have ANY JOB and yet, she still wanted to teach us?!? I could see that she was satisfied and content.
I think that stuck with me throughout the years because I wanted to know what she had. Also, even though by “society’s standards”, she didn’t look the part of being “successful”, “sexy” or “beautiful”… But Mrs. Starr had a voice, reason and purpose. I still want what she has. I’ve tried to go the business-route the past few years, and am now just understanding that this business thing isn’t for me. I don’t want to live in a “shark-eat-shark” or a “let me one-up you” culture- I’m simply not made for the part.
There’s something about having a voice, reason and purpose that resonates so deeply. Something about doing good for the sake of doing good- not for fame, wealth, status- but just for the pure love of it. It’s something that I’m still seeking and wish for.
That was a time that was special to me, amongst many others.
If you’re looking for a great party game to play with 10+ people, you’ll want to check out Reverse Charades. A unique spin of the classic “Charades”, this game gives the team the chance to all act together for one teammate- and it’s up to the teammate to guess as many words as possible within 60 seconds. It’s a hilarious award-winning game, recommended for ages 13+. I played this game with a group of friends, and it was incredibly fun- especially since the team is on their feet, trying to act together.
Great Group Games Rating: 4/5 Stars
Well, it’s about time. After almost a year of idleness- we’ve got a few more games on Great Group Games!
– Battle of the Sexes – Test each teams’ knowledge of the opposite gender- sports, fashion and more!
– Company Slogan & Tagline Game – Test your corporate slogan & tagline knowledge now!
– Memory Game – Memorize as many items as you can from the Powerpoint slide.
– Picture Guess – Guess the secret word or phrase using only your teammate’s drawing.
– Zoom In Game – (Personal Favorite!!!) Guess what the item is, zoomed in – Great Powerpoint game for medium and large groups.
2. Purse, Pockets, and Wallets- Bridal Shower – for any bridal showers in the near future. Free print out ready for your use.
3. Halloween is just around the corner! Here are a couple more Halloween games to keep your party going.
– Halloween Trivia (Updated for 2011)
Have fun and enjoy the new stash of games!
The PB&J Lesson
When I was in 3rd grade, I remember one game that taught me how to write with others’ perspectives in mind. My teacher asked the children to write instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For 10 minutes, the classroom was busily scribbling instructions with their pencils. I remembered thinking, Why are we doing this? Making a pb&j sandwich is so simple and easily! Gosh, doesn’t she already know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? The teacher gathered all of the instructions and the day was done.
The next day, the teacher explained our next activity at the front of the class. She laid out a peanut butter jar, jelly, loaves of bread, a knife, napkins and a plate on a table in front of her. The teacher explained that she will read each of our instructions aloud, and will follow them exactly.
One by one, she read each instruction aloud anonymously– and each ended up being some of the most funny-looking peanut butter sandwiches around. Sometimes, the teacher would slop peanut butter and jelly on her hand just because the instructions neglected to mention to put them on pieces of bread. The children were in an uproarious laughter… It was so silly and obvious! How could we have forgotten to mention the bread? In any case, the person with the best-looking pb&j sandwich received extra credit, and we learned how to write while thinking about another person’s perspective in mind.
I think back on that lesson with fondness- It was one of those simple, easy-to-understand lessons that we were all invested in, were able to understand identify with, and (with surprise) have fun. These are the lessons that take an unexpected angle and are the ones that I remember the most.
Games are a wonderful and fun way to teach children. When something is fun, children will want to explore and learn on their own initiative. Harnessing kids’ boundless energy and eagerness into a passion for learning and education is one of the most valuable lessons that a teacher can teach.
I love seeing how children catch onto ideas so quickly and use their creativity and teamwork to achieve a goal. You can see the excitement and light in their eyes when you teach them through games.
Here are some Educational Games that I remember from throughout my elementary, middle, and high school days that you may be interested in for your classroom:
1. Ah, Um Game– (Presentation Skills) Kick the “ah, um” habit and avoid these words in natural conversation.
2. Around the World – (Math or Geography) Make your way around the classroom- see who answers first.
3. Build Tower Game – (Critical Thinking) Great creative group game- See whose team can build the highest tower using newspapers!
4. Dictionary Game – (English) Fool other teams into choosing your team’s definition.
5. Egg Drop – (Critical Thinking) Brainstorm, plan, and protect your eggs from being smashed.
6. Once Upon a Time – (English) Create epic stories as a creative writing exercise.
7. Origami Boat Race – (Critical Thinking) Your mission is to steal the bacon. But beware of the guards- if they tag you, you’re out of the game.
The past few years, I’ve seen children and adults interact and foster friendships over fun events. It’s been incredibly memorable, especially because you can almost see how people bond through reaching the same goal and purpose. It’s during this silly, yet significant time when people can “get out of their shells” and help and encourage each other.
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to facilitate Capture The Flag with 20 adults. With glow-in-the-dark sticks in hand on a large grass field, the adults had a blast “freeing the jail” and attempting to rescue the flag. With the right structure and clear guidelines, games can create some of the best bonding moments.
Here is a list of some of my favorite teambuilding game ideas, which can be played at youth groups, camping, retreats, corporate events, or just for a large group of people.
1. Video Scavenger Hunt – Travel to different places and record as many actions as you can from the list.
2. Photo Scavenger Hunt– Take as many pictures of the items or actions on the list as possible and earn the most points.
3. Food Challenge Cook-Off – Great bonding activity for adults. Create a 2-course meal with the secret ingredient.
4. What Can You Buy – Buy the best items you can get within a budget of only $5!
5. Cake Decorating Challenge – Use your decorating skills in this fun activity! Good game for large groups.
Found this recently- Here’s a great teambuilding service you can check out if you’d like to have someone facilitate fun teambuilding events in Atlanta: http://www.funteambuilding.com
Looking for activity ideas for a birthday party, youth group outing, or just hanging out with your friends? Here is a list of group activity ideas you can use to plan your next activity:
For Adventurous Groups:
– Rock Climbing
– Snowboarding / Skiing / Ice Skating / Snow Shoeing / Broomballing
– Amusement Park / Laser Tag / Paintball
– Kayaking / White River Rafting / Canoeing
– Paragliding / Sailing
– Camping / Hiking / Biking
– Road Trip
For Sporty Groups:
– Swimming / Tennis / Racquetball
– Rent an Indoor Court / Gym / Field – Play soccer, volleyball, etc.
– Go to a College or Professional Football / Baseball / Basketball game
– Beach Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Sandcastle tournament
For Fun and Competitive Groups:
– Scavenger Hunt / Photo Scavenger Hunt / Video Scavenger Hunt
– Murder Mystery Party
– Battle of the Sexes Game Night
– Poker / Card Game Tournament
– Board / Video game night
– Mall Games
– Corn Mazes
For Groups That Like to Chill:
– Movie Marathon – Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Shrek, Harry Potter
– Smoothie / Fondue / Sundaes / Cookies
– Shopping / Restaurant Hopping and Reviews
– Visit Public Parks / Zoo / Fairs
– Paint Ceramics / Knit
For Deep Thinker Groups:
– Libraries / Museums / Art Galleries
– Local Cafes / Bookstores
– Nearby Colleges
For Groups with Pizazz:
– Formal Dress Up Night- Rent a limo and go to a fancy restaurant
– Swing or Salsa Dancing Lessons
– Jazz / Comedy Club
– Concerts / Symphonies / Theaters / Musicals / Plays
When working with children, one of the most important things to remember is that group games are ultimately for the ENTIRE group- understanding the group’s interests and capabilities will help you choose the best game for your group. Each group is unique, and you’ll start noticing the trends by making a few simple observations.
Are the children constantly itching to go and run? Do certain children prefer to draw or like circle games? Are the kids saying that some games are too boring or hard for them to understand? Picking up on these small signs will help you choose fun, entertaining games for kids. Here are some ideas that can help your group:
Finally, your group’s age makes a huge difference in which type of games they’d like to play. For example, 1st graders and dodgeball may not mix together very well- 1st graders may not be able to handle the pressure and physical nature of dodgeball at such a young age. Dodgeball is better suited for 3rd graders or above, while 1st graders may enjoy playing cooperative games like Buzzing Bee.
Kids want to have fun together- and facilitating a game that best fits their interests and abilities will provide them an opportunity to have a great time.
My intense love for group games started in 7th grade. I signed up to be a children day camp volunteer “Fit For Fun” at the YMCA, wanting to fill up long summer days with something productive to do. I had no idea that that particular summer was going to be the beginning of a passion that I still have to this very day. The fond memories of tirelessly playing Duck Duck Goose and children chasing after someone trying to “Capture the Flag” with war paint smeared on their cheeks are the memories that helped define my middle school years- and in large part- of why Great Group Games exists right now.
Some of the games that I have put on Great Group Games are based on the games I’ve learned from five years of volunteering at YMCA’s Fit For Fun. My hope is that these games will continue to bring fun to the lives of others- including kids and kids-at-heart- and others will have the same opportunity to share their group game experiences and ideas online as well.
This will definitely be an exciting adventure, to say the least, which I’m glad to be a part of.