Sunday, May 20, 2012

The "You'll Never Guess Game!"

I had an idea ... its something I've done for years ... but it just kinda found a 'place' while I was cleaning the kitchen ... cleaning out an old plastic jar actually for the recycling ... I thought this is a somewhat funky plastic container ... and then it hit me! I can (re)USE it! This is a simple, cheap, easily adaptable, transportable group experience!

I've used this guessing game since about 2007 ... but it kinda came and went in my teaching practice - I haven't used it for aaaaages ... I just started using it again last week and it was loads of fun! It's actually extremely useful for a 'bag of goodies' if you are doing casual teaching or you need something quick, easy, and portable to grab to hold the children's attention.
Gather your supplies:

You will need stuff ...any sorts of stuff ... I'll just create a random list: miniature plastic animals, insects, toys, buttons, beads, counting/sorting toys (you know those bears or dinos or fruit or insects, coloured ribbon, stones, sticks, pompoms - whatever you think will be interesting for the children to try and guess - and make sure that its not too abstract to start as you have to give clues to guide their guesses!


A jar, box or other sort of easily tranportable container.

I start this game with:

"I bet I can trick you! I bet that you can't guess what's hiding in my hands!"

They love a challenge and they love a tricky-teacher!

I give varied clues like this:

It has four legs. It's a mammal, which means it has hair on its body and it feeds it's baby milk. It lives in two places in the world: Africa and Asia. It's very big. It has a long nose. It has grey skin and two big ears. Sometimes it has two long tusks. "Elephant!"

It has four legs. It's a mammal (this is often where you'll get "elephant" shouted out all over again!). It lives in the jungle. It hunts for other animals to eat. It has stripes (often you'll get zebra at this point!). It is orange and black and sometimes white and black (yeah, you guessed it, zebra again!). Tiger!

It's got 6 legs (spider! is the usual guess at this eager excited point). It is a type of insect, but its not a spider, its like a spider. Spiders have 8 legs! It hops! (rabbit! No, it has 6 legs! Rabbits have 4 legs and are animals). It makes a noise that is a chirp chirp chirp. (Insects are very tricky I've found for the children to guess. I find that I show them a part of the toy in my hand it helps).

Sometimes you'll get that "psychic" child who will just call out "horse" and yes, you have a horse in your hand. I make a melodramatic face and pout and carry on that its not fair that they guessed too well and I wasn't able to trick them! They love it.

I just pass the toys out as we go, if the children don't guess, I just give them a toy or item anyway so only one child gets one at a time ... This keeps little hands busy, helps focus their attention, helps to support them feeling engaged with the game depsite not guessing right.

I get my supplies from around the way ... I've got bits and pieces at home that I've just accidentally brought home with me over the years and they've ended up in the washing maching or under the lounge. Or I go to the discount stores and buy the toys for about $1-$2 a set. I then mix and match the toys inside. This way the game is always fresh. I actually got the animals I'm using now from Big W for I think $1 a pack - sea animals, insects, farm and wild animals etc. Just use whatever you think is interesting.

This experience is excellent for:
* problem solving and creative thinking
* learning about animals, insects, nature etc (which ever 'characters' you are using).
* this can be a follow-up to what the children have learned about whichever project they are using (eg vegetable gardening, or insects, etc) which helps to reinforce their knowledge base.
* language and literacy - introducing new descriptive words or creative language.
* classifying and sorting and describing.
* turn taking - sharing within a group.


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