Kid Activities
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Transition Ideas for Pre-K to Grade 1

July 30, 2009 18:49 by Barbara Shelby

 

 
There may be times when children need to move somewhere as a group, such as down a hall to a cafeteria or to the playground. The logistics of a line seems to create opportunities for children to talk with one another and poke and push the student in front of them. The longer they wait before the line actually moves out the door, the more apt they are to get into mischief. 

'LET’S GET MOVING' ACTIVITIES & LINING UP...

Walking quietly -- Try having children act like their favorite animal: have them be a mouse--- and then ask them to walk as quietly as mice down the hallway.

You can also ask them to tiptoe down the hallway. Pretend there is a family of sleeping bears in the hall. Tell the children, “We don’t want to wake the sleeping bears. Let’s tiptoe very quietly!” These are good activities to use as you go to specials and walk past open classroom doorways.

  • You could wave a "magic" wand and turn them all into butterflies, or perhaps horses. Maybe you have some "fairy dust" (a tiny bit of glitter) in a bag to sprinkle around the children that causes them to be airplanes or to ride motorcycles. Maybe they are "walking on clouds" or "swimming" to the playground.

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Send half of your children to line up and then have a teacher/caregiver take them to wherever they are going. As soon as they begin to move out of the classroom, tell the rest of the students to line up and then follow the others. This step eliminates having children waiting and decreases their opportunities for getting in mischief.

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Play a follow the leader game where a child takes a turn doing a physical movement such as hop on one foot or touch a wrist to an ear, and the other children copy him/her.

  • You can sing a song with it to the tune of "London Bridges".
  • Tyler, show us what to do, what to do, what to do. Tyler show us what to do. Tell us when to stop.
  • Tyler then demonstrates an action such as jumping. When he says, "stop", all the children are to stop, and Tyler chooses the next person to take a turn.
  • This works really well as a self-esteem builder and can be used to move children outside or down a hall.

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Have children line up in two lines near your door. One line can face the door directly and the other line can run perpendicular to the first one. Designate a name or color (such as red and yellow) for each line and alternate as you ask students to line up. Call on two children and send one to the red line and the other to the yellow line. You also can place some colored tape on the floor to give students spatial and visual clues. Shorter lines mean that students have less time to wait before they can start moving out of the room.

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Plan transition themes which meet the needs and interests of children in care. Continue to use the transition theme until the children tire of it. Then think up a way carry out transitions in a new manner when the old one grows uninteresting. An idea from the book, Transition Magician--is to use themes in a box or basket. For example, have children each draw an object out of the box, and then line up by type of object. If it's shapes, all Circles line up--now all squares line up, etc.
      Example:
        Shapes
           
Colors
      • Circles              Red
      • Triangles          Green
      • Squares            Blue          
      • Rectangles        Yellow

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Marshmallow Toes: Tell children to line up quietly like marshmallows

   Walking through the hallways,
   Everyone quietly goes...
   Being respectful all the way…
   Walking on our Marshmallow Toes…

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LINE UP

  • By Color: Line up if you’re wearing the color red; line up if you’re wearing blue, etc.
  • By anything: Line up if you have a tooth missing; line up if you have brown hair, etc.
  • By birthday month: Line up if you were born in August; line up if you were born in September, etc.

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Randomly CHOOSE NAMES FROM A BASKET to send a few children at a time to line up. Reverse  the order the next time so that children who were called on last will be called on first the next day.

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Spell students' names aloud and allow them to line up when they recognize their name.

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LINE UP WITH A 'HOPPING CHALLENGE'
This can be played in a circle, a line, or as a "Bunny, Kangaroo or Froggie Says____" game.
Give children a variety of "hopping" commands such as:

  • Hop in one place.
  • Hop and turn in a circle at the same time.    
  • Hop on left/right foot.
  • Hop backwards, sideways; make a square or circle.
  • Hop over a line.
  • Hop with a partner.
  • Hop quietly to line up.

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To start Circle Time, appeal to children's imagination.

Example: There’s a little bear that lives in a cave (a puppet in a paper sack).

  • When it's time for group time, go to the circle area and quietly announce that Little Bear is about to come out.
  • Kids hurry over, but they know he's shy and will only appear if everyone is quiet.
  • When Little Bear comes out, he has a math problem to solve and asks kids to help.
  • It's the perfect segue."

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While waiting with a group of children... USE SONGS AND FINGER PLAY

  • Write simple finger plays and songs on 3" x 5" index cards.
  • You can hole- punch a corner and hook them onto a key chain ring. They will fit easily into a pocket so that you can pull them out and lead the children in a finger play or singing activity.
  • Finger plays and songs are not only fun, but they also enable children to practice playing with language and rhythm.

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'STAND IN LINE' SONG
To tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It"

If you're ready to move along-stand in line (clap , clap)
If you're ready to move along-stand in line (clap , clap)
If you're standing in the line then be (whisper) very very quiet
If you're standing in the line be (whisper) very quiet.

With the next verse use body movement.

If you're standing in the line blink your eyes (blink,blink)
If you're standing in the line blink your eyes (blink,blink)
If you're standing in the line then be (whisper) very very quiet
If you're standing in the line be (whisper) very quiet.
 
Continue with different movements such as touch your toes, turn around, etc.

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Music is a very effective tool in providing transitions for kindergarten children. Play some sort of silly song such as "The Chicken Dance" to signify a transition  is coming. Children are naturally drawn to music. They enjoy singing songs they know have a specific meaning when it's time to pick up toys or other things.

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Entice students with a music and movement activity.

  • These can include different forms of dancing, such as the Mexican hat dance, the Hora, an Irish jig, salsa, line dancing, and hip hop, etc.
  • You can also engage students in circle games, such as The Farmer in the Dell, Bluebird, Ring around the Rosie, and London Bridge, etc.
  • After moving about for a few minutes, students can be asked to sit right where they are on the rug to listen to a story or engage in a lesson. (pre-K-1)

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Start telling a story in a very quiet voice. There is something about a low, quiet voice that seems to draw children’s attention. We often read aloud to students, but we seldom just tell stories. (pre-K to grade 5)

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Allow children to go to centers when they are finished eating snack. While this may appear to entice students to hurry up and eat so that they can play, it often levels out after the first week. This step allows students to eat at a pace they are accustomed to without being pressured to hurry up by the children who eat more quickly.

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Encourage children who finish their work early to read silently or go to the reading center to listen to books on tape or do silent sustained reading. (pre-K-Gr.5)

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Direct students to the computer center to work quietly with a program that you have set up for them.

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FINISHING EARLY
Disruptions to the environment can occur when children finish activities early. Providing transition activities for children during these times can help to prevent problems from arising. Consider posting a list of activities -using pictures for younger children- or putting out “special” transition items--so that children may look and choose from them.

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RUBBER BAND BALL: 

Something a little different from Teaching Ideas -good for ages 5 to 8

 

Many teachers stuggle to get their students quiet in the hallway.
I started a rubber-band ball and anytime we get a compliment from an adult in the hallway, we get to add a rubberband to the rubberband ball.
 
They LOVE it and it is very inexpensive. I now have the quietest classroom in the hallway! (Comment: You may need to alert other teachers of your method-so they will give compliments as earned!) 

 Directions for making a RUBBER BAND BALL from KidActivities.net Craft Ideas Category...

1.  Give each child a sheet of aluminum foil; have them crumple it into a ball.
2.  Take 1 rubber band at a time and twist it around the foil many times to cover the aluminum foil; the more rubber bands the bigger the ball.
3.  Continue until the ball is the desired size and no more rubber bands will fit on the ball.
4.  When the ball is complete, the kids will have a high bouncing ball!

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This isn't a transition activitiy--but sure helps out!

1-2-3... THEN ASK ME...

In using this tool you not only free some of your time --but most importanly-- build a sense of room community and altruism. You eventually will have children helping children!

If Tommy can’t tie his shoe and he comes to you---question to see if he asked three of his friends to help. If no—say, “Tommy needs help in tying his shoe…can someone help?”

This will NOT embarrass the child as it will be part of program routine and he’ll learn from his friend. In  things that Tommy can do--he will return the favor and  assist others when  asked.

For this to work it needs to be consistent. (Post a sign with the 1-2-3 as a reminder) Yes, it does work.  Children become a more cohesive unit, independent, and self esteem soars as they learn from and help each other!

I never had an instance when there wasn't a child that would not assist another child. With consistency- it soon would become part of program routine.

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BEHAVIORAL GAME TRANSITIONS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

#1.  Have children take a piece of tape when they come in every day and put it on their chairs. That's their "spot." If you have the need to calm things down during the session... or transition from one activity to another, tell everyone,
"Let's sit on our spots!" When they get there say, "Let's freeze on our spots."

#2.  Have everyone stand up. Give each child two pieces of easily removable tape about 8" long to put on the floor in an X shape. Tell them, "This is your spot. Can you stand on it please?"

Now--- ask them to DO VARIOUS MOTIONS, such as,

"Can you stand on one leg on your spot?"... Or...
"Can you touch your spot with three parts of your body?" Or...
"Can you hold hands with somebody on another spot while still touching yours?" Do four or five variations.


When finished, be sure to say, "Let's all clean up our spots" and have them remove the tape from the floor and throw it away.

You may also be interested in:

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Program Clean Up Ideas for Pre-K and K

July 30, 2009 18:46 by Barbara Shelby

  

♥  HOW FAST CAN WE DO IT? You can say:

Let's beat the clock!
Beat yesterday’s time. Can we get everything put away before the music stops?

  • ♥  To remind children of how much time is left use a timer, hour glass, or clock.
    Remember young children don’t have the concept of time down yet; it would be a good idea to also use a timer of some sort.
    When using a clock as a reminder with young children—say, “When the big hand is on the two, we will start to clean up”.

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♥  With younger children, put their photographs next to job assignments.

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♥   If a child takes out a great many play things, it can be overwhelming when it’s time to put them away; remind children to take out only what they are able to clean-up when finished. This is especially important with younger children

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 At one observed ECH site, a Kindergarten child walked to each group of children before clean-up time, holding a sign saying, “5 Minutes to Clean-Up Time!” The other children acknowledged the sign-holder by saying, “Thank-you.” This program has a weekly job chart with the 5-minute to clean-up reminder being one of the children’s tasks.

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Clean Up Song

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Time to clean up where you are.
Put each toy back in its place,
Keep a smile upon your face.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Time to clean up where you are.

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Sing the following to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot"
I'm a little helper
See me clean...
I can pick-up
and not be mean!

When we're finished
You will see...
A nice clean room
for you and me.

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  I SPY CLEAN UP Play 'I Spy' to clean up scraps on the floor after an art or messy project.
Visually identify a scrap on the floor without telling the children which one and say, 'I Spy.'
Kids pick up scraps and the child who finds the one you’re looking at gets a sticker or small prize.
Keep playing the game and giving small goodies until all scraps are off of the floor.
Kids like the game and it’s a fast fun way to clean a room.

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A variation on getting “young” children to clean up is pretending to be vacuum cleaners. You can do this a couple ways.
Put a "spell" on the room.
"Dinner will be franks and wieners, make these children vacuum cleaners! Poof!!!" People who have used this--- say the children will ask them to put the spell on them, and they hurry to get things cleaned up.

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Ask children to turn themselves into vacuum cleaners! Put out your arms and make vacuum cleaner sound effects while the hose (your arms) picks up all the toys, paper or anything else you need picked up! The children forget they are cleaning.

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♥ When cleaning up, Play 'Go-Go-Stop'.  Children will think it great fun when you say Stop! When 'Stop 'is said, children freeze in whatever position they are in.  If time, comment on a few...

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♥  Magic Pick-Up Lotion for Pre K-K: Hand lotion and a little glitter in a small bottle works like "magic" in getting youngsters to pick up the toys. You might also try using a small bottle of hand sanitizer with glitter inside for some extra cleaning power. 

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 ♥ Stamp younger children’s hands when they participate in clean-up.

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Turn 'clean up time' into a game.
Have a adult close their eyes and ask the children to surprise them by putting toys away. Have  children tell when you should 'peek' and see the clean room. Comment along the way...  "Is it almost done?"  "Can I peek?"  "I'm getting so excited!"

I've also observed something similar where "clean-up" was the time for the lead teacher to use the 'rest-room'. The remaining caregiver challenged the children to complete the group task. The children eagerly worked together! They had fun and loved how happy their teacher was each day when she came back!

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Have each child pick up 5 items (or whatever number needed) in an area. Before you know it--it's all cleaned up!

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"PUT AWAY THE OLD..."

This is another practical tip!

 

It's a good idea to post what is expected from the children. Talk to them about being responsible in cleaning up after themselves--and post reminders. (This can be a combination of pictures and words.) Put something like the sample up at various play supply and activity areas.

When a child forgets--all you have to do is point to the sign! Along the way they'll also learn to read the words!

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Tess the Mess Dress a person (the children don’t know) in an extremely messy (not poor or dirty) fashion and ask her to come to the program and ‘help’ the children clean up. (Everything she’s brought with her is a mess; she never puts things away.) Have her fumble and act confused as she helps the children. “Now where does this go?” Next discuss why it’s important to clean up! (Not being able to find things; items get lost or broken, etc.) The children may talk about “Tess the Mess” for days as they clean up.

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Practice/Rehearse Speedy Clean-up:

  • Deliberately spill a box of paper clips.
  • Provide children with several items for cleaning up the spill, for example, broom, masking tape, dust pan, magnet, etc.
  • Let the children experiment with each item to determine which item picks up the paper clips most efficiently.

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At the beginning of 'setting good clean-up habits'... help children pick up. Say... "Do you want to pick up the little blocks or the big? " Then model clean-up behavior-until they can do it on their own.

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 OH,OH--DID YOU FORGET TO COVER YOUR TABLE TOPS DURING MESSY ART?

Try this when your art and craft tables get messy with glue, paint, or_____

Spread non-mentol shaving cream on the table tops and let the children finger-paint away on the table! They'll be having fun and loosening all that dried glue mess at the same time.

When the table is clean--wipe down with paper towels. Follow this with wet cloth--rinse and dry the kids' hands too! 

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FOR ALL AGES... There’s No Need to Stress over Mess!

One person's clutter is another person's nightmare! No amount of nagging by parents or teachers can change disorderly kids-but when given a choice, children can be less messy and more organized.

First Consider:
1. Design your program (classroom or home playroom) to make it easy for the kids to clean up! Use shelves, clear bins, color codes and tubs that are neat, labeled, and organized.

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2. Model good organization and “clean-up” behavior. If you don’t pick up after yourself, what does that say to the kids? Don't expect the children to straighten out their play areas when your own desk and supply areas are disorderly. Double standards don't work! Organization in an environment needs to be the responsibility for all in that area-not only for a select few...

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3. If the day will be difficult for some reason, keep clean-up simple by avoiding the messiest and hard-to-clean-up activities.
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4. Never make clean-up tasks punishments. It can, however, be a consequence of an action (such as a child getting too wild at the painting table). When possible, try to frame a task as a reward.

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TIPS...

 1. Let children know how much time is left – give a warning at ten minutes and then at five minutes; give kids time to shift gears so they can reach closure. Example: If a child has been designing a structure with manipulatives, they need time to adjust and dismantle it.

2. Giving kids this time shows you value and respect their efforts. Children often have a difficult time with transitions; try using this first attention-getting step. If you neglect this, and try to move straight from one activity to the next, you will be setting some children up for failure.

3. Not all activities require the same amount of time to clean up. Begin things such as messy art and block areas before easy clean up is started.

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ASSIGNING TASKS
A clean program room is everyone's responsibility at all times.

  • Emphasize that everyone needs to help keep it tidy. Make clear what the jobs are and how to do them.
  • Don't assume the children know how to clean up --some may not ever have had this responsibility at home.
  • Go over your expectations explicitly with the children.

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IDEAS...
1. To keep routine and random program tasks from interrupting smooth transitions
, put each child’s name on an index card or deck of cards. When a job or an errand comes up, pick the top card and ask that child to take care of it. After you've gone through the deck, shuffle it and start over.

2. From Michelle~ We write each child's name on a Popsicle stick and place all sticks in a cup. When it is TIME TO PICK A SPECIAL HELPER of the day we choose a stick. We take the chosen stick out of the cup until all sticks have been picked. This way we don't have to remember who we have chosen and ensure none of the kids have been overlooked or picked twice!

3. A “Job Squad”. A rotating job chart can be very useful in fair job distributions. Each week children are assigned, or sign-up, for an organization responsibility. This can also include “checking” to see if it’s been done.

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What are some of your favorite transition methods? Please share through the site contact page. Thank you...

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79 Sponge Fillers, Transition and Line Up for Kids!

May 23, 2009 20:32 by Barbara Shelby

 

 

 

One aspect that many school-age programs and classrooms neglect is the planning of Transition times. We all have them! They're the little bits of time that occur throughout the day. (Throughout our lives...)

Transitions should be built into our schedules-and planning is the Key! If imaginative transition activities are NOT planned in advance, there generally is an impact on programming; they most likely won't happen and kids become disinterested.

I've visited programs in the morning-where children are lined up for 15 to 30 minutes with nothing to do! Consider some of the ideas below-and plan fun gathering and waiting times for the children attending our programs and classrooms...All you need is 5 to 15 minutes and you'll have a time in the day that the kids  look forward to!

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 1. CONTINUE TO READ ALOUD TO CHILDREN… GREAT AT TRANSITION TIMES!
A child's interest level is often much higher than his or her reading level. If children are to grow up loving books and reading, they need to be exposed to the most interesting books available. The SAC morning “Gathering Transition” is a good time to read chapter-books.

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2. A  VERSION OF “I SPY”
Explain that when you say, “I spy,” every child needs to stop what he/she is doing, listen, and respond with, “What do you spy?” Say something like, "I spy children dancing in one place," or “I spy a rock star silently playing a guitar.” The students act out that idea until you again say, "I spy." Then all the students stop what they are doing and respond with, "What do you spy?" The game continues with you suggesting other ideas such as, “I spy children waving their arms.” After playing awhile, say “I spy students lining-up quietly.” Children may be chosen to lead the activity.

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3. OH - AH
Start with everyone in a circle holding hands. One person
gives a quick squeeze to the hand of the person on the RIGHT. The
squeeze is passed from person to person around the circle until it is moving smoothly.
Now add sound. Squeeze and say "ooh"… and watch it go around. Next add "ah", but with a LEFT exchange…some fun as the sounds pass over each other at the same time!

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4. PLAY "SIMON SAYS"

Also... 

PLAY SIMON SAYS WITH 'VISUAL MISCUE'
Play this game just like any "Simon Says" but add visual directions that are totally wrong! Example: Simon Says touch your nose while touching your cheek! This game helps children focus on the spoken word rather than being overly influenced by visual...

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5. SEASONAL “SIMON SAYS”
Play Simon Says according to the season and themes:
   • Winter: Santa Says, Frosty says, The Snowman Says, the Elf Says
   • Valentine’s Day: Cupid Says; St. Patrick’s Day: The Leprechaun Says
   • Easter or Spring: The Bunny Says…also adapt to the themes such as The Frog Says!
   • Red-White & Blue Days: Uncle Sam Says

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6. DO THIS—DO THAT!
This is played similar to "Simon Says"...
The group does everything you do when you say "do this"...but when you say "do that"...they do NOT follow the direction. When a player follows the direction of "do that"... they are out.

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7. ALL IN ONE GAME

  • Stand in a circle holding hands. One person is in the middle.
  • The person in the middle calls in some one--one at a time.
  • The goal is to see how many people you can fit in the middle---without breaking hands.
  • You can create your own Guinness Book of Records!

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8. ODDBALL (Good only for small groups)
All you need is a soft ball-- a crumpled piece of paper will also do. Gather in a circle and give one student the ball; call out an "oddball" number which is a single digit number such as ‘5.’ Start passing the ball from student to student, counting up by ones. When a child gets the ball on an oddball number, they need to pass the ball in the OPPOSITE direction (The oddball number is one ending in your starting number. With the 5--the odd ball numbers would be 5, 15, 25, etc.
Keep counting up and switching directions with the oddball number. Frequently call out a new oddball number and keep going.

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9. STATUES 
As you play music, have the children move in place or if there is space, have them dance around the room. Every minute or so, stop the music and the children have to freeze in whatever pose they were in when the music stopped. If they move, they sit down and lose a turn.

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10. CHICKEN PICKS
Equipment: Rubber Chicken

  • Players sit in a circle and one player goes into the middle.
  • A topic is chosen and the rubber chicken starts with one person--- and is passed around the circle.
  • The person in the middle  lists as many things as they can from the topic, but they only have however long it takes for the chicken to pass around the circle once.
  • When the chicken gets back to the starting point, the person stops talking.
  • A designated counter should be in the group, to count how many objects were listed.
  • The person that is able to list the most objects is the winner.
  • Example: What are all the things that you can think of that start with the letter M? How many candy bars can be named? Or, what are things that you can buy at the hardware store.
  • Pick high-interest topics, such as TV shows.

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11. ZIP ZAP (Good for getting to know each other) “It” points to a person in the circle repeating the word "zip" or "zap" and counting to five. If "It" says "zip" the person must reply with the name of the person on his/her right---if "It" says "zap" they must reply with the name on their left. If the name is wrong, that person goes into the center of the circle.

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12. COOPERATIVE STAND UP
   • Have your group get into pairs. 
   • The pairs will sit on the floor, back pressed to back—and arms interlocked. 
   • They must stand up without using their hands. It can end here...OR... 
   • After a pair stands up, have them find another pair and all 4 must sit down and stand up. 

Go on as such until the entire group is together and have everyone try to stand up. This is a good game to promote friendliness and is fun when you have an exceptionally large group.

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13. ZOOM
Standing in a circle, students orally pass the word "zoom" around from one person to another. The activity moves rapidly to build and sustain community involvement.
…..Variations can include switching directions, multiple zooms at one time, students leading zoom, and USING OTHER WORDS to build vocabulary.
…..The first time, have youth sit in a circle with their legs crossed, sitting up straight with their hands in their laps. Model this posture, and ask the students to have their knees touch their neighbors' knees to form a tight circle.

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14. BUZZ
The players start counting substituting buzz for the number seven and multiples of seven. If a player makes a mistake he must drop out or the whole group must start again.

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15. SILLY SALLY’S COOL CLUB!

  • Have the players in a circle.
  • The leader explains that Silly Sally has a cool club. The only way that kids can join--- is if they can figure out what Sally likes and doesn't like.
  • Sally only likes things that have double letters in them. Sally likes 'soccer' but she doesn't like 'golf'. Sally likes 'bananas' but she doesn't like 'beans'. Etc.
  • As children take turns guessing what Sally likes, the leader either lets the child in the club--or not.
  • This is based on the guess-and if it contains double of a letter. (Obviously, the leader will have to know how to spell!)

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16. Lie on back on the floor. A coin is placed on the nose.
The challenge is to get the coin off by wiggling nose, but without moving the head.

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17. HEADS UP… 7- UP

  • All children playing sit at a table or desk with their heads down. They cover their eyes and stick up one thumb.
  • Seven children who have been chosen--- walk around the tables or desks.
  • Each of the “Seven” touches ONE child’s thumb. When a child’s thumb is touched, they put down their thumb.
  • When all the “Seven” have touched a thumb-- they go to the front of the room, and say in unison, "Heads Up-- Seven Up!"
  • The seven youth whose thumbs have been touched stand up.
  • They then have to guess who the one who touched their thumb was.
  • If they're right, they become one of the “NEW SEVEN”, replacing whoever had touched them.

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18. BALANCING ACT
Need a bean bag, pencil, eraser -- or similar object to place on head. Play music as each child walks around balancing the object on their head. If the object falls off the child is frozen until another comes and places the object back on the head. Everyone stops and resets their object when the music stops. Game starts over when the music again starts.

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19. CHEERLEADING
During program activity time-have groups put together cheers about SAC or school
. At ‘Gathering Time’ have groups perform them for each other.

Also use the same idea with kids putting together a short RAP. When it’s recognized that RAP stands for Rhythm and Poetry—it is much more accepted in some programs. An easy way to start is with nursery rhymes such as ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’.

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20. PUPPET SHOW
The puppets can be made at SAC or purchased. Children can put together a short puppet show and perform during the group “Gathering Time”.

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21. MAGIC
Need magic book, props and tricks…Simple magic tricks are always fun to do. Children love the mystery that revolves around magic. Teach some magic tricks as one of your activities. During ‘Gathering Time’, children can perform tricks for each other. The above Cheerleading, Puppets and Magic can also be performed at family events!

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22. HOPPING CHALLENGE
This can be played in a circle, a line, or as a "Bunny, Kangaroo or Froggie Says____" game.
Give children a variety of "hopping" commands such as:

  • Hop in one place.
  • Hop and turn in a circle at the same time.    
  • Hop on left/right foot.
  • Hop backwards, sideways; make a square or circle.
  • Hop over a line.
  • Hop with a partner.
  • Hop quietly to line up.

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23. What do you do with it? Or… Who uses it?
Have unusual tools, utensils, shoes, hats, uniforms, etc. Ask what or who uses each one? Youth can also bring items to attempt to ‘stump’ the group!

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24. BACK WRITING & DRAWING: One person sits with his back to another. The other person, using their fingers, "draws" a letter on the person's back. At the same time, that person draws on a piece of paper what they think is being drawn on their back.

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25. RAIN:  The group sits in a circle. The leader starts by rubbing their hands together. The person to the right does the same and so on--- until everyone is doing the action.
When all are rubbing their hands, the leader starts a new sound, finger snapping, then hand clapping, next slapping thighs, try foot stomping. To END the storm, reverse the actions. At the end, the group one by one stops rubbing hands and sits and waits for the action to be completed by the group.

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26. CARD NAME GAME: Write each child’s name on a playing card. While seated on the floor, distribute one card to each child –making sure no one has their own name. When their name is called they have to say something positive about the person on the card. This is a great way to help youth to respect and treat others well. Fun-and only takes about five minutes to play! 

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27. Choose a person to leave the room. The rest of the group stands in a circle. Choose a leader who begins and changes all movements. Everyone else should be aware of the leader but not look directly at him. Change movements when the leader does. Once everyone has the idea, call back the person who left the room. Ask him to stand in the middle and try to figure out who the leader is.

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28. A SOUND IDEA
Make a tape of sounds from the environment.  Example: crickets chirping, cell phones ringing, water running, a thunderstorm, and a kitty meowing. When the tape is played the students are asked to identify what the noise is. Keep a numbered list for your own reference so you don't forget what's on it. The younger children especially like this activity.

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29. BIRDS CAN FLY

  • Players are scattered randomly, and face the activity leader who calls out things
    TRUE ABOUT ANIMALS.
  • Example: Birds can fly. Rabbits can hop. Horses can trot.
  • Players follow these directions.
  • When the caller says something that isn’t true such as Cats can bark --- any student who does the action is out.
  • This continues until there is only one player left who becomes the new caller.

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30. GROUP BODY SPELLING
Players start in groups of five (number can vary depending on the size of the
group). Each group stands in a straight line beside one another. The leader
asks them to use their bodies (with each group member involved) to spell the
following words, one at a time, starting with a word with five letters, to a word with
one letter.

  • CANDY, FOUR, YOU, ME and I.
    Stress the use of creativity – for example “I” …everyone could point to their eye;
    For the word ‘You’ everyone in the group forms a large U.

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31. Sit in a circle. One person starts a sound—holding the sound as long as possible. The next person picks it up and it travels around the circle so it becomes A RIBBON OF SOUND. Each person should pick it up and pass it on as quickly as possible. Transform it into another sound-with the person next to the one who started the first sound. 

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32. RUMORS (Similar to telephone game)
Select Teams. The first person on each team goes out of the area and all team captains together make up a message. This same message will be used by all teams.
On the sign to start, the first captain of each team whispers the Rumor to the next person on their team. They will whisper the Rumor to the next - and so on. The last person to receive the Rumor will run to a black board, white board, or flip chart and write the message.
The team that is the closest to the correct Rumor wins.

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33. MY FAVORITE SPORT: Players stand in a circle. The leader starts by going into the middle of the circle and says, “My favorite sport is jogging” and jogs on the spot. Everyone jogs until another player goes into the middle and says their favorite sport and does the body action. This continues till all the players have had an opportunity to lead.

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34. THE SQUEEZE GAME
Equipment: Small random object such as keys, stone, etc.
Have TWO parallel, straight, equal lines of youth, and have them hold each others hand. Have someone at the front and back of the lines watching. Place a small item in the middle of the two front people, and place it just within their reach. The back person (who is watching) says a number to the last child of each line. That is the number of times each child should squeeze the hand of the person in front of them. So if the back person said ‘2’, to the back two people—each person’s hand down the row is squeezed ‘twice’. This becomes a chain reaction, until the front person’s hand is squeezed. Once they feel the squeeze, they reach for the object in front of them. The team to grab the object first wins!

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IDEAS FOR WAITING IN LINE

35. BACKWARDS NAMES...
Each person writes their name backwards on a file card. The cards are put in a pile in the center of the group. In turn, each person picks up a file card from the pile, and reads aloud what it says. The group must guess whose name is backwards. (Pre-make cards to use “whenever”.) Example: If the name is Mary--backwards it would be y-ram!

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36. LEARN TO SING THE ABC'S BACKWARDS!  Why? Just for the fun of it!
Have a poster of the alphabet and point to the letters starting with "Z" and go from there...
Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A

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37. CHOCOLATE FACE
Have the kids place a piece of chocolate candy in their mouth--- and see how long it takes to melt! No sucking and chewing it! The one to keep the chocolate in their mouth the longest is the winner.

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38. RYHME THAT WORD!
Think of words. Children take turns seeing how many “real” rhyming words they can think of. When one word is worn out, choose another word. Remind the kids to use “nice” words only!
…..Example" Rhyme words with “time”:
chime, climb, crime, dime, grime, I’m, lime, mime, prime rhyme, thyme, slime, bedtime, centime, daytime, enzyme, lifetime, mealtime, meantime, nighttime, pastime, ragtime, sometime, springtime, sublime, maritime, overtime, pantomime, paradigm

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39. SHOULDER CHALLENGE
A potato chip or cracker is placed on shoulder, while standing. The challenge is to remove the chip with tongue!

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40. 20 QUESTIONS  
One person picks something to be, such as a famous person or an animal, and then the rest of the children ask ‘yes or no questions’ until someone guesses who the person has chosen to be.

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41. Have students DO TWO THINGS AT ONCE. Examples:

  • Tap their heads and rub their stomachs
  • Clap their hands and stand on one foot
  • Snap their fingers and nod their heads
  • Do jumping jacks, etc.

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42. WRITING IN THE AIR: Have each child turn sideways with their right hand on their right shoulder. (If left-handed-do it on the left) Ask them to WRITE WORDS OR NUMBERS IN THE AIR using their right elbow. You could say, “Write (or print) your name,” “Write the name of your favorite food,” “Write your address,” etc. Then have them turn and put their left elbow on their left shoulder and continue the activity. Ask the students for ideas of what to write or have different students lead the activity.

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43. GROUP STORY: You can do this on paper, or use a recorder to tell the story aloud. Have each person sit in a line or circle and take turns telling a small part of a made-up story. The first person in line starts the story and stops after a specific period of time. The next person in line picks up where the first left off, continuing the story. You can write it down and then read it aloud, or record it with a tape player or digital recorder and listen to it when you're finished. It's sure to get a few laughs!

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44. Version #2—CONTINUEING STORY
Get children in line and begin telling a silly story. Then go down the line and point to people randomly. They continue from where the last person left off-making it up as they go along. If children are younger you can give them a little time to think about it. Move to the next child if they hesitate too long or repeat what the last person says. (With elimination-always be sure to do so in light and fun manner!)

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46. DON’T FORGET ABOUT MAD LIBS. They’re great to do with the kids as a group! Just shout out to them, “Give me a noun---or adjective, etc.” When complete, read the Mad Lib story aloud with much enthusiasm. The children love it! Tip: You can post a chart that has definitions and examples of the various parts of speech.

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47. I’M GOING ON A PICNIC: The leader Ben starts by saying, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing a blanket." Each person in turn responds with an appropriate picnic item. "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing _____." Leader confirms by saying "Yes, you can bring ____" or "No, you can't bring that" or something similar. The Trick: The first letter of the item they bring must match the first letter of their first name. So Sam can also bring sardines or salad. Cara can bring cookies or cake. Note: This is one of the easier trick games to figure out, so be sure to remind players not to tell the secret. Don't give hints. Kids love figuring this stuff out on their own.

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48. While in line, DRAW A PICTURE on your partner’s back; have him/her guess what it is. Switch guessing drawing places.

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49. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS…

"Rock" is a fist..."Paper" is a flat hand...and "Scissors" are the pointer and middle fingers making snipping motions. Partners shake their fists three times---and then show their chosen motion on the count of three. Winning hands are decided as follows: Rock breaks/dulls scissors... Scissors cuts paper... Paper covers rock. Play three or 5 times...and see who has the most wins. This is also a good method to see who goes “first" in games or gym.

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50. I CAN’T STAND _____! (For Older Youth)  Have each player in turn describe a food that they cannot stand to eat. Encourage as much detail as possible so that the other group members are disgusted by the food, too

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51. Play the TELEPHONE/GOSSIP GAME (whisper something in a child’s ear and it goes down the line. The last person announces the message.

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52. Have “WACKY WEDNESDAYS”… Tell jokes, riddles, knock-knocks, brain-teasers, word doodles, Who Can? and tongue twisters.  Share the fun with your SAC kids! Put this into your planning… Keep a supply that is ready to go on a clip-board or in the back of your Parents Info box! Use them waiting in line, with a few ‘bored kids” or while waiting for parents at the end of the day! (FYI: Telling jokes is good for kids! It increases their confidence, helps them to remember a story in order, relate it to others, and stimulates their thinking!)

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53. I SPY: One person says “I spy with my little eye, something that is _______ (name a color)". Then others try to guess what the object is and the one who guesses it takes the next turn. With older kids instead of this I Spy – Play I’M THINKING OF: The leader looks about the area and says, “I’m thinking of something that is the color_________. Say what the color it is. Children guess what they think it may be. Winner is the next leader.

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54. GUESS WHO: The object is to figure out who the person the leader is thinking of. The group asks yes and no questions. Questions are those such as the board game, Guess Who? Is the person a boy? Does he have brown hair? Etc. Winner is next leader.

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55. TAKE THE CHALLENGE:  Post a question of the day, brainteaser, riddle, or word-doodle on a portable chart holder or white board near the door. When youth line up, have them focus on the challenge…  Who can solve it? Also near the line up area put up a Graffiti Wall or Question Wall. The kids can write on it as they wait.

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56. When you have some down time-waiting or standing in line…

  • Start off with what makes you happy ---and then take turns calling out things such as: Sunny days make me happy; Sunshine makes me happy; Warm cookies make me happy; Saturday mornings make me happy; Friday nights makes me happy….. Going to the movies makes me happy…..Pizza…..Going on vacation…..Blue skies…..Summer time, etc.
  • When done in a light-hearted manner, the children will join in and share! You’ll be amazed how the atmosphere can change—as well as realizing it doesn’t have to be a trip to Disney World to do it!
    • I actually did this with my three grandsons (ages 4, 6, 9) while waiting for their Dad in the car not too long ago! Within a few seconds, the atmosphere in the car really lightened up and they were each sharing! Barb

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57. READ MY MIND: STAFF MAGIC
This game will have the kids wondering how the two "mind readers" can read each others minds! You introduce the game as, "Mrs. Smith can read my mind...Would you like to see her do it?"

  • The leader needs a helper who understands how the trick works.
  • The helper leaves the room. While the helper is out of the room, the group decides on an object.
  • The helper then comes back to the group; her/his task is to guess what the object is.
  • The leader asks the helper questions like, "Is it the table?" or "Is it the bench".
  • The helper replies "No".
  • The trick is that the object will be THE FIRST ONE AFTER A BLACK OBJECT.

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58. GUESS THE NUMBER GAME: The leader picks a number within a range and youth try to guess the number. Example: Leader says, “I’m thinking of a number between one and 50”. Leader can say “higher” or “lower” as the children guess. Correct number guess is the next leader.

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59. TRANSTION FUN: WHO CAN? See how many in the group can…

  • Roll their tongue (85% of people can). 
  • Wiggle their ears; wiggle their nose.
  • Show they are double jointed.
  • Touch their ear with their elbow (I don’t think anyone can!).
  • Whistle (can they whistle by blowing both in and out?).
  • Twiddle thumbs (try to do it in both directions at same time!).
  • Rub their stomach and pat head at same time.
  • Make owl hoots with clasped hands.
  • Make a “popping sound with hand tapping their puckered large “O” shaped mouth.
    • Invite children to create their own versions of the transition activities!

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Tip: If a child is starting to become a challenge, put him/her in charge of a game or go first. It often will change the behavior.

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60. GUESS MY RULE: Use this deductive reasoning game when kids are waiting. The object is for students to figure out the rule you are using to sort them into groups. Example: Call out a number of kids all wearing “blue”. When the youth guess they are all wearing blue---call out another similarity—such as all in 5th grade or all having brown hair, etc.

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61. LINE UP

  • By Color: Line up if you’re wearing the color red; line up if you’re wearing blue, etc.
  • By anything: Line up if you have a tooth missing; line up if you have brown hair, etc.
  • By birthday month: Line up if you were born in August; line up if you were born in September, etc.

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62. SELF LINE-UP
Group is asked to line up based on individual factors. Examples:

  • Children line up by their birthday month. They can line up as born from January to December.
  • Have children line up based on height-from shortest to tallest or tallest to shortest.
  • They can line up by hair color: Lightest to darkest or darkest to lightest. Etc.

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63. FOLLOW THE LEADER
While waiting for the group to line up, an adult can lead the children along the room in a game of Follow the Leader. While “Leading” all children join the line and proceed to the line-up point.

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64. Randomly CHOOSE NAMES FROM A BASKET to send a few students at a time to line up. Reverse  the order the next time so that students who were called on last will be called on first the next day.

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65. Pre-K-K: Spell students' names aloud and allow them to line up when they recognize their name.

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66. NUMBERS CALL: Have the group line up and count off—remembering “their” number. The leaders begins by calling a number—such as “two”. Person “2” then calls out a different number, and that person must respond. If someone makes a mistake such as calling out a number that is higher than the number in the group—calls out their own number---or delays, they must move to the end of the line. The goal is to be at the head of the line. Nobody is ever out and there is always the chance of moving up!

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67. A version of “I SPY”--- which is #2 --and also” Hopping Challenge” which is #22---are unique ways to line up!

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68. BODY MIX-UP

  • Stand in front of the first person in line; touch your nose and say, "This is my mouth."
  • How quickly can the person touch his or her mouth and respond, "This is my nose?"
  • That person turns to the next person and says, touching his ear, "This is my chin." And so on...

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69. WHAT AM I COUNTING?
Have one person start counting aloud an object in everyone's view: Windows, white shirts, tables, etc. Can your group guess what the person is counting? As a variation, name an object and challenge the group to count as many as they can find in one minute.

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70. CATEGORIES
Choose a category such as animals, vehicles, countries or food. Each person is to name something that belongs to that group. Challenge group to work in A to Z order: ant, bee, cow. Or, you can name items like hammer, saw, level and the child responds with "tools." One more option is to have each word begin with the last letter of the previous word: Japan, Netherlands, Somalia, etc.

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71. PASS IT ON
Stand up in a line or circle. Have each person trace a simple shape O, X, 1 – on the back of the person standing in front of them. Can each person guess what was drawn?

Also you can draw your own version of a funny face. The person being drawn on- visually imitates the expression drawn on his or her back---and draws a silly face on the next person. How accurate are the faces to those drawn on the back?

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72. GROUP ART

  • Give everyone a pencil and paper and describe an object for them to draw.
  • "Draw a square. Now draw an oval in the upper right-hand corner of your paper…"  Keep adding objects.
  • When complete-compare their pictures to yours and see how accurate they were.
    • A variation on this is playing connect-the-dots on white board/chalkboard. The first person draws two dots and a line connecting them. Each person adds a dot and draws a line from one of the previous dots to his dot to make a design.
    • This activity can also be done by passing a piece of paper and a pencil down the line. Each person adds to the group picture.

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73. BIRD, BEAST, OR FISH

You have to think fast for this game.
1. Everyone sits facing the leader.
2. The leader points to one of the players and says either "BIRD," "BEAST," or "FISH."
3. The chosen player must come up with the name of an animal that fits the category before the leader counts to ten.
4.  No repeating!
5. If the player does not respond in time, he/she is out.
6. The game continues until only one player remains.

After a few rounds it can be hard to think of an animal that has not already been mentioned!

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74. Have a ______(Blank) of the Day--Each Day!

It's fun to have a daily program or classroom feature where there is a "_______ (blank) of the Day! "
This could be a doodle, riddle, trick question, joke, definition of a word or quote.

Brains crave variety and incorporating activities such as this, will certainly go towards some cognitive variety!

Each month or week, change out "What the _____of the Day" will be!  As written above, it could be the puzzle, a word definition, riddle, trick question, or quote. Great for all school ages to high school! Just put the _______on a black board or white board near the room entrance. By the end of the day---discuss guesses and answers.

    ....if you're taking the time to look at the sample board to the left--the answers are: Period in History, Reading between the lines, Long underwear, Eggs over easy, I understand, Down town, Paradise or Pair of dice! . It's fun to see how many more ideas of your own that you and the kids can come  up with! Board by bshelby (Image by KidActivities.net)

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    75. GUESS THE PERSON, ANIMAL OR THING! (This could be  a version of "Have a  ______ of the Day!"

    1. Using a picture of an animal, children's character or personality, cover the entire picture with puzzle pieces to hide identifying features.
     
    2. Take one piece off at a time; children guess who/what is underneath.

    3. This can be done as a group game, individual or team play. It could also be set up in a special daily spot--with guesses being made as removed pieces reveal who/what it is!

    4. Depending on how you play this-points can be added or subtracted. The most points of course going to the individual or team who correctly guesses with the least amount of puzzle pieces removed!

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    76. WANT TO QUIET THE KIDS DOWN?! PLAY 'GHOSTS IN THE GRAVEYARD'...
    This is a good game for unwinding and quieting down the group. 

1. Players lay on the floor in any position they choose.
2. Make sure each player has enough space as NOT to touch each other.
3.When kids are ready- count to three to signal that the game has begun. At "3"  children must remain quiet and not move!
4. If the chosen "crypt-keeper" catches any movement, the child moving becomes the next "crypt-keeper". (you may need to explain what a "cypt" is)

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    77. TAKE A DRAWING BREAK!
    Have 5-10 minutes to kill?
    Have Kids...

    Draw their shoe. Draw their lunch. Draw their teacher. Draw a friend. Draw their hand holding something. Draw a small object big. Draw a car. Draw a dream. Draw a nightmare. Draw a leaf. Draw themself...

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    78. SPOON ON THE NOSE TRICK
    This is one of the all-time great party tricks. Any nose and spoon will do. Breathe heavily on the spoon, or lick it (yuck!).
    Immediately after breathing on or licking the spoon, place it on your nose so that it is up high, but not too high. It can basically be placed anywhere on your nose, as long as it is on the ledge of it. Place it on the edge of your nose. Sounds easier than it really is.

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    79. STARING CONTEST...
    No laughing, no poking, no nodding, noblinking--just staring into the eyes of your opponent to see who flinches first.

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