Am currently working on a book of games for educators. Here is a very incomplete list.


The following games were at the IERG Conference in Vancouver, BC, in July of 2014.



Two or three players leave the room, and become the guessers. While the guessers are out of earshot, the group comes up with a verb. Remember that verbs are action words. Make sure everyone agrees and understands what the chosen verb is. Let s say that the verb is to drink. The guessers come back, and try to figure out which verb the group has chosen. Guessers acquire clues by asking yes-and-no questions. Whenever guessers come to the verb in their question, they substitute the word coffeepot. Do you coffeepot outdoors?  might be an opening question. Everyone in the group mentally substitutes the chosen verb (to drink) for the word coffeepot, and answers the question. In this case, the answer is yes.  Guessers are allowed to ask the entire group, or selected individuals.


Count to Ten

All people have to do to play this game successfully is be able to count from one to ten, and be sensitive to their fellow players. The goal is for the group to count out loud the numbers from to X. X is the total number of the players. Sound simple? The added challenge is that no two players can speak at the same time. If two or more players say the same number, at the same time, then the group has to begin again with the number one.



First player thinks of a word, then gives the clue, I m thinking of a word that rhymes with blue . Any player thinks of a possible word, and asks a question, without using the word. Is it fresh and young?  First player answers by figuring out the rhyme: No, it s not new . If It can t think of the rhyming word of a question, s/he must reveal her word. Crambo can also be played by teams.


Dumb Crambo

Divide group into two teams. One team, the guessers, leaves the room. The other team comes up with the secret word. They also agree on a clue word that rhymes with the hidden word. The guessers come back and hear what the secret word rhymes with. Guessers then mime what they think the word might be. Other team is allowed to hiss if the mime is incorrect, or applaud if the mime is correct.


In the Manner of the Adverb

Adverbs modify verbs. They can also modify other adverbs, but that doesn t apply to this game. Oh, yes, adverbs usually end in ly.  Two or three detectives leave the room. While out of earshot, the group agrees on the same adverb. The detectives  goal is to deduce which adverb the group has chosen. Detectives acquire clues by asking the member s of the group to act out any type of action. All participants will not only readily do so, they will act out the requested verb, in the manner of the adverb that they have chosen. Detectives may chose to ask group members to shake hands. If the adverb were slowly, all the players would shake hands very slowly. Asked to tie their shows, all members would willingly bend down and tie their shoes. Of course, they wouldn t be in a hurry to do it. Generally, detectives ask the entire group to act out verbs in the manner of the adverb. It is possible to ask smaller subsets to carry out specific actions.


Name Five

This is a naming game, instead of a guessing game. Players take turns making and meeting challenges. The challenges come of the form of being able to name specific items with various categories.


This Is My Nose

This is a game about body parts. It's also a great game to teach listening skills. The first player in the circle points to a part of his body, turns to the person next to him, and boldly announces, This is my nose.  What s strange is that he was pointing to his wrist. The receiving player only pays attention to what was said, however. She immediately points to her nose, turns to the next player, and just as confidently explains that This is my ear.  Each player must correctly point to what s/he heard, not what she saw, and say a completely different part of the body to the nexts player


Three-Syllable Game

Have everyone sit in a big circle, facing in. Invite two or three players to leave the room to become guessers. Don t worry about filling in the gaps around the circle. While the guessers are gone, all the players in the circle decide on a three-syllable word. Divide the circle of players into three sections. Each section is assigned one syllable of the three-syllable word. Invite the guessers back into the room. The guessers then ask all of the players what the secret word is by counting to three. At the count of three everyone in the group yells out her/his syllable, at the same time. The guessers task is to unscramble the rush of sounds, and figure out the secret word.


Bird, Beast, or Fish

Divide the group into two teams. Each team sends one champion to receive instructions from the zookeeper. The zookeeper decides on a specific bird, beast, or fish for both of the champions to act out for their teammates. The two champions return to the area in front of their teams. Once there, the champions independently act out the specific creature for that round. The players on team A can only watch Champion A. Team B players can only get clues from Champion B. At any time a player can make a guess by calling out the name of a bird, beast, or fish. Even while pantomiming behavior of the assigned bird, beast, or fish, the champion must listen carefully. If the champion hears the name of the correct creature from teammate, she quickly walks back to tag the zookeeper. The first champion to tag the outstretched hand of the zookeeper wins a point for that team. Two new champions are chosen for the next round. The game continues until everyone has had a chance to be a Champion.


War Tag

The classic card game War pits two opponents against each other to see who plays the highest card. Players simultaneously turn over the top card from their decks. The player with the highest card wins that round and captures the opponent s card. The winner is the person who ends up with the entire deck. A more active version of this game has each player holding and representing one card. Each round also becomes a quick game of tag. Divide the group into two teams. Deal out the cards, one card per player. The players are not allowed to look at their cards, or show them to anybody else. Shuffle the cards by having all of the players mill around in a random order with their teammates. The two teams line up facing each other, about five steps apart. The two players from the front of each line step forward into the arena. On the count of three both of the players reveal their cards. The game then turns into a game of tag. The winner of that round, the warrior with the highest card tries to tag the other player before she makes it back to her line. The loser tries to run back to her line without being tagged. A successful tag captures that player and her card for the winning team. A player who makes it back to her line without being tagged remains on his original team.



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