Monday, March 14, 2011

Top Two Book Chook Silly Games

Laughter is the closest distance between two people. ~Victor Borge
I love games that slip a little something useful into family life. I've talked a lot about word games and you know I love board games that encourage creativity and/or are educational in some way. But there are two games I adore that have no educational value I can see. They are simply about being silly and having fun - and that is something I strongly believe in too. I try to find something to laugh about every single day - most days, I just have to look in the mirror!

Spoons This game is also called Ratfink. Do you know it? I would recommend it for 8 years and up - kids need to be able to hold and sort cards, and to lose gracefully. It's a little like gin rummy in the fact that you need to collect cards that are the same to win. But there the resemblance ends. Seat everyone around a table, and put one less teaspoon in the middle of the table than the number of players. So, with six players, put five teaspoons on the table. If there are six people playing, remove all but the first six cards in each suit from a pack of cards. With six people, you need the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, ten and nine of Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades. With five people, you need top five cards etc

Shuffle those cards and deal them all out. Allow players a couple of moments to sort their cards. Each player is hoping to get four cards exactly the same in his hand. Four Kings or four tens for instance. When all are ready, each player discards one card to his left and picks up a card from his right, all at the same time. The dealer may need to say "now" to get it synchronized. Keep passing until someone grabs a spoon.

The player who gets four of a kind first must grab a spoon, and everyone else follows suit, except for the person who misses out. In our family, you have to miss a spoon three times to be officially "out". I have almost lost fingers in the battle to grab a spoon!

Animal Snap This is best played with a small group - 6-8 is ideal. Deal out a pack of cards evenly between players and each player's pile is face down. Each player chooses an animal noise for their own, and makes it for the rest of the group, who try to learn it.

Start the game by one player turning over his top card. Then the second player. If the cards are a match, player 1 and 2 must try to make each other's animal noise first, to get their pile of turned over cards. If not a match, player 3 turns over his first card. If 3 matches with 1 or 2, each must try to make the other's animal noise first. And so on around the circle. Keep playing until one person has won all the cards, or until the police arrive to take everyone to the zoo. Book Chook tip - choose an animal noise that isn't obvious, because it makes it harder for your opponent to remember it. Woof-woof is obvious; hee-haw might not be.

Maybe teachers could modify Animal Snap and play it with sight word cards or alphabet/sound cards. And I think Spoons could be modified too. Anything that makes learning fun for kids is worth a try.

I've taught both those games to people of all ages, so now I recommend them to you, confident that if you want a game to unite your group or family in laughter, these will do the trick!

If you're looking for other games that are fun for kids and adults alike, you might enjoy these articles: Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
Simon Says
Online Mahjong
Word Fun at Only Connect
and Messing About with Words to Increase Literacy

Find more articles about ways for families to have fun together in:
What Can We Do with a Newspaper?
Fold Me Up, Scotty
Construction Ideas
and The Book Chook Bag of Tricks.

Did you know that March14 is Pi Day? If you follow the US system of allocating dates, today's 3/14. I'll be celebrating - with pie!

{Image made by Book Chook at Toon Doo}
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