The younger generations are increasingly turning into digital games and gradually losing interest in physical traditional ones. These days, it is very uncommon to see students playing it in the traditional way as it used to be a couple of decades ago. In fact, most of the apps today have been digitized from games that had been around for centuries. Taking them back to those (g)olden days can not only be enriching but also educational. Rules of these activities can changed depending upon your creativity level.
It sounds simple, usually played with a paper and pencil; but the game can be modified to help students develop coordination, fine motor skills, sharpens the mind and increases the concentration level. If played outdoors, they can use any available materials like twigs, small rocks, colored buttons or even different colored leaves in place of paper and pencils.
The object of Tic-Tac-Toe is to get three items in a row on a 3x3 game board. The first player is known as X and the second is O. Players alternate placing Xs and Os on the game board until either opponent has three in a row or all nine squares are filled. X always goes first, and in the event that no one has three in a row, the stalemate is called a cat game.
The game can be made more complex by making a 4x4 grid or a 5x5 grid depending on the levels of students. In England, it is called 'Noughts and crosses'. It is said to have originated from the game 'Three Men's Morris', where each player has 3 or 4 pieces, and the board is a grid of nine points, in three rows of three. Players enter their pieces one at a time, in turn, trying to form a row of three. Once all pieces are on the board, players move their pieces along the marked lines until one player or other has a row of three, that player winning the game. It was known to the Romans, and has remained popular ever since.
Other variations to this game are 'Nine holes', 'Tant Fant' (India) or 'Achi' (Ghana).
Breathe in, breathe out
Deep breathing is a technique used in yoga and can be done with students inside or outside the classroom, regardless of age. Children are more fun-loving and enthusiastic and do it if it is fun.
Proper deep breathing tricks the body into thinking it is in a calm state. When we teach breathing exercises to kids, we give them a life-long tool for managing their stress and cultivating inner peace. Each and every one of us has the ability to feel calmer, more relaxed, and more alert at any given moment. This ability is called “Conscious Breathing”. When we use it, we are less stressed, more mindful, more creative and just plain cooler and kinder. Try these four different exercises with your students:
Flower Breath: Imagine smelling a beautiful flower, breathe in through the nose and out the mouth, releasing any tension. Stop and smell the roses, daffodils, daisies or any other flower they like. This is a simple way to connect kids to their breath and how it helps them to feel.
Hissing Breath: Breathe in the nose, long deep inhale, and out the mouth on a hissing sound, slow and long. Extending the exhale will allow kids to slow down their inner speed. It’s wonderful to connect kids to their exhale to help them learn to slow themselves down, mentally and physically.
Bear Breath: Inhale through the nose, pause; exhale out the nose, pause. Breathe in to a count of 3 or 4, pause for a count of 1 or 2; breath out for a count of 3 or 4, pause for a count of 1 or 2. Repeat a few times. This will help ground and settle kids. Wonderful for restful, reflective time. Imagine a bear hibernating. Helpful before nap time, story time or any creative activity.
Bunny Breath: Just 3 quick sniffs in the nose and one long exhale out the nose. Invite kids to pretend to be bunnies, sniffing the air for other bunnies, carrots to eat, or safety. It can be a lovely cleansing breath when you use it in this way. You can also use it when kids are very upset and can’t find their breath, because it will help them connect to their exhale, so that they breathe instead of spin out.
Henna Hand Art
It's a great art activity for kids, because it allows them to learn about:
- other cultures
- the role of pattern in abstract art
- how to create abstract patterns
- how to express themselves in a symbolic way
In many cultures in India, Middle East and some parts of Africa, women have henna decorations applied to their hands and feet for festivals and celebrations. Before a wedding, a bride will have elaborate henna designs drawn onto her hands, arms and sometimes feet. Henna decorations have also become popular in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, where it takes the form of a "temporary tattoo".
The first step is to trace the hand onto the paper. I recommend using a pencil to outline the hand first, so that any mistakes can be erased. Then go over the outline with a pen or marker. (Tip: Be sure to spread the fingers far enough apart to easily get the pencil in between the fingers). Now fill in with designs and patterns!
As an extension for older students, ask them to choose the patterns and imagery that reflect oneself – their personality, essence, or own unique flair. By drawing patterns on the hand, they are creating an original self-portrait that captures the essence of who they are!
Common motifs found in hand designs include: flowers, paisley, tendrils, stars, vines, spirals, leaves, water drops, criss-crosses, waves, and more.
A Math Game from Kenya
It is called Shisima (which means “body of water,”) because the center of the game board is the “water” and the game pieces are called impalavali (which means “water bugs”). The reason for this is that water bugs move very quickly, and it’s hard to keep track of where they are. Likewise, Shisima players move their pieces so quickly, it’s hard to keep up!
Each player has three game pieces in 2 different colors, but could use counters, coins, LEGOs, or anything as long as you can tell the difference between the two players! The game pieces are then set on three consecutive points of the octagon, across from each other, as seen in the picture.
To Play Shisima:
Players take turns moving their game pieces one space. A move must be to an adjacent corner, or to the center (shisima). Jumping pieces is not allowed, and there cannot be two pieces on the same space.
To win the game, a player must get three of their pieces in a row, including one piece on the shisima. (Therefore, there are four possible ways to win the game).
HOLA, NAMASTE, BONJOUR ...
Learning a new language is always exciting. It takes a lot of of practice to start conversing but learning to say ‘Hello’ is a always a good start. How many of us know more than 2 languages? It's always a good practice to talk with students from different cultures and get to know them. This is one of the activities that is sure to bring some fun in any class.
Have 2 sets of 15 cards. The first set of cards will have the names of countries (having different spoken languages) and the other set will have the word 'Hello' in those language.
Now starts the fun!
Divide the class into two teams, give the teams each set of cards and ask the team to match the countries with the proper 'hello' word in its language. For older students, add the sentence 'My name is ......' also on the cards. Give them a couple of minutes to research before hand how to say these words in different languages or they can even guess before knowing the right answers.
Depending on the time, sentences like - 'How are you?' or ' I am very well' etc will add up the challenging levels. Younger students can paint the word 'Hello' in other languages on a paper plate and decorate the classroom wall or door. So what are you waiting for, Empecemos!
What's the time, Mr. Wolf?
Tip: Make variations to the game by saying smaller numbers (1-5) as students would take shorter steps or it can be played in the gym where there is more room for students to walk and can extend the time of the game. It's always better to avoid having a larger group of children while running for safety measures.
It's called 'Lupo delle ore' in Italy, especially fun with younger children.
Number of players: 5-10.
- Decide who acts as the wolf and the wolf turns his back to the group. Pick a line where the rest of the children are aligned.
- Then all the students ask, "Wow what are the hours?" The wolf responds with a number from one to twelve and if he says "10", students would make ten steps closer to the wolf. The wolf cannot look around as the students take the steps; After finishing the steps ask again: "Wow what are the hours?"
- The wolf can still say another number or say "Dinner time". If he says so , the children have to
run behind the starting line and take 'shelter' because the wolf will catch them; If one of them is touched he/she becomes the wolf.
Egyptian Stick Game
This game may be played in any open area
EQUIPMENT – 1 stick, approximately 2-3' in length for each participant (due to safety, you may want to have younger students use a ball instead– size depending on skill of students)
• Have participants form a large circle, standing 2 meters away and facing the center.
• Participants should hold their sticks in front of their body in an upright position (hold ball out in front of body in an underhand position).
• On the command “charge”, players leave their sticks (or ball) and quickly race to the next stick (or ball) on the right, trying to catch the stick (or ball) before it hits the ground.
• Players are eliminated if the stick (or ball) they are trying to catch hits the ground (or give each players a letter for each miss until they spell “Egypt” to prolong elimination).
• Start with a few players and gradually increase the number as students catch on.
• Move to the right as well as to the left. • Skip two positions, instead of one.
This game was used to help young men prepare for war. How might it be useful for us (agility, quickness)? Determine ways to turn this into a team game.
The game is called
"Marelles" in France,
"Templehupfen" in Germany, "Hinkelbaan" in the Netherlands,
"Ekaria Dukaria" in India,
"Pico" in Vietnam; Campana in Italy
"Rayuela" in Argentina.
The English term "Hopscotch" comes from "hop" meaning "to jump" and "escocher", an Old French word meaning "to cut".
Hopscotch began in ancient Britain during the early Roman Empire. The original hopscotch courts were over 100 feet long and used for military training exercises. Roman foot-soldiers ran the course in full armor and field packs to improve their footwork, much the same way modern football players run through rows of truck tires today.
Rules (with variation):
Side by side squares are straddled, with the left foot landing in the left square and the right foot in the right square. Single squares must be hopped into on one foot. For the first single square, either foot may be used. Squares may be marked "Safe" or "Rest" and are neutral squares and may be hopped through in any manner without penalty.
Drawing the boxes really big can be much more challenging to this game!
In another variation, the marker must be kicked with the hopping foot from space to space.
More to come....
Resources used for this website
- Bragdon, Liz. '4 Breathing Exercises for Kids to empower, calm, and self regulate'. (Jan 30, 2012). Retrieved from https://move-with-me.com/self-regulation/4-breathing-exercises-for-kids-to-empower-calm-and-self-regulate/
- East, Michelle. 'Create Art with me'. Retrieved from http://createartwithme.com/warm-cool-colors-handprint-pattern-watercolor-crayon-resist-painting/
- Bullock, J. R. 1994. Helping children value and appreciate nature. Day Care Early Educ. 21 (4):4-8.
- Cooper Marcus, C. 1992. Environmental memories, p. 87-112. In: I. Altman and S.M.Low (eds.). Place attachment. Plenum Press, New York.
- Khan, SHADAB. BREATHING EXERCISE - Creative Ways to Teach Deep Breathing to Kids (Feb 2, 2017). Retrieved from http://www.physioheals.in/
- What do we do all day? How to play Nine Holes (Mar 13, 2016). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGxGOXatAnA
- Krissy. SHISIMA – A COOL MATH GAME FROM KENYA (June 10, 2015). Retrieved from b-inspiredmama.com/shisima-cool-math-game/