This activity challenges participants to use critical thinking and word associations to identify patterns and similarities.
- No materials are need for this activity.
Gather the participants to sit in a circle say, “This weekend is my birthday party and you’re all invited. When you arrive, you need to bring something fun but the door that you need to pass through is made of a mystical green glass and will only let certain items through. If the door doesn’t like what you’re bringing, you won’t be able to come to my party. I’m excited for you all to come!” The way that the door ‘decides’ which items can pass through is based on a word rule that only you know: words that have double letters (as in the title of this activity). The goal of this activity is for the participants to uncover the word rule.
- Start the activity off with, “To my party, I’m going to bring…,” and complete the phrase with something that follows the word rule (ie. “balloons!”)
- Choose a direction in the circle to have a child go next. S/he says the phrase and completes it by announcing something that they will bring to the party. If they get it wrong (their word doesn’t follow the rule), say, “Sorry, you can’t come yet,” and move on to the next child in the circle.
- If a child does announce an item that follows the rule, say, “You can come!” then, give the next child in the circle a try.
- Continue around the circle until everyone has guessed the rule or until you feel it is appropriate to end the game. Even the participants who have guessed the rule continue playing by bringing different items to the party, which follow the rule. This clarifies any “lucky” answers by participants and also challenges participants to think of other words which follow the rule.
- Play a few rounds of this activity by changing up the word rules with simpler word rules like:
- Items beginning with a particular letter
- Items in sequential order of the alphabet (ie. first person brings something beginning with the letter A, second person brings something beginning with the letter B, third person with C, etc.
- Categories - animals, toys, names, food, or occupations
- Try difficult word rules like compound words (racecar or bobcat), or adjective and noun (red shirt or shaggy dog).
- Elimination: Instead of eliminating participants that give wrong answers, eliminate participants who give correct answers but only do it after they’ve given three correct answers in order to cover the conditions in step 4 of the instructions. This version can be great if used as a transition activity or to begin another activity simultaneously.
- If your group has played this a few times, allow a child to lead the next time.
- Establish a supportive atmosphere. Encourage the participants to avoid making negative comments to other participants who have not yet figured out the rule and instead support one another with positive comments like, “You’ve almost got it. Next time!”
Gather the participants and ask them how they feel after the activity. If there are participants in the group that still have not figured out the rule, repeat a few of the words that follow the rule and give them a few moments to see if they can discover the similarities between them. More often than not, because they aren’t distracted by other words, they will. If not, reveal the rule. Explain to the participants that whether they figured out the rule or not, their brains were working hard to make associations between words and that next time, they will have an easier time. Close with a few, quick reflection questions, like:
- If you figured out the rule, how did you do it? What strategies did you use?
- If you didn’t figure out the rule, what will you try next time?