Thinking & Engaging
Thinking & Engaging

Focus is the name of the game! In this game, students will hone their listening skills while developing eye-hand coordination.


  • No materials are required for this activity.


The class sits in a circle with overlapping hands. As the instructor (or student leader) tells a story, students listen for the secret word. When the secret word is heard, it’s “Gotcha time!” Students try to grab their neighbor’s finger with their left hand while keeping their other neighbor from grabbing their right hand. This game teaches students the importance of listening carefully and refocusing after defeat.


  1. Have students form a circle.
  2. Each student takes his/her left hand and puts it out toward the person next to them – hand open, palm up.
  3. Each student then takes his/her right pointer finger and places it pointing down into the middle of the palm of the person next to them.
  4. All players must keep their left hand flat until the magic word is said
  5. The coach starts the game by telling students that they should be listening for “Gotcha” or the magic word.
  6. When they hear the magic word, they will try to grab the finger in their left hand while at the same time pulling their finger away from the person to their right. The goal is to grab the finger of the person to your left and not have your right finger grabbed.
  7. Coach will start telling a story, randomly inserting the magic word into the story so students have to listen carefully for the word. After a couple of rounds, have a student or teacher tell the story.


  • You can use this game to talk about goal focus and shifting thinking by changing the goal after a few rounds. Tell the students you are now working as a team to see how many finger grabs you can get. Don’t give them any further guidance, but play a few more rounds and ask in between if anyone has ideas to help them get to their goal. They should figure out after a few rounds that they can all just leave their fingers in place and let the other person grab them.


  • There are no foreseeable safety concerns for this activity.


  • Debrief: How did it feel to shift goals in the middle? What made it hard?

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