Teachers have CLASS!

teacher appreciation is next week!   it’s our time to show the faculty how much we adore them!  if you’ve spent any time at the school you’ll realize how lucky we are to have such wonderful staff take care of our children!

i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again…..manila is one of my happiest places on earth and i hope your children feel the same way!

if you are looking for some gift ideas for teachers, our room moms should have some ‘wish lists’ posted next week.

here are some general gift ideas teachers appreciate–

* gift cards to wal-mart, target or macey’s

*gift cards to their favorite restaurant

*classroom supplies- dry erase markers, glue sticks, colored pencils, crayons, clorox wipes

*flowers

*gift certificate to the mall

*books for the classroom

*30-40 minutes with students…give us some time to relax

*donate money as a class for a bigger gift- paper cutter, vacuum, lots of books!

*jewelry- necklaces, earrings, bracelets

*favorite drink or treat

*gift certificate to the movies/ or to rent movies

*copy paper

*plants

*cash–who doesn’t love this?!

*bath and body works lotions (i’d ask on this one. some people are allergic to scented items)

like to GIFT OUTSIDE THE BOX?  here are some CLASS ACT ideas that might get you an “A” grade  🙂

*classroom cookbook-each student brings their favorite family recipe, you compile them into a cookbook.  really cute if the kids get to write in their own words why they think teacher will like that recipe.

*SHOW how much you appreciate your teacher with movie tickets.

*bouquet of thanks-photos on front of flowers, kind words of thanks on the back. add green pipe cleaners and a vase.  voila it’s a garden of thanks

*themed baskets-put themed items in a bowl, basket, tub, etc that the teacher would like. (examples: summer theme-flip flops, book, water bottle wrapped in a towel or beach bag.    cooking theme- you take the cake! cake mix, sprinkles, frosting)

*bowl her over-in spring target usually has them for $1.00. fill it with fun snacks. popcorn, treats, movie tickets)

*books-let your child choose their favorite book for the teacher. they can draw a picture inside the cover or write their name and date it.  it’s always fun for a younger sibling to get that teacher and find that book!

*flower pen bouquet-you can let the kids make the flowers and bring them in on a certain day. that way the teacher will always have a bouquet of flowers on her desk!

*aprons, hand bags or tablecloths- kids can sign, stamp or paint things on them.  usually requires a few parents to help this gift be made.

*party in a box-put everything the teacher needs to throw a last minute party for when the kids have earned it. little treats, games, prizes, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, etc.   even a limbo stick and a cd would be a hit!

*to a NOTE-worthy teacher-buy a package of post it notes and stick them all over the classroom with little thank you notes on them. i’m sure the students would love to hide them.    this can also be done like a heart attack. each child brings in a heart with thank you notes written on it and they can hide them around the room.  then the teacher always has a fun surprise.  she may find them weeks down the road 🙂

A “DOOR” ABLE decorating ideas: 1st and only rule of decorating doors–DON’T STRESS!  decorating is fun!  don’t think you need to hand draw, personally design or spend hours on the door.  my suggestion is pick a theme that works for you or the teacher, pick a title to show off your theme and then a picture or two.  some people like to involve the entire class for the door.  that’s great but takes more time and organization.  NO WORRIES! the students love all the doors and so do the teachers, so enjoy this project and have fun.  if you prefer to have fun with all the kids help, that’s great.  if you prefer to buy a pre-done kit that you just tape up……that’s great as well.

2nd rule-ask the teacher if she’d prefer the inside or outside of the door to be decorated.  some prefer one over the other.

3rd-measure the door!!!!  take into consideration the door handle, top hinge and door stop.  it’s so frustrating to spend time on a door and then you have to cut it all up because you forgot the handle in the middle of the door!

i wish every door at the school was decorated year round.  i love walking the halls when all the doors are decorated.  what a great feel it brings to the school.  please don’t stress about the doors.  if you’ve never attempted a door before teacher appreciation week, i suggest you give it a try one year.  here are some fun ideas to help you out.  you can cut out and design your own patterns or you can visit my favorite store-utah idaho map world.  they have cute bulletin board packets that are all themed and only $5-$10 each.  you can just tape the stuff up without coloring, cutting or designing.   so easy, just pick a theme.

scrapbook titles are a great source for door ideas!

*miss smith is a “souper” teacher.  big bowl of soup with tons of die cut letters.  spoon sticking out of bowl.  sign could read:  special today: alphabet soup.

*miss smith is out of this world-alien ship, planets, black background

*recipe card reads: recipe for a grade A teacher.  1 cup of patience, 1 tablespoon of fun, a pinch of courage, with a side of love for learning.   big chefs hat that reads: we’re cookin up some fun in miss smith’s class

*sports themed doors-in an all star league, on your mark, get set….learn, TEAM-t-ogether e-ach a-complishes m-ore, we tackle the tough stuff, touchdown, slam dunk, homerun, grand slam, etc.

*having a ball in miss smith’s class-just have pictures of all different kinds of balls (soccer, b-ball, golf, etc)

*the bus stops here-picture of kids in bus

*on the road to success-black winding door up road

*report card-words like what a teacher would use (super! great job! A+)

*”dino”mite teacher-dinosaurs all over the door

*discover wild life-teach 4th grade-jungle or animal theme

*heard the news?  miss smith’s the greatest!  cover the entire door in newspaper

*working hard in miss smith’s -construction theme, wood, nails, orange tape/cones, yellow hard hats, etc

*don’t forget, miss smith’s the greatest!  (big elephant on door)

*having a dog-gone good time in miss smith’s -dog house or puppies on door “no bones about it, we love miss smith”   little dog bones all over

*miss smith’s the best and we’re not LION  (big lion head)

*no monkey’n around in miss webb’s-  we’d go bananas without her.   (monkey themed)

*we treasure miss smith-pirate or treasure chest

*havin a blast in miss smiths-fireworks, rockets, stars, sparklers

*miss smith is “egg”stra special.   big colorful eggs, green grass,  paper weaved basket

*we’re so LUCKY to have miss smith.  lucky charms, green clovers, rainbow, pot o gold

*thumbody loves miss smith-kids thumbprints all over the door or blown up.  you can draw characters on the little thumbprints

*having a great TIME in miss smith’s or how time flies in miss smiths-big clock on door

*hats off to you-mad hatter or tons of hats on door

*here’s the buzz or un-BEE-lievable,  keepin very buzzy in 2nd grade. (bumble bee with big beehive)

*miss smith is the best…..PLANE and simple.    blue background, white clouds with planes all over

*love hangin’ out in miss smith’s class-clothes line with little shirts, pants, socks on clothespins (kids could color the clothes)

*just “developing”  skills for a picture perfect year.   or picture this year to be a great one.   (big camera, film)

*miss smith is “toad”ally awesome.  lily pads, toads….we’re “leaping” to new heights

*big open book,  an adventure is just a page away in 3rd grade.   little book worms on page

*twinkle, twinkle little star, miss smith is just the best by far.  black background tons of stars

*we have perfect harmony in miss smiths’ class.  music notes, full sheet of music behind lettering

*having a REEL good time in miss smiths–fishing pole with little fish everywhere

*we’re NUTS about miss smith-nuts, squirrels, big tree

*we’re SHORE miss smith is the best!  (beach , sand theme)

*having a “whale” of a time in miss smith’s.  blue water, big whale tail,  sea world looking colors blue, black white

*miss smith’s class is ship shape and sailing through 2nd grade (porthole, water, anchor, big sail, sea look)

*all aboard for a fun time.  we “choo” choose miss smith.  train hat and tracks would be perfect on this door

*lasso up some fun, see how the west was fun, howdy pardner (horseshoes, lasso, cowboy hat)

*there’s SNOWbody better than miss smith.  snowman made out of white batting.  kids can make snowflakes

*a “zoo”-per teacher.  black stripes like a cage, with zoo animals on door

*we’d go to pieces without miss smith.  big puzzle pieces out of paper or real jigsaw puzzle pieces  just taped all over

*miss smith takes the cake-big piece of cake on the door, plates, forks, glass of milk.

*you are the “write” teacher for us.  (white background with blue lines like lined notebook paper 3 holes down side, then just write the words with a big marker in cursive)  big pencil or pen off to the side

*miss smith is “puddin” the fun in learning.   big pudding cup!

*kindergarten is rockin out with miss smith.  jukebox, records, maybe fun song titles

*we’ve added everything up and miss smith is #1.  math themed door.  calculator or big numbers falling all down the door

*no matter how you slice it, miss smith is #1.    big pizza with all the toppings.

*miss smith is really groovy!    70’s theme, hang beads in doorway, paper lava lamp, peace sign, retro colors.

*we think “EWE” are the best teacher ever!  big sheep made of cotton balls or lots of little sheep.

WHEW!  over the years i’ve taken photos of the doors.  hopefully i can get my computer to work and post a slide show of the doors soon.   i’m having ‘technical difficulties’  for now you get 3 options showing how different doors can be.   just have fun and enjoy being creative!

here are some ideas that another school shared:

http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/04/13/teacher-appreciation-door-decorations/

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SWEET Valentine Ideas

Here’s a collection of some ‘sweet’ valentine ideas that i ‘love’.   i hope you can find something to help you plan the perfect party for family, classroom or ‘just because’.    happy valentine’s day everyone!

One of my favorite sites for printable games is valentines a to z.  the games have a cost but are so worth it and you can print as many as you want.   very clever and they’ve gone to all the work so to me, they are worth the cost.  these games are perfect for time fillers for the older classes because they require reading, writing and matching.

http://www.valentinesgamesatoz.com/games/Valentinesgamesinfo.html

valentines day is all about finding your true love, right?    so it seems fitting to have a ton of Perfetct MATCH or Peferct PAIRing games for the classroom.  these can be tweaked to fit any grade level,  which works great for a classroom party.

MATCH GAMES- for each of the following match games you can find items or write items on a heart and have the kids find their match.  The heart can be cut exactly in half to be harder or cut with zig zags, waves, etc for the kids to match easier.

COUPLES-  ahead of time write famous couples names on a heart (one name on each side) or get photos of them. Kids get one side of a heart or half a picture.  without talking they have to find THEIR MATCH as quickly as possible and sit down.  (I love to use Disney characters, so belle and beast, mickey and Minnie, Cinderella and prince charming, etc.

ITEMS- pair items that go together.  Peanut butter and jelly,  ice cream and cake, milk and cookies, etc.   they each get one item and see if they can find their matching item quickly.   or you can write one item on a piece of paper and they have to find their match first without talking and sit down when they are found.

EDUCATIONAL- you can have math problems on one side of the heart, answer on the other.  Or spelling words cut in half.  Each child gets one half of the paper heart and they see who can find their match the fastest.  Believe it or not the kids love the math problems!   we played this game over and over again.  who knew kids liked math so much?! 🙂

JOKES-first part of joke on one paper, punchline on other.  Kids have to race to see who can find their match first.  i have a ton of valentine jokes if you want a copy, email me and i will shoot them over to you.  the older grades really like this game.

example:  Q. What did the valentine card say to the stamp?      A. Stick with me and we’ll go places!

MOVIE QUOTES or CHARACTERS:  you always hear people say I LOVE THAT MOVIE!  See if the kids can match quotes to movies.   www.imdb.com is a great resource.  Just type in your favorite kid movies then go to movie quotes on the left side of the page to build your game of quotes.  i have two teams and two bowls of different quotes.  see which team can figure out their quotes first.

HOLDING HANDS:  everyone reaches in the circle with a left hand and grabs hold of someone’s hand.  Then you do the same with the right, making sure you don’t have hold of the same person’s hands.  On go everyone tries to get un tangled without letting go of hands.

SITTING AT DESK GAMES:

VALENTINE’S SCATTERGORIES- Kids just go down the list and try to think of creative things that start with those letters.  Give them a few minutes, then have the kids read off what they have.  If you have the same answer as someone else you both have to cross the answer off.  It’s fun to see who can come up with the most creative items.

DICE/HEART GAME-  each child should have their own set of paper hearts numbered from 1-10 and a pair of dice.  If you don’t have enough dice, kids can share the dice, but each child should have their own hearts.  The goal of this game is to get all your heart numbers turned over by rolling them on the dice.  Have each child lay their paper hearts in front of them from 1-10 and start rolling.

Example: if the child rolls a 6 they can flip the heart with #6 over OR they could flip the #5 and #1 OR  #4 and #2.   they can’t flip all of those combinations, just what two hearts equal six or is a 6 but not both equations.     let’s say they chose #4 and #2.  now those two numbers should be flipped face down and they roll again.

If they roll a 7 they could flip over the 7 OR decide to flip the 6 and 1 over.

You don’t want to always just flip the number because sometimes you need those to help with if you roll an eleven or twelve.  Even though those numbers arent’ on the hearts, if you roll them, you still need to flip hearts down that add up to those numbers.  Sometimes it works to get rid of the lower numbers first, but other times it doesn’t.  it’s just a way to get kids to do math over and over in their heads but have fun at the same time!   (you can do this on a white board as well. Instead of printing the hearts, then you just erase the numbers inside the hearts as they go.)  this is much easier because you don’t have to cut out all those little hearts.   i had 5th graders beg for this game because they loved the easy math but it was fun.

WHO SAID THAT- I made up anonymous valentine letters from secret admirers, and the children had to guess who wrote and who received each one. For example, one of my letters read: “Dear Valentine, I think you are beautiful even when covered in ashes and soot. I dream of taking you away from your evil stepmother’s house. When you come to live in my castle, you will ride in royal carriages instead of pumpkins. I will give you anything you want in life, whether it’s glass slippers or to be able to stay out later than midnight. Love, Your secret admirer” The kids knew that this letter was written to Cinderella from Prince Charming.

VALENTINE WORD SCRAMBLE-Use the phrases from Valentine heart candies to create this word puzzle. Scramble the letters from a phrase. List up to ten scrambled phrases on a page and have the students unscramble the phrases. For example, EMBNIE unscrambles to become BE MINE.

FINISH MY PHRASE-list a bunch of phrases on a paper and let kids fill them out.  See how many match.  This is the opposite of scattergories, you WANT to match people on this one.   Example: “Sweet _______.” Was it Sweet Heart, Sweet Dreams, or maybe even Sweet Tooth?   http://www.valentinesgamesatoz.com/games/finishphrasedear.html

Valentine Make-a-Word Puzzles-Print a Valentine’s Day phrase on a piece of paper. Have the students cut out letters and lay them on the desk. Moving the letters around, students make as many words as possible. Have students list each of their words on a paper. Make this game harder by requiring words to be at least four or five letters long.

Some phrases to use could be:Happy Valentine’s Day; Be My Valentine; Will You Be Mine; St. Valentine’s Day

ACTION GAMES:

Heart Relay: 2 Large construction paper hearts per team. Divide children into teams. The first person of a team takes the 2 hearts and lays one of the hearts out on the floor. The child steps on the first heart and then places the second heart in front of them. The child steps on the second heart, reaches back and picks up the first heart and then places that heart in front of them. Continue to the end of the course and then run back and tag the next team member. Variation: Divide the teams in half and have the person walk on hearts to the other side.

Valentine’s Day Party Tiddly Winks
Before the party cut a medium – large paper heart.
Provide each player with 4 plastic disks
(Tiddly Winks or Bingo markers).
Form a circle at a table or on the floor.
Place the heart in the center of the circle.
When you say “Go” the players “shoot” their disks onto
the heart by pressing the edges with another disk  –
How many can they get to land on the heart?
It’s harder than you think! – Let the kids try this as many
times as they would like. If you have a large group of
children, divide players into smaller groups and make more heart “targets”.

DO YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR?-kids sit in circle with one person in the center being “it”.  it goes up to a person and asks, “do you love your neighbor?”   if the person says “yes” the person on each side of him “neighbors” switch places while “it” tries to sit in one of those chairs as well.  whoever is left out is now “it”.

if the person answers “no” to the question then they have to say what they do love. example “no, but i love anyone wearing red”  then all those people wearing red must get up and find a new seat and “it” tries to find one as well.

DANCE and ROMANCE-play some fun upbeat pop love songs and let the kids limbo to them.  you can decorate a dowel with crepe paper, flowers, hearts and so they can really feel the love!

I SIT-Once this game gets going, it goes really fast!   Sit everyone sit in a circle with one extra chair.  The first person slides over into that chair and says, “I sit…” Then the person that was next to them slides over and says, “…in the grass…” Then the next person slides over and says “…with my friend…” and picks someone from the group (example) “…Ashley!” So Ashley would have to move into the empty seat by that person.  Now Ashley’s seat is open, and the battle is on…

The kids on either side of Ashley’s chair hurry and try to sit in it first, and say “I SIT!” and then the next person on their side scoots over, “in the grass”, and the next person scoots over, “with my friend…” and they pick someone else.

once the kids understand how the game works, kick it up a notch.  when a person is called, “ashley” the two people on either side of ashley’s empty chair try to be the first one in it and say, “i sit”    for the person who makes it into the chair, they are safe and the game continues. for the other person who didn’t make it, they now slide their chair out of the circle and make it smaller.  you can only go down to about 4 or 5 people and then the game doesn’t work anymore, but to get it to that small of a circle is a riot.  tell the kids to keep the game going quickly so you have to think fast!

Honey I Love You-Honey I Love You, is another icebreaker that’s fun to play. Your group should be sitting in a circle again with one person in the middle. The person in the middle can go to anyone in the circle and say “Honey I love you, won’t you give me a smile?” The person who was asked the question has to answer back “Honey I love you, but I just can’t smile” (without smiling.) The person in the middle can do anything to the other person to make them smile except touch them. You have to be the judge as to what you call smiling.

PASS THE HEART-kids line up in two lines standing side by side each other.   have each student with their left hand grab the right wrist of the person to their right.  everyone will end up having crossed arms to increase the challenge.  then have several items at one end of the table for each team to pass down the row.   if an item is dropped, with out breaking the chain, they must pick up the item and continue passing it down.   valentine cards, candy bar, heart pillow, etc.

BUMPETY BUMP BUMP BUMP-is one of my favorite classroom grades, especially for 3rd or 4th grade and up.  it’s loud, fast and crazy.   it’s got a long definition, so check it out on the post of STAPLE GAME IDEAS.   i play this game whenever i can.

CONVERSATION HEARTS-you can pour them into a bowl and let the kids see how many they can put into their bowl in 30 30 seconds using only chopsticks!   or you can see how high they can stack them.  they aren’t completely flat so it’s tougher than it sounds.

DRINKS and CRAFTS:

HUG-trace kids handprints onto red cardstock.  Have a student open their arms wide, then measure a piece of yarn from each child’s hand to hand.  (you just measured their hug) tie the yarn to each hand.  “wrap these hands around you whenever I’m away so you can have a hug from me anytime of day. I love you”

Love to Read – This bookmark is a really fun and easy craft that won’t take too long to make. Go to your local craft store and buy some tongue depressors. Each child can decorate a tongue depressor or two with markers, flat foam shapes, sequins, glitter, etc. (really, anything flat will work). Buy some pompoms as well as googly eyes as well so that the children can glue a little “Love Buddy” at the tip of their bookmarks to hold their places in whatever books they are reading.

“thumbody” loves you!  kids can make valentines cards using their thumb print and a stamp pad.  i love making picture/characters out of thumbprints.  draw little stick legs and arms. maybe some kitty ears.  these are an easy craft without a big mess.  use the stamp pad that has the mesh on top so the kids don’t get ink all up their thumb.

DRINKS:  Cupid’s Delight:  Vanilla ice cream, cherry 7-up and a twizzler for a straw.

“Cup-O-Love” Punch-Freeze fruit punch in heart ice or candy molds, then serve with sprite. Make enough for three cubes per child

Heart Shaped Cupcakes – Whip up a batch of your favorite cupcake mix. Line your cupcake tins with paper baking liners. Fill the liners up half way, then place one small marble or a 1/2-inch ball of aluminum foil between each liner and one side of the cupcake tin. This will push the paper and the batter to form of a heart when it bakes. Bake the cupcakes according to package directions and decorate them any way you want.

http://www.hersheys.com/kisses/crafts/ what’s better than an edible bouquet?

if you are looking for a fun idea for g-ma’s or hubbies for valentines day, nothing beats having your kids spell out we love you!   half the fun is trying to get them to lay still on the floor while you take the picture 🙂

Creeeepy Crafts for Halloween

37_spider_cupcakes_l

it’s so close to halloween it’s scaaaarrry!!!!    i love halloween crafts because you can spend time making something spooky…..that’s edible!   i hate real spiders but love making and eating spider pops, cookies and cupcakes!   hopefully the following ‘tricks n treats’ will bring a smile to your little monsters faces.

IMG_1313

witch hat cookies are my STAPLE treat at halloween.   buy the keebler fudge striped cookies, hershey’s kisses, pre made frosting in the tub, food coloring and ziploc bags.   you can buy the plain hershey’s kisses or you can buy the festive candy corn kisses to add some color.  hershey’s hugs are a fun striped option also.

i premix the frosting with purple or green food coloring and put it in the ziploc bags. then cut a tiny corner off so the kids can squeeze out a ring of frosting around the opening of the cookie, then drop a kiss on top.  if they are older you can have them even put a bow with the frosting or a dollop on top of the kiss!

these also make cute sombreros for cinco de mayo with some bright red or green frosting!

candy corn crepe paper candy corn craft! (say that 5 times fast!)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 sheet black construction paper with a candy corn triangle drawn on it with white crayon
  • Tissue paper – white, yellow, orange, cut or torn into ½” squares
  • White craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil with eraser
  • have kids put one piece of tissue paper on the end of their pencil over the eraser and twist so it’s wrapped around the top. while holding onto the tissue paper, they now dip the tissue paper in the glue and stick the paper on the candy corn inside the pattern or on the outside line of the candy corn.   once the tissue paper is on the black they can lift the pencil out of the paper and the tissue will stand up by itself.  you end up with a 3d craft that is popping off the page!    you can make any design for this to work and use whatever color tissue paper you would like.  (spiders, pumpkins, witch hat, etc.  it also works great for other holiday parties.  just make easy patterns that the kids can fill)

windsock_ghostghost windsock-using white paper, string, cut up trash bags or white crepe paper streamers, you can create windsocks.  kids color a big piece of construction paper.  (i had 3 colors-white for ghost or mummy, orange for pumpkin and green for monster)  kids get to color their own faces, draw what they want on them then tape the streamers on the inside of the bottom half of the tube.   connect paper in the back with staples, poke holes for string and you have a creepy windsock.

Midnight Mosaic— Tear orange or white construction paper into small squares (less than 1/2 inch). Paste torn bits of paper onto black construction paper to create a Halloween picture. Simple designs include a jack-o-lantern (create mouth, nose, and eyes by allowing black construction paper to show through), a witch’s hat, a haunted house, or a ghost.

handprint_bat handprint bat- kids can trace their hands onto a paper or if you are adventurous they can paint their hand and put smash it on a paper.  you can have the body part drawn up and copied or have the kids draw and cut out their own bat depending on how old the kids are.  this craft works for spiders too.  no thumbs for the spiders.   using kids feet make adorable ghosts! (more for a friend not school party)

halloween spider craftsfootprintghost

spiders yarn spiders
Take two pipe cleaners.  Cut them in half.  Stack the pipe cleaners together.
Cut a long piece of yarn.  Tie the pipe cleaners together leaving a six inch tail
on one end of the yarn.  Take the opposite end of the yarn and start
wrapping it around the pipe cleaners.  Make sure you don’t completely
cover the six inch tail.  When the spider is as fat as you would like, stop
wrapping and tie the ends of the yarn and trim the yarn ends off.  Glue
two wiggly eyes onto the spider and bend the legs to make it stand.

for lots of easy edible halloween treats check out the following blogs:

http://familyfun.go.com/halloween/halloween-recipes/

http://www.celebrations.com/halloween-treats

http://www.brightideas.com/  (this is where you find the adorable spider cupcakes)

happy halloween!

Room Mom STAPLE Game Ideas

if you’ve read this blog at all you know how much i love to party!   over the years i’ve planned classroom parties where the games went really well and planned parties where the games went not so well……..but i prefer to remember the HAPPY TIMES in my life, so i only filed the FUN games.  now when i go through my files i only see the games that are guaranteed to bring a smile to the students and perfection to the party.    below i’ve listed my favorite games that are always a hit!.  no matter what the grade, holiday or class size, i guarantee there is a game on this list for you!   when reading through the games keep in mind you can switch them up to match any holiday, class theme or grade level.  sometimes what works in a lower grade will work in an upper grade if you add one level of difficulty to the game. 😉

i call these my STAPLE games because the students love them!  i use them over and over and over again and the kids still jump up and down when i say what we’re playing.

if YOU have game ideas you’d like to share, please list them as a ‘comment’ so we can share them with everyone!!!    THANKS FOR PLAYIN’

man, woman, bear-this plays like rock, paper scissors but you start standing back to back in couples.  count 1,2,3 and flip around each making your characters actions.  whichever character loses goes and sits down then everyone pairs up again back to back.  play continues until you get down to two people and have one winner!    i write the characters on the board with who beats who, so the kids can easily see which person wins.    man gets bear, bear gets woman and………as true to life…….woman, gets the man!  he he he   actions to be each character:   man is two hands out like you are holding two guns.  bear is two hands up high fingers clawed, roaring face.  woman has one hand on mouth “oh” and second hand on hip.  (i love when the boys do the woman action.  so funny!)     from 1st to 6th the students love this game!!!!!

4 corners-this plays better in 3rd grade and under.   clearly divide the room into four corners with invisible lines.  name those corners using words to match your party theme.  if it was halloween, i’d name them candy, monster, ghost and pumpkin.  1child stands in the front of the room and closes their eyes.  (i hold my hands up to the side of the childs eyes to avoid them be tempted to cheat)   we count to 10 loudly while the other students quietly sneak around the room.  when we get to 8 all the students need to be IN a corner and stay in that corner.   then the child at the chalkboard picks a corner.  everyone in that corner is now out and sits in the middle of the room.  one of those students gets to be the student at the chalkboard now.  play continues until you get down to just a few kids.   i have pictures of the 4 corners names on the chalkboard so the child picking a corner has something to pick from.  otherwise you end up naming the 4corners over and over and over again.  if you prefer, you can choose to NOT let the kids get out after picking their corner and just let everyone have a turn being ‘it’ while everyone just plays over and over again.

blanket name game-bring a large dark blanket that the kids can’t see through.   divide the kids into two teams on either side of the blanket.  two moms hold the blanket up so neither team can see anyone on the other team.  one mom points to a student on team A and the other mom points to a student on team B.  those students come up to the blanket and stand in the center.  1,2,3 drop the blanket!  the two students try to be the first one to say the other students name.  sounds easy, but it’s harder than it sounds.  pull the blanket up and pick two more students.  this is a good time filler game at the end of the party.

dividing into teams-however many teams you need pick animals.   4 teams could be (cows, sheep, pig, turkey)  if you have 20students then you’d have 5 kids per team so you would need 5 strips of paper with each animal on it.  put all the strips in to a bowl and let the kids pick one out.  kids dont’ show one another their strip.  on ‘go’ the kids are only allowed to get on their hands and knees, close their eyes and make their animal sound.   they continue making their animal sound until they find the other animals that are the same as them.  this is a loud game but if all the other classes in your grade are having a holiday party at the same time it shouldn’t matter 😉  it’s an hilarious game to watch play out.  once all the animals have found their ‘families’ you can send them to their different stations easily.

here kitty kitty-students stand in a circle with one in the middle being ‘it’.  ‘it’ goes up to one person in the circle and in their best silly voice and cutesy face they say, “here kitty, kitty” the student in the circle needs to keep a straight face.  if they laugh, the two trade places.  this game can get you laughing pretty hard.

1,2,3 up-students stand in a circle and look down at their feet.  they count out loud, 1,2,3 and then look up.  if they are looking at someone and that person is looking back at them, they are out and sit down.   if they are looking at someone and that person is looking at someone else, they are safe.  as long as you don’t make eye contact with someone you are safe.  you usually have to remind the kids of integrity and being honest.  if you are looking at someone and they are looking back you sit down. 😉   then everyone looks down at their feet again and you count to 3 then look up.  play continues until you are down to the last 3 people.  this is also a fun game to pick up the pace on.

last word-students pair up.  on “go” give them a subject and they just go back and forth for 30seconds.  when time is up you see who got the last word in.  example:  fast food restaurants….go!   they just go back and forth naming fast food restaurants.  you can’t repeat the same ones.  you just keep going until you hit 30seconds.   you can choose to stay with the same teams and do the best out of 3 games with 3 different subjects or you can have them switch pairs each time to mix things up.  your ‘subjects’ can be anything you want:   disney movies, characters, tv shows, girls names, teachers names, cartoons, song titles, bands, etc.

fruit bastket upset-this is a great game to use at any grade level or match to any theme.  kids sit in a circle on chairs facing in, minus one chair.  the child who is without a chair is ‘it’.   to make the game easy to explain i always make 4 or 5 different pictures to separate the kids.   halloween example: i would go buy stickers or print out small picts and tape them onto the kids shirts of a mummy, werewolf, dracula, ghost and witch. i stack them so there is one of each on top of each other in a pile.  then i just walk around the circle and the students can take the top sticker and put it on.  now you should have close to an even number of kids that are ‘werewolves’, ‘vampires’, ‘witches’, etc.  (if the kids take a sticker and want to trade with the person next to them that’s fine. you just need to have as close to the same amount of each character as possible)

for other holiday you could do colored stickers, or picts of items that match your theme.  spring i do colored plastic eggs.  cinco de mayo i just do colored circle stickers, holiday i do stocking, present, candy cane……you get the idea.      then i tape one of each of the items on the floor in the center of the circle.  you have to do this so the’it’ has something to choose from, otherwise they end up picking the same item over and over again because they forget the other ones.     to start the game ‘it’ stands in the middle and calls one of the items.  if it was dracula, then all the kids that have the dracula sticker have to quickly move to another seat while ‘it’ tries to steal one of their seats.  whoever is left in the middle is now ‘it’ and gets to pick the next item.    to really MIX things up have a word that they say where everyone is required to get up and move!  halloween i have them say: trick or treat!    holiday: ho, ho, ho    cinco de mayo:  ole!………once again you get the idea.

this game you’ll find a lot of kids that SEE an open seat but avoid it and look frantic because they WANT to be IT.  so you’ll have two kids standing in the middle looking crazy when there is a seat wide open.  to avoid this i tell the kids we want to see who can AVOID being in the middle the entire game.  i have a prize for anyone who can do it.   (i end up giving a prize to everyone because it’s fun, but this helps the game going at a better pace)    also tell ‘it’ they only have 5seconds to choose.  sometimes kids will stare at their 5 options and not know what to say.

bumpety bump, bump, bump-this game rocks!!!! (or should i say bumps!)  this is best for 4th grade and up.   let’s say you have 24 kids.  you would have 4 teams of 6.  this game requires even teams so moms or teacher may need to join in the fun.   to explain this game it’s best to ‘draw’ it out.  first draw a square on a piece of paper.  on each side of the square you would line up 6 chairs all facing inward and centered in the middle of the line so you have a bit of room in each corner of the square.   draw a circle in the middle of the square, this is where one chair will go.   when sitting in the ‘team’ chairs the chair to the far left of each team is the ‘captain’ chair.  so you should have 4 captains. one on each team at the far left.   the captains need to like chocolate…..a lot!    each team captain holds a squishy ball.  on go all the team captains jump up and run towards the chair in the middle, around the chair and to the other end of their ‘team’ of chairs.  (the opposite end where they were sitting)  if you draw it on the paper it should be a triangle from the captain chair to the last one on the team.   while the captain is ‘running’ the entire team scoots or BUMPS down one seat so the last seat is open for the captain to sit down.  hence the bumpety, bump, bump, bump comes in.  as soon as the captain is sittin in the chair he can pass the ball to the person next to him and they pass it down the entire team with each person holding the ball.  you can’t toss the ball to the new captain chair or skip people along the way.  each team member must pass the ball past them to the next person.  when it gets to the person who is now sitting in the captain chair on the end they jump up and run around the chair in the middle to the seat on the end, making sure the team all bumps down one seat to leave the end open for him.  he then passes the ball and the game continues.  the goal is to get your team ‘captain’ back to his chair the fastest.  once the captain is back to his chair he grabs the hershey’s chocolate bar under his chair and has to eat the entire thing!  you see which team can complete this first.  if you wanted you could have a little treat under everyone’s chair and see which team can finish all their treats!  this game is my favorite because it’s loud, crazy fun!

i sit-this game is better 4th grade and up (maybe 3rd)   the kids just need to learn the following lines:   i sit…….in the grass…….with my friend (name a friend)……..the entire class sits on chairs in a circle with one extra chair that is empty.   the person that has the empty chair to their left starts the game by jumping into the seat and saying “i sit”  leaving their seat open for the person next to them to scoot over into their chair and say “in the grass” and finally the person sitting next to the open chair scoots over one chair and says “with my friend…..and names someone in the class.”    the person who’s name is called jumps up and runs over to the empty seat and sits down.  now the person who has the new empty seat to their left scoots over to it and says “i sit” the next person that has the empty chair to their left scoots and says “in the grass” the third person scoots into the empty chair and says “with my friend…..say a name”  that person runs over and sits down.  game continues until you get used to everyone knowing where to scoot, what to say and how to play.  when they get the hang of it, the competition comes in.   everything stays the same except……when the person who’s name is called gets up to run to the empty seat…….instead of the person to the left being the only one to scoot over to the empty seat, you now tell the students the person on either side of the empty chair can jump in the empty seat.  if the person on the rigth jumps in the empty chair and says, “i sit” the person that was next to them scoots over and continues the game, while the person who missed out scoot themselves and their chair out of the circle.  now you have your circle getting smaller each time you have someone get up and run when their name is called.  play continues until you get down to 4 kids. that’s as small as you can play.

four on a couch or row-This is the best game I have ever played. I love it. a bit difficult to explain and i’d only play 5th grade and up.  The explanation is very long and involved, but DEFINITELY worth it.  This is essentially a memory game. The object of this game is to get 4 members of your team on the designated “couch” (or just a section of 4 chairs). To start, have everyone sit down in a circle (incuding the 4 “couch” seats at the front of the room) alternating boy/girl/boy/girl. (usually i just use those color circle stickers and just have them be a blue or red team instead of boy girl. it’s rare you have them even.) This means that two of the 4 designated seats on the couch belong to your team and two belong to the other.  (so you have 2 red and 2 blue stickers on the 4 front chairs) Remember the objective is to get the other team out of those seats and your members on.  So, how do you do that? First, you write everyone’s name on a card and have everyone pull a name out of a hat. Everyone has a different name in their hand (it doesn’t matter if it is their own name). Once everyone is seated and has a name card you can start the game.  There should be one empty chair/place in the circle. Whoever is to the right of that empty place has the opportunity to ask someone to come sit next to him. The first couple people will just guess a name because they do not yet know who holds what name cards. Say the empty seat is next to you and you call the name Jeff… the person with the name Jeff on their card gets up… NOT the person whose name is actually Jeff. Once this “so-called Jeff” comes and sits next to you, you switch name papers. Now YOU have become Jeff and the person who sat next to you has the name you had (which only you know because no one has seen it but you).

Now everyone knows that You are Jeff. There is an empty space where the guy who just sat next to you used to sit. So the person to the right of the empty seat calls another name (Sarah). The person with that name on their card moves to that spot and switches cards with the caller. You now know that the caller’s name is Sarah. You just keep doing this until eventually you call the name (on the card) of someone on the couch and they have to vacate their coveted position.

If the person to the right of the empty spot is on the couch, they will want call someone from their team up to join them. (they will have had to remember from before).

People in the circle will want to remember the name of an opposing team member on the couch, so that in case an empty seat opens up next to them, they can call someone off the couch. A person on the couch will want to remember their own team members’ names so they can call someone on the couch.

Keep in mind however, that YOU may be called onto the couch and be required to remember your own team members’ names as well since it will be up to you to call team members onto the couch.

The only rule of the game is that you can’t call the same name twice in a row. Another note to remember if you are playing boy against girl is that it is the actual gender of the person HOLDING the card that counts, not the gender of the person whose name is on the card.   same as color.  Sarah may be called “Jeff” but she still counts for the girl’s team on the couch. when playing colors, you just want all your color in the 4 front chairs.

when playing this game in elementary school i don’t have the students trade the names when they get up and move.  i have them draw the different names to start the game, but then they keep that same name the entire time because it still requires everyone to remember who is what color and what name.

3 part charades-for 5th and 6th grade.  divide into two teams.   each person writes a name on a strip of paper and folds it up in the bowl.  the name can be someone in the class, from tv, movies, books, cartoons, history, etc.  you can write anyone from spongebob to caesar on the slip.  i’m assuming if the kids all write the names they will all know who the people are?   they don’t tell who they wrote, they just write the name and drop it in the bowl in the center of the room.   divide the kids into two teams. round 1–starting with team A they have one person at a time run to the bowl, and by doing actions, rhyming words, descriptive words, etc they try to get their team to guess this person.  they can do everything but say the actual name of the person.  once the team guesses the name, they have another person run up and pull a name out.  team A continues guessing names until 1minute is up.  they leave the names they guessed just to the side of the bowl.  now team B does the same thing for 1min. pulling names out of the bowl and having their team guess each name.

you go back and forth with each team taking turns for 1min. until you’ve gone through all the names.  if a team runs out of names before the 1min is up they can grab a paper from the side of the bowl and see if their team can guess it.   round 2–once all the names have been guessed and both teams had equal turns, you put all the names back in the bowl and play the exact same way going back and forth……….except this time the teams can’t say anything!  you can only do actions this round, no talking.   round 3–you put all the names back in the bowl.  seeing as you’ve already guessed the names twice the third round you don’t get to do any actions.  you only get to say one word.  that’s it!  you pull a name from the bowl and you get to say ONE WORD!  if your team doesn’t guess what you are saying it’s tough because you only can say the same one word over and over again.  you may raise or lower your voice, but you have to say only that word.

play bounces back and forth between each team for the minutes until you’ve pulled all the names from the bowl.  each time a team guesses a name right they get 1point. you keep p0ints through all three rounds.

halloween games : pumpkin bowling with plastic pumpkins.   stack the plastic pumpkin candy holders into a triangle then the kids roll a big ball to knock them over.  you don’t place them like normal bowling, you stack them up high 3,2,1.

scary sounds: go in before the day of the party and pull the kids out of the room one at a time. they get to record making any sound they want two times in a row.  (cackle, cackle, woof, woof, booooo, booooo etc)  write down the order of the names the kids record in.  at the party play back the kids and see if they can guess who is who.  for older kids you can record different sounds (shutting car door, creaking stair, phone ringing, etc)  they can see if they can guess the sounds

witches brew- die cut several different halloween themed items from cardstock. (lizard, frog, white circles for eyes, snakes, etc)  have two bowls or black cauldrons at the end of the table.  each time lines up down their side of the table with straws.  (each person has there own straw)   all the witches brew ‘ingredients’ are at one end of the table with the cauldron at the other.  first child puts their straw over the first paper ingredient and sucks up!  lifting the paper item off the desk and holds it up until it gets to the next person, then they drop it.   the next child does the same thing and they move the ingredients down the table by sukcing them up with a straw and lifting them to the next child. the last child on each team sucks up the items and drops them in the cauldron. you see which team can make their witches brew first!   the first child doesn’t have to wait until the first ingredient is in the cauldron, they can drop the first one and start on the next one immediately so the game moves fast.

candy corn chaos:  candy corn are cheap so i like to use them alot.  one game has a child with a bowl of candy corns and their partner has a plastic pumpkin.  as a team they toss and try to catch the candy corns in the pumpkin working together.  they see how many candy corns they can catch in a certain amount of time.  you can have them trade so they each get a turn to toss or catch.  obviously the further away they stand the harder the game.    second game idea:  kids use chop sticks to try and pick up as many candy corns as they can and put them in a bowl or pumpkin.  you could have several kids do this at once since most don’t know how to use chopsticks and need a few minutes to learn. then you can set a time to let them try to go fast.

awesome website where you can print really cool halloween puzzles, trivia and games for an entire class.  they cost a bit of money but are cheap if you print a lot.  maybe get together with another room mom and print some for several classes.     http://www.halloweengamesatoz.com/default.html

i think that’s enough for now.  watch for more game, craft and room mom ideas being posted soon!  GAME ON!!!!