Activity 1: Animal Charades
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Optional: A hat or bag containing scraps of paper marked with each child's name
Preparation for Activity
- Decide how you will determine whose turn it is to perform a charade. You may wish to write all the children's names on scraps of paper and place them in a hat or a bag before the session begins.
- Decide how participants will guess what animal is being portrayed. Shouting out their guesses may work fine in a small group, but raising their hands might work better if the group is large.
- Be ready to whisper suggestions to children who need help thinking of an animal they can demonstrate physically, without making a sound. Animals known for specific behaviors or movements work best, such as a cat washing its paws or a slithering snake. Other animals to suggest include a frog, a kangaroo, a dog, a bird, a penguin, a chicken, a horse, a fish, a turtle, or a butterfly.
Description of Activity
Tell the group it is time to play a game. Say, in your own words:
We can play some games alone, but sometimes it's fun to play games with a group of people.
Ask the children, "Who has ever played Charades or Animal Charades?" Explain that Charades is a guessing game. Give these instructions, in your own words:
One person will act out an animal and everyone else will try and guess what animal they are acting out.
When you are acting out an animal, you cannot say the name of the animal, you cannot make a noise like the animal, and you cannot use words to talk about the animal or give clues.
Note: You can make the game easier by allowing children to make animal sounds. Younger children may need the sounds to identify one another's animals.
When you are ready to begin, challenge participants to play without further talking or questions.
Some children may get excited by the competition or become disappointed when their animal is quickly and easily identified. If a child shows signs of disappointment, praise him/her for acting out the animal so well that is was easy to guess. Remind the group that the purpose of the game is to guess the animals as quickly as possible.
Make sure every child who wants a turn gets one. If a child says he/she does not want a turn, ask if they need help picking an animal. If the child still does not want a turn, remind him/her to ask for a turn later if they change their mind.
If a child picks an animal that is very hard to guess (such as a lion), you may allow the guessers to ask "yes/no" questions to help them identify the animal. Once participants have guessed it, mention that some animals are easier to guess than others because this is a game about how the animals move. Many animals are noteworthy for their special sounds, such as the oink of a pig or the roar of a lion, or for something they do only once in a while, such as a hen laying an egg. Animals, like people, are gifted in different ways.
At the end of the activity, ask the children if they enjoy playing games together. Acknowledge that sometimes we like to play alone, but playing together with a group of people can be fun and can make you feel closer to them.
If you are about to present Activity 2: Story - Hare's Gifts, you can let the group know that next you will tell a story about doing fun things together as a group. The characters in the story are animals, but they talk and act like people, which is common in a fable, which is a type of story.
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