Entries by Janice Friedman

6 Fun Cooperative Games for Kids

Through cooperative games kids learn to think and work with one another as they apply skills learned to accomplish the goals of their group or team. These games are always fun to develop and play and have the effect of bringing children together. While competitive games focus a lot on losing or winning, cooperative games are all about the success of the whole team.  They give all children involved a chance to be winners.

What’s in a Name?

(for kids in grades 1-3)

While kids at any age or grade can play the game, there’ll be variations. For kids in grade one through three this game is effective to help them bond together at the start of a new school year or term.  In this cooperative game the pupils are grouped in pairs or with partners where one has to talk about the surname or first name of their partner. It starts with one of the two in a pair telling the other what their name is and its meaning. After sharing names and meaning, the kids should be allowed to share a little more about their names. Kids should be encouraged to talk about their unique names, how they are spelled, whether they hold any special symbolism, why they were given the name, the meaning of the name in other cultures/languages and whom they were named after.

One individual should tell all this information in two minutes before allowing the other to do the same. They should be encouraged to pay as much attention as possible throughout the game. After the two have shared names, two pairs should be joined together to form a team of four kids; each partner in a pair has to introduce their partner to the other pair until everyone knows each other.  Kids should be encouraged to tell as much as possible about the name of their partner.

“MAX” – A CO-OPERATIVE GAME


Family Pastimes Max (Cooperative Board Game)

  • Players work together to get the creatures safely home before Max the cat gets them
  • Children learn to use logic, consultation and cooperative decision making in an exciting way
  • For 1 to 8 players ages 4 through 7 years

A cooperative game available for sale, it’s great for kids 4-7 years of age and accommodates 1-8 players. The kids have to learn to work as a team to ensure the creatures have arrived home safely before they are attacked by Max the ferocious cat. The game calls upon the mind of the kids to make cooperative decisions, consult and use logic in the most exciting ways. It’s made using child safe paints, water-based glues, soy-based inks, recycled papers and boards.

Capture the Flag

Among elementary kids Capture the Flag is one of the most popular games. In this game the idea is to have players from one side making way into the territory of the opposing team to take their flag and make way back to their own space without being tagged in the process. Pylons and a flag are required materials and best played outdoors. It can be played for 10 to 15 minutes every time or until a given team/group has accomplished a specific score. In the game the playground is divided into two with each team on either side. The kids need to create two teams, each team on their zone. Every team should have a flag, made from a light material such as fabric and easy to carry around by one kid. Each flag has to be placed at the back of the zone of every team where it’s visible to the opposing side. On a part of their zone each team should create a ‘jail’.  The game starts by having all kids lining up at the periphery of their area.

Once a whistle is blown they should go to the zone of their opposing side and try to take their flag while avoiding being tagged. Those tagged while in the opposing side’s zone are put in the jail and only get out if tagged by a teammate. If the flag is taken and ferried to the other zone next to the other team’s flag the team has either scored some points or won. However, the rule of the game is that while defending their flag a team cannot remain standing around to guard it. The defending team has to be a minimum of five meters from the flag at any time.

Race to the Treasure!


Peaceable Kingdom Race to the Treasure! Award Winning Beat the Ogre…

  • WE WIN TOGETHER: Build a path with your team and collect 3 keys on a race to beat ogre to the treasure! It’s a game…
  • FUN CHALLENGE: Kids love working together to beat the ogre. Players strategize, cooperate & build the path together….
  • BENEFITS:Cooperative games cultivate emotional development, shared decision making, positive self esteem, creative…

This award winner is a cooperative game for 2-4 children from five years old and above. It offers a chance for kids to lean the art of strategy, grid mathematical concepts and critical social development tenets and skills with zero reading needed.  The game involves players working as a team to reach the treasure before the ogre by developing a path from the beginning right to the end.   If the kids are successful the victory is celebrated as a team.  The game has a Play Advances Learning approval seal and won the Oppenheim Portfolio Toy Platinum award.

15 Seconds

One of the most entertaining and fun way of letting kids know about one another, this cooperative game helps everyone to learn how to think fast on their feet. You only need a list with specific questions and a timer. Essentially, every kid should sit down, forming a circle. A question is picked and every person has to answer it within 15 seconds. Everyone has to be silent and if a kid answers early the person manning the timer should read out the remaining seconds.

The questions can be favorite food, favorite movies, favorite pet animal, what you do every Sunday or Saturday morning, and favorite color among others. In case you’re handling a huge group, break the kids into groups of six. You can also have a long list of questions and have one person answering their own unique question. Make the game fun by asking the kid who has just spoken to choose the next person and the question they’re to answer.

A hundred thousand men, coming one after another, cannot move a Ton weight; but the united strength of 50 would transport it with ease.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

US President

Human Knot Game

To play this game, divide players into teams, and have each team form a circle. Instruct players to hold hands with two different players, making sure that no one’s hands are joined with their closest neighbors’. Once this is done, start the game to signal that it’s time for the “knot” to begin unraveling. All hands must remain joined until the team is standing in a circle, or in two intertwined circles (Life a figure eight). Here is a link to some step by step instructions on how to set up the game.

Human Knot Game

Human Knot Game

8 Family Picnic Ideas

 

You want your family to go on a picnic together.  The weather is lovely, there is nothing on the TV and you have managed to drag the kids off the computer games.  How can you make sure your picnic is memorable?

Here are some ideas:

 

Have a picnic in your back garden.  

There is no need to travel.  Just throw down a blanket and decorate with balloons and throw around some cushions.  This is quick and a clever way to grab an hour or two with your kids.

Ban all devices and just sit and talk as a family for a short amount of time.

 

Have your picnic on a boat.  

Take a boat to the middle of a river or lake and eat as a family as you bob about on the current. There is nothing more calming than being in the middle of a body of water.  Also, Dad will become an expert in currents and how to get the most out of the boat – which can be funny to watch.

 

Encourage the Kids to Organize the Food!

Give them the freedom of the kitchen and the picnic basket.  Leave when they tell you they are happy with what they have made for you all to eat… potentially a disaster… always interesting.  I would suggest this might not be the option if you are trying to control the calories.  There is likely to be a strong emphasis on cake, chocolate and crisps… but you know you have taken this option because you want to have a day of eating this stuff too.

 

Colorful Jars of Food.

Cut up different fruit and vegetables as brightly colored as you can and fill up jars with a good variety.  These jars look awesome and are excellent to dip into as you are eating the picnic.  It really is an interesting way of getting kids to eat healthier and it keeps the food fresh and easily protected from the wildlife.

 

Make a Campfire.

Make yourself a camp fire… even though you are not camping you still want to roast marshmallows and bake potatoes at the base of the fire.  It also lovely to sit and watch as the light dims.  It will keep people out talking late into the night.  Make sure you dig a pit to build the fire it and ensure that it is completely doused with water before you leave.

 

The Snack that Smiles Back!

Give all your picnic foods faces… when you are making your sandwiches and cakes use salad and fruit to give all the food eyes, a nose and a mouth.  You could make it a competition to see who can make the funniest of faces and maybe give food names… it gets a bit brutal when you start chomping down.

 

Hide Mini Treasures

Hide mini treasure in amongst the food so that people find surprises as they eat.  I wouldn’t put these things in the food, otherwise the dentist will be busy, but in the packets.  People will have moments of excitement or feel special, even if it is just a little love note.

 

Sit and Talk

Just sit and talk and eat slowly.  This shouldn’t be unique… but in today’s world eating slowly and gently chatting is as rare as it comes.  Sit quietly and enjoy each other’s company.

 

Dinner and a movie, forget that, I'd rather have a picnic and a waterfall

Amanda Grace

Swimming Workouts for Beginners

 

Swimming is a fantastic way to get fit!  It is a physical activity that works every muscle group in the body, improving both strength and endurance.  Swimming is also a low impact activity.  If you have weak knees or ankles, you will find swimming much better than other workouts like running.   

 
Other benefits of swimming include:
  •  

    It’s a great stress reliever and a very relaxing way to exercise

  •  

    Swimming will greatly improve your cardiovascular fitness

  •  

    It burns a lot of calories!

  •  

    Your muscles will become toned and your posture will improve

  •  

    It can improve your balance and coordination

  •  

    Swimming is a fantastic way to exercise in summer when it can be too hot to work out in other ways

  •  

    Because swimming is low impact, it is ideal for people with injuries

To help you get started, this article will share some fantastic swimming workouts for beginners!

 

Some General Tips Before Starting

 

Before you “dive in” here are some general tips for beginners.

 
  •  

    Make sure you have a basic level of swimming before attempting a workout.

  •  

    Swim in a safe environment like a swimming pool.  Only swim in the ocean if you are an experienced and fit swimmer.

  •  

    Don’t overdo it early on.  Swimming takes a lot of effort, particularly if you are not used to it.

  •  

    Warm up before entering the water

  •  

    Remember to stay hydrated by drinking water

 

Short Freestyle Distance Intervals

 
 

This basic workout involves swimming freestyle for short distances with breaks. Start out by swimming 25 yards at a time, with a rest period of 30 seconds between each lap.  Beginners should swim at a slow to medium pace initially.

You may benefit from using breaths instead of counting seconds.  Perform a lap, then count to 20 breaths before starting the next lap.  This will also encourage you to really use your entire lung capacity while taking your interval break.

Depending on your initial level of fitness, swim between 10 to 15 minutes when first performing freestyle intervals.  Once you are comfortable swimming 25 yards, extend the length of your interval to 50 or 75 yards and extend the time you spend swimming.  Record your personal best distances and speeds!

 

Using a KickBoard

 
 

If you are not confident enough to swim 25-yard intervals, there are a number of workouts you can perform with a kickboard and flippers.  These workouts will help you practice kicking, putting your face underwater, and breathing correctly.

Perform your stretches to start, then swim 25 yards on your side.  Hold onto the kick-board with a straight arm and rest your head on that arm.  The other arm should be straight down your side.  Have a rest, then perform another 25 yards on your other side.

Then, perform 50 yards holding onto the kickboard with both hands and looking into the water.  Turn your head to breathe, using both sides.  This exercise will get you used to kicking and breathing alternately.

Need a kickboard?  Check out the Swimming Kickboard by TYR and this Kickboard Set from TYR.

 

Endurance Swimming

 
 

Once you have started to perform intervals well, you can begin to swim longer distances.  Endurance swimming will help improve your muscle tone and stamina.

Start by performing a few warm up stretches.  Jump into the pool and swim 250 yards at a slow pace.  Take your time and concentrate on your form.  Take a 20 seconds (or 20 breaths) break.  Then swim for another 150 yards and take another 20-second break.  Finally, swim for another 50 yards.

If these distances are too long or too short, alter them to a comfortable distance.  Eventually work your way up to 500 yards or longer.  Always keep a steady pace and think about your technique — it is not about speed, it’s about how long you can swim.

 

BREASTSTROKE and Freestyle Medley

 
 

By combining these two strokes, you can give yourself a more thorough, full-body workout.  Freestyle will really push your shoulders, while breaststroke will emphasize your chest muscles.

 
  1. 1

    Start with 50 yards of freestyle at a slow pace to prepare your body.

  2. 2

    Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of stroke it takes you to perform each interval.  Aim to have the same amount of strokes per interval.  Afterwards, have a break of 30 seconds if you need it.

  3. 3

    Perform 4 x 50 yard intervals of breast stroke with 30 second breaks

  4. 4

    Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of strokes

  5. 5

    Perform 50 yards of breast stroke at a slow pace

It is a hefty beginners workout that will address many muscle groups.

 

Work on Your Speed!

 

Once you have achieved a basic level of fitness in the pool, you might be interested in seeing how fast you can go!  You can perform this workout using any type of swimming stroke.

 
  1. 1

    Perform your stretches and swim 50 yards at a slow pace

  2. 2

    Swim 2 sets of 25 yards at a medium-fast pace to get your body ready

  3. 3

    Swim 6 x 25 yards at fast pace.  In between each 25 yards, take a full 60-120 seconds to recuperate.  Count your strokes per lap and check your times!

  4. 4

    Swim 4 x 25 yards to cool down

 

Working on Your Form

 

Maintaining correct form while swimming is crucial.  Proper form will ensure you are using the right parts of your body while swimming and maintaining maximum efficiency.  This workout is for freestyle and uses a pull buoy — a floatation device that swimmers place between their legs to give them additional buoyancy.  The pull buoy allows you to swim without kicking your legs and helps you to concentrate on your arms.

 
  1. 1

    Perform your stretches and swim 2 x 25 yards to warm up

  2. 2

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum.  Keep your left arm straight in front of your body.  Concentrate on your shoulder rotation, pitch of your arm and the shape of your hand.

  3. 3

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards using both arms.  Concentrate on the position of your body in the water.

  4. 4

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum

  5. 5

    Using a kickboard, swim 2 x 25 yards kicking only

  6. 6

    Swim 2 x 25 yards as a cool down

Swimming is a fantastic way to stay fit.  Regularity is the key — if you have 4 to 5 workouts per week you will be amazed by the changes that happen to your body!

 

Pollyanna Gift Exchange Ideas

Gift exchange games are a popular pastime at many holiday gatherings. Games like Dirty Santa, White Elephant, Pollyanna and Secret Santa can be a fun, easy and affordable way for large groups of people to participate in holiday gift giving traditions. These games are great for office parties, club meet ups and other larger holiday […]

21 Best Yankee Swap Gifts to Consider this Year

Today, we will discuss some of the best Yankee swap gifts to consider this year. Offering gifts is just as satisfying for the giver as it is for the receiver, so you should put some thought into them.  A great Yankee Swap gift may come in the form of food, games, storage, knicknacks, or something […]

How to Play Fishbowl Game: Rules, Regulations, and Tips

The Fishbowl Game is a fun-filled memory game that combines Charades, Password, and Taboo. It is easy to learn and perfect for large groups, which means children and adults can play it together during family get-togethers, school classroom activities, and team-building exercises

To set up the game, players split into two teams, take three strips of paper each, fill their paper with a word (cheeseburger, Shakespeare, blanket, etc), and place their filled-in paper into the fishbowl. Once all the papers are in, teams take turns in one-minute intervals trying to guess which words are written. There are four possible ways to play the game – each way changing how descriptive participants can be when trying to get their team to guess their word. 

Today, we will learn how to play the Fishbowl Game, focusing on its rules, regulations, and instructions. We will also insert some tips throughout this guideline.

The Fishbowl Game’s Competitive Spirit

The first thing to learn regarding how to play the Fishbowl Game is its core component: competition. The teams race against each other to offer correct answers and score as many points as possible. It is an amazing game to play indoors with the kids during the lockdown and one of the funniest challenges to organize with your teens and their friends during a summer day in the backyard.

How Many People do You Need to Play the Fishbowl Game?

The Fishbowl Game is a party game for large groups. It works well for a wide bunch of friends spending an afternoon together, as a newlywed after-party game with a host of guests, a bridal shower game for large groups, or a crowd game for kids and teens on camp, and so on.

In other words, you can play the game in six or eight people, but it is best to think about it in terms of ten to twenty participants. It keeps things more interesting and more entertaining. Since the main purpose of the game is people giving their best shot at describing things, playing out a word, or engage in other spectacular manners of conveying a meaning, the more the merrier.

How to Play the Fishbowl Game: Rules and Regulations

You will need a few objects to play The Fishbowl Game, so start by gathering them in one place.

Gather the following materials:

  • 3-4 Pens
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  •   A container to hold the paper (a fishbowl is ideal!)
  •   A timer

Cut the paper into small strips that are big enough for players to write a couple of words on.  Each player will require three strips of paper.

How to Play the Fishbowl Game

Step 1: Populate the fishbowl

Start by separating everyone into two equal teams. Now that you have Team A and Team B, each player in each team will then take three strips of paper and write a word or familiar phrase on each piece.  Players will have to guess the words or phrases later on, so they shouldn’t be too obscure.  Each player then folds their pieces of paper in half and places them into the fishbowl.  After all of the pieces of paper are in the fishbowl, someone has to shake the bowl to mix them up. For this reason, you might find the game also called “Salad Bowl.”

Choosing the words may be a little challenging – don’t forget you will have to say everything about those objects/concepts but their name. Also, at some point during the Fishbowl Game, you might end up acting upon them, play mime with them. So go beyond the animal charades you play with the kids and give your friends (or yourself) a good run for their money. In between words like a dictator, propeller, psychedelic, or tourniquet, you can throw in some nicer, easier words, like: giggle, fishbowl, or spoon.

Step 2: Play the “Taboo” round

The taboo round is first up.  The goal of this round is to guess as many words or phrases as possible within 1 minute.

The round progresses like this:

  •   The starting team selects a player to go first.
  •   That player will grab a piece of paper from the fishbowl and reads it.  The 1-minute timer will start as soon as they pick a piece of paper from the fishbowl.
  •   The player will then use words to get their teammates to guess the word or phrase that is on the paper.  They cannot use any hand gestures — only words.  They can’t say any of the words that are on the paper, as they are the “taboo” words.  For example, if the word is “Cheeseburger” they might say “You eat this at McDonald’s”
  •   If the player thinks the word or phrase is too hard, they can “pass” and put the paper back into the fishbowl.  However, players can only do this once per round.
  •   If the team successfully guesses the word, they get to keep the piece of paper.
  •   After 1 minute has elapsed, the other team gets their turn.  They also have 1-minute to guess as many words as possible.

Each team continues to take 1-minute turns until all of the pieces of paper have been removed from the fishbowl.  When the fishbowl is empty, each team counts the pieces of paper they have gathered.  Each piece contributes 1 point to their score.  After tallying each team’s score, fill the fishbowl with the pieces of paper and move onto the next round!

Step 3: Play the “password” round

The next round in the Fishbowl Game is played in a similar fashion, with each team having 1-minute to guess as many words or phrases as possible.  The team that went second last time will get to go first for this round.

The main difference is that the player reading the paper can only use one word to describe the word or phrase.  So, if the word is “Cheeseburger” this time they may use a single word like “McDonalds” to describe it.  The team needs to remember the words that were mentioned in the first round and use the “password” as a hint.  The teams continue to alternate with 1-minute rounds each, then the pieces of paper are tallied and placed back into the fishbowl. The game of Taboo is easy and it makes an excellent indoor party game for kids and adults alike. While you need to keep it PG 12 for the children, if you play with your group of friends, you can take things up a notch just for the fun of it.

Step 4: Play the “Charades” round

The next round plays out in the same way, with each team taking their one-minute turns.  The main difference here is that player with the paper cannot speak.  They must use physical gestures to communicate the word on the paper.  For “Cheeseburger” they might pretend to be holding and eating a cheeseburger.  Have some fun with words describing fewer objects and more concepts, states, traits, and so on. Playing mime for the word psychedelic can take even a half an hour if the “mime” doesn’t convey the message as he/she should and the crowd has no idea of what the word or the gesturing mean. True story.

At the end of the round, the scores are tallied up once more.  The team that has the most points from all three rounds is declared the winner!

Step 5: Bonus round

Why let the fun end there?  If you want to take The Fishbowl Game to the next level, play the spooky version!  Get a bedsheet from the cupboard and drape it over the player who is reading the pieces of paper.  The team will then have to guess the word while the player makes movements beneath the sheet!  It is very challenging and a ton of fun. Adding a bit of horror genre vibe to a party game makes the Fishbowl Game one of the best choices you have when you want to organize some campfire games for adults. When it comes to kids, keeping things as less scary as possible may be the best idea.

Fishbowl Game Question Ideas

To spice things up, you can use questions instead of phrases during the first guessing round. It’s a far more challenging endeavor than merely explaining what the word is.

Think of it the same way you’d think about Jeopardy, except in reverse. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • In what country are April Fool’s jokes climaxed with the saying “Doroughe sizdah”?
  • The concept of promoting and measuring an entire locality’s happiness level is known as what?
  • Which element, previously used in the production of felt, lead to the expression “mad as a hatter”?
  • Donuts are traditionally sold in boxes containing how many pieces?
  • Why did the production team decide to fine anyone who showed up late in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”?
  • Which Country won the 2015 Davis Cup?
  • What U.S. state is known as the “Land of Enchantment”?
  • Which labor standard were the striking workers out to achieve which eventually led to the Haymarket Affair?
  • After his crucifixion, who takes down the body of Jesus Christ off the cross of Calvary?
  • The Dingo is a free range dog found mainly in which country?
  • Who trains Luke Skywalker to fight against the Galactic Empire?
  • The vernal equinox signifies the advent of which season in the Northern Hemisphere?
  • What substance is Han Solo frozen in during “the Empire Strikes Back”?
  • The first male African-American tennis player to win the U.S Open and the Wimbledon tournaments was?
  • What ingredient in bread causes it to rise?
  • “Life is Beautiful” has been named one of the top-five favorite films of which prominent figure?
  • In 2007, a major-motion picture based on which television show was released?
  • Screenwriter Luc Besson and actor Jean Reno worked on another assassin movie before “Leon”. What is its name?
  • What cartoon character is popular in Sweden during Christmas?

Play the Fishbowl Game: Bottom Line

The Fishbowl game is easy to set up and enjoy with a large number of people. The more participants you have, the more and better the words will be. This game taps into peoples’ imagination (and vocabulary), leading to some hilarious moments. The fact that this game mixes two of the best and most popular party games of all times – Taboo and Charades – means that you can come up with plenty of Fishbowl Game Ideas of your own. Play as many bonus rounds you can concoct, keep the score, invent new challenges, and have tons of fun.

You don’t have to wait for a rainy day to play this game inside the house, either. If you have a backyard, the world is your oyster! Or fishbowl!

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide on How to Play the Fishbowl Game.  For more fun games, subscribe to the blog or follow us on social media!

Featured Image via Flickr


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