Directions games

All the following games and activities for kindergarten, preschool and ESL students have been tried and tested in classrooms by The Magic Crayons, who are experienced teaching professionals currently working in Japan and China.

1. Edgepig

Materials: Flash Cards
Time: 4-5 minutes
Receptive Language: up, down, left, right
Productive Language: up, down, left, right, flashcard vocab
Game Explanation: Students sit in a circle. Hold up a stack of cards, with the topmost card turned over. Demonstrate to the students that you will slowly move the topmost card up, down, left & right (while simultaneously calling out the direction) until a student identifies the card underneath. Once they’re familiar with the directions, get the students - possibly in competing teams or pairs - to call out the directions the card should move in.
Note: This is a slightly more complex version of SLOW REVEAL which consists of very slowly - & very dramatically - revealing a card while the students attempt to name it. An alternate variation is to flash a card as quickly as you can & either have the students attempt to identify it or else answer a yes-or-no question about the card by running to either the Yes or the No side of the classroom (QUICK GLIMPSE).

2. Squirt

Materials: waterguns, blindfolds
Time: 10 minutes
Receptive Language: instructions, directions
Productive Language: forward, back, left, right, stop, etc

Game Explanation: Take the students outside & divide them into teams. Each team is assigned a watergun & the waterguns are scattered around the playing area. One student from each team is blindfolded & brought to the middle of the playing area (try & make sure that the waterguns are all equally equidistant from this beginning point).

On your command, each team begins yelling directions (in English) to their blindfolded teammate in an attempt to get him or her to the team’s assigned watergun first/ The first student to find his team’s watergun can take off his blindfold & squirt (or ‘kill’) the other blindfolded students. Repeat until all of the students have had a chance to hunt, blindly & awkwardly, for their team’s plastic & water-shooting replica of a death-dealing machine.

Note: Check with your kindergarten before you play this game with your students, & if you’re unsure about your Japanese someone at the office will be glad to contact the kindergarten on your behalf.

3. Blind Leading The Blind

Materials: blindfold
Time: 6-8 minutes
Receptive Language: instructions, stop, go, right, left, turn around, back up
Productive Language: stop, go, left, right, turn around, back up
Game Explanation: Review (or introduce) stop, go, left, right, turn around, back up. Using chairs, tables & anything else you can find in the classroom, create an obstacle course. Blindfold a student. He must make his way from one side of the classroom to the other by listening to & obeying the shouted directions of his classmates. If he crashes into any of the obstacles, blindfold the nest student & try again.
Note: This game can also be played in teams.