Repurposing Fun Games
Are your kiddos getting bored with their games and activities? Are you looking for fresh ways to use the games you already have but with a different focus? Why not do what we do? We are always looking for ways to repurpose fun, silly games into engaging, active learning opportunities for young children. What’s in Ned’s Head game is a perfect example of one such transformation. Ned is a goofy-looking giant head that we repurposed into a silly move to learn game.
Learning Objectives and Modifications
Since we focus on engaging the whole child during active learning, our learning objectives with Ned include:
- increasing language development in preschoolers
- improving gross motor skills such as galloping, hopping, and marching
- following directions & turn-talking
- enhancing memory skills
The original rules of the game are easily modifiable. Speech and language pathologist use Ned in different ways to work on speech and language skills.
What You Need
Before playing the game, select small toys and items that could represent active learning skills. Use your imagination! Get creative! For example, a plush horse for galloping, a small plastic bird for flying, a rubber fish for swimming, a toy elephant for elephant stomping, and a rubber duck for duck walking. Not familiar with elephant stomp or duck walk? They are two of the 26 movement activities featured in the ABC’s of Movement® cards also available to download online as a pdf.
Next, place enough silly items in Ned’s Head for each child to have a turn. This can be designed as a large group active learning lesson, used at home with your children, or during virtual instruction.
How To Play
To play the game, instruct children to take turns reaching into either Ned’s mouth or his ear to pull out one item, identify the item, and then lead their friends in the movement. If used as a virtual kinesthetic learning activity, you could pick the item from his mouth or his ear as directed by the children.
To enrich language development in preschoolers, ask children to describe the item (color, what it does, where it lives, or what it eats). For example, “I pulled out a horse. It is brown, lives in a barn, eats hay, and gallops”. This is called authentic learning when children are given a chance to directly apply their knowledge or skills to a topic or item.
After the item is selected and the movement completed, instruct children to set each item aside for later. Once every child has taken a turn, challenge their memory skills by asking them to put the item they pulled out of Ned’s Head, back in. Younger children often need some assistance with this. Why not turn it into a group cooperative learning opportunity?
Spice Up Your Lessons!
Recently I introduced Ned to a group of preschoolers during a virtual zoom lesson and they loved him! I was very animated and acted shocked each time I pulled out another outrageous object from Ned’s Head!
As a pediatric physical therapist, I have a knack for turning ordinary items into FUN, therapeutic tools. I love sharing my ideas and educating others on movement enhanced learning. For more activities and ideas check out Feed the Hungry Puppy or 10 Ways to Teach the Alphabet that Incorporate Movement.
In early childhood education, sometimes all you need is a wacky, silly, plush, giant head to spice up your in person or distance learning lesson.