The Fun and Fast-Pace Review Game You'll Students Will BEG to Play: SPOONS

If you've been reading the CGN blog long, you probably already know that I teach Sunday School at my church to a group of very active, mostly boys, class.  If the activities we do don't involve competition and/or action, forget it.  They won't be interested.

For that reason, I am always looking for cheap (or FREE) ways to keep the learning active, and most importantly >>> FUN! And, if I can find a review game format I can use over and over again. BOOM.  Game over - I hit the jack pot!

Well, I just might have found it, friends.  If you walked into my classroom last Sunday, you might not know what to think, but I promise you they were learning, engaged, and having SO. MUCH. FUN!

So what game were they playing?  SPOONS!  I mean, it really doesn't get any simpler.  Gather some plastic spoons and you're set.  Well, there might be one or two other steps, but I promise, you won't break a sweat (or the bank!)

Here's how to play:
There are many different versions of the game, SPOONS, but this how we played:

// Choose a skill that you want your students to practice.  Specifically you want it to be a skill that requires students to collect a set of ideas or numbers, or make a match of some sort.

  • Maybe you're students are practicing sight words.  You will want to choose several different sight words and create playing cards with those sight words on them, having the same word repeated 3 times throughout the cards set.  (For example, 3 cards with the word the, 3 cards with the word same, 3 cards with the word should...etc...  The more students playing in a group, the more cards you will need)
  • Maybe you're practicing synonyms.  In this case you will want to make a set of cards that have cards with groups of 3 synonyms written on them.  (For example you might have three different cards; one with huge, one with gigantic, and a third with large on it - all synonyms.  You would create several matches similar to that)
In my case, we were reviewing a Bible story and I chose several different images that represented the main concepts of the story.  I made several cards showing the same image.  Here's an example of some of the cards I created.

You don't have to give each card a point value, I just did because it create a little more competition fun :)  At the end of each round, I had students all up all the point of the cards in their hard.  They kept track throughout the whole game.

// Next, after you choose your skill and create your cards you're ready to get started!  You'll want to divide your students into small groups.  I suggest no more than 6 students in a group, or it gets extra crazy!  You'll need to provide each group with a set of game cards and spoons.  You'll need one less spoon for the number of players.  So, if you have 6 players in a group, you will give that group 5 spoons.

// To play, each student is dealt 4 cards.  The remaining cards are placed in a pile face down next to the dealer.  Player only need to get a match of 3, but they will have 4 cards in their hard.

  • Arrange the spoons in a small circle in the center of the table (shown below on left).  Players sit in a circle around the spoons so that all players have equal access.
  • Each playing is trying to get 3 cards that match (3 matching sight words, 3 cards with synonyms, 3 identical pictures..etc.)
  • The dealer takes the top card off of the deck and places it in his/her hand and discards a card in his/her hand to the left.  At the same time the dealer is discarding his/her card, the other players are choosing a card to discard.  The card the player chooses should be a card that he/she doesn't need to help them create a set of 3.
  • Players always take the card from the person on their right, and discards a card to the person on their left.  This continues until someone has a set of 3.  
  • The person sitting to the right of the dealer places all their cards in the "trash pile."  Once the dealer it out of cards to pass, he/she just begins taking from the trash pile to keep the game going.
  • Here's the fun part:  When a player has a set of 3, he or she races to grab a spoon.  When all other players see this, they also make a mad dash to grab the spoon.  The player left without a spoon is out.  (Of course, you don't have to eliminate players if you don't want.  Players can get back in each round, if desired.  However, if you do eliminate players, than you will want to remove a spoon each round to reflect the number of players). 
  • Since students are practicing a skill here, after each round, students should be checking the winner's cards to make sure that he/she has a match!

Are you a visual person?  Me too.  Here's a quick You Tube video I found so that you can see this game in action.  The video shows the traditional way to play the game, just using a standard deck of cards where players try to get 4 of a kind.

Oh man.  Get ready to hear you kiddos beg to play this game!  I'd love to hear how you could use this game in your classroom by responding in the comments below!