Balloons and Sharks

A very simple warm-up or review game for younger classes.

Before class, use your amazing artistic talents to draw a person (preferably a caricature of yourself) hanging from a bunch of balloons over the ocean, where a shark is waiting. Try to draw at least 4 balloons per student in the class, so everyone gets a turn.

A terrible drawing of me, hanging from my balloons over ocean, with a deadly shark waiting below.

A terrible drawing of me, hanging from my balloons over the ocean, with a deadly shark waiting below.

To play the game, each student gets a turn answering a question. After answering correctly, the student rolls a dice. The number on the dice indicates how many balloons the student can pop. The game ends when the teacher is in the ocean, or when every student has had a turn.

If you teach with a co-teacher in the classroom, this game is especially fun when you draw both teachers hanging from separate bunches of balloons. Each student gets to choose whose balloons to pop, giving plenty of opportunity for the teachers to ham it up and joke with the students, pleading for their lives, threatening extra homework if they’re the first teacher to get eaten, etc. If you’re artistic, it’s extra fun to change the cartoon’s facial expression as the bunch of balloons gets smaller!


Horse Race

Draw a racetrack on the board – it can look like a ruler or a circular track with a marked finish line. Make sure it’s long enough for each member of a team to get a turn – about three or four spaces per person per turn is a good bet.

A simple racetrack design

A simple racetrack design

You’ll need a magnet for each team to mark their horse’s place. I drew game pieces in the shapes of frogs, horses, rabbits, and race cars on construction paper and stuck magnets to the back of them, but regular magnets will do in a pinch.

For game play, the teacher calls on one student from each team to come to the front. The teacher asks a question, and the students answer it. After students answer the question, they roll a dice to see how many spaces their team’s horse can advance. (The teacher can decide whether only the fastest student gets to roll the dice, or all students with correct answers.)