Let’s be honest for a second here – very few of us teachers can resist cheap, adorable, inflatable yard games because we just KNOW we’ll be able to use them for SOMETHING in the classroom. Raise your hand if this sounds familiar!
It’s taken me quite some time to figure out more than one way to use inflatable games to enhance my instruction, and make it more meaningful. Now that I’ve implemented each of these ideas in my own classroom at one time or another, it’s time to share them all with you!
1. Around the Room Review Stations
I am a HUGE fan of review stations in my classroom. In fact, I wrote another blog post all about the stations for my football room transformation that I used to review our math unit.
I love a good room transformation, but most of the time when I am planning review stations I need easy and cheap station ideas that I can set up quickly the morning of. Cue the inflatable games! The awesome thing about these games is that they can literally be used for ANY subject, and they can be used over and over again!
Set Up Those Stations
There are SO many ways to set up review stations in the classroom, and it will look different depending on your number of students, space available, and the subject you are reviewing.
In my classroom, I like to create 5-6 stations around the room, making sure that each station has a defined space.
Choose Your Activities
After each inflatable game is set up around the room, I choose the activity to go at each station. I try to use resources that I already have. Task cards are my go-to activity for stations because students can work through each card at their own pace, and they are way more engaging than a worksheet!
Give Clear Directions
A set of directions is also available at each station. These directions explain what the students must do to answer the task cards, and also how to play the game once the task card is answered. I prefer to have students work together to answer the task cards so that each student is engaged. Usually I also only allow students to play the game if they get the answer correct, which encourages them to take their time and focus on accuracy.
I give students a set amount of time at each station, and display the timer on the board so that they can manage their time. As with any classroom activity, the behavior expectations are always set beforehand!
2. Whole Class Review
This is the perfect option if you are short on time, or only have one inflatable game to use!
Using your inflatable game as an incentive for participation during a whole class review is super easy. Using questions based on whatever content you are reviewing, ask a question and have a student answer. (I like to pull popsicle sticks with names so that they don’t know who is coming next. I’ve also used a random name generator-just google it, there’s a ton!) If the student gets the question correct, they can come up and play the game! This keeps students engaged and participating. I like to make it competition between sides of the room, boys/girls, etc. You could also have them work in groups to answer and make it a competition among the teams.
3. Behavior Incentive
These inflatable games work GREAT as part of a classroom behavior incentive.
I like to just keep the game set up in a corner of the room. A random student gets to play the game every time the class follows directions, or models the chosen behavior that you are focusing on. (lines up quietly, transitions quickly, gets a compliment from another teacher, turns in all homework, etc.) Then, I record the amount of points the students scored while playing the game. The points are added up each time they get to play, and when the class gets to a certain amount of points total (you can make it as easy or as difficult as you want) they get a whole class reward! I like to have my class vote on the reward they are working toward.
So, the next time you think you don’t need more games for the classroom–think again! There are SO many fun ways to incorporate these affordable games into your classroom today! Happy Teaching!