Alphabet Awareness Game: Hot Potato

This game can be adjusted to various levels and age groups. The basic idea is as follows:

  • Sit in a circle. Play music that ends within a minute (I recommend the Jeopardy theme song).
  • Throw a beanbag to one student and say a letter of the alphabet.
  • The student catches the beanbag and says the next letter of the alphabet.
  • Whoever is holding the beanbag when the music ends loses the round.

Pretty simple, right? Now here are some ways to tweak it to fit different classes:

For little kids (under 5):

  • Sit with legs straddled and gently roll a ball instead of tossing a beanbag.
  • The teacher should take every other turn, so that students are always returning the ball to the teacher. This stops them from taking forever to decide who to roll to next, and it prevents any student being excluded. (It also allows the teacher to mysteriously lose every round.)
  • If the competition is still too much for this age group, change the game so that whoever is holding the ball when the music stops gets a big round of applause.

Variations for different ability levels:

  • For beginners, just say the letters in ABC order.
  • For more of a challenge, say the letters in pairs or in threes. (E.g. “AB” “CD” “EF” etc.)
  • Say the letters in ABC order, but skip every other letter.
  • Call out random letters and students respond with the letter that comes after it. If this is still too easy, have them name the letter that comes before.

Phonics variation:

  •  Instead of saying alphabet letter names, have kids say the sound of the letter (Advanced students can say “A says /a/”)
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