Your class is getting tired of the same routine every week. You want to bring in something new and fun but don't know how. Games are your answer! You can use them as a reward for answering questions, a review of past lessons, the way to teach the scripture story, and more. It's a great way to combine fun with learning.
Keep in mind that the game is a tool that you are using to teach the lesson; it is not the focus of the lesson. Make sure you still go over the key principles and get into the scriptures. Playing these games aren't about competition either. It's okay to "phone a friend" if someone is having difficulties with a question or to give hints. We want all to learn and to play. You do not want to create separation by having winners and losers. Most of these games can be played with as many people as you need, some can even be played with only one. Here are 10 games that you can adapt into any LDS lesson:
Uno Stacko or Jenga
Jenga is a teacher's favorite. I prefer Uno Stacko which is similar but adds a twist with the Reverse, Draw 2, and which blocks you are allowed to pick. After you teach the scripture story or gospel principle, go through your lesson's questions with Uno Stacko. After the person gets the correct answer, they get a turn. If the tower falls over on their turn you can choose to do a couple of things: they have to go last next time, they have to answer a question without playing that turn, they have to pick up the pieces and put it back together again, or nothing at all. This game is especially great for lessons about strong foundations. Note: If you want to cut back on the noise as it falls, bring a tablecloth to play on- you won't be able to move the bottom pieces as easy but it'll be a lot more quiet.
Bean bag toss is a simple game for any age. For the younger ages, you can have each person repeat a phrase then toss the bean bag in. For older ages, they get 1 bean bag per correct answer or the correct answers determine how far back they have to stand. The best part is you can easily transform any cornhole into something else with posterboard or butcher paper. If you are learning about Daniel and the Lion's Den, draw a lion and toss the bean bag into it's mouth. If you are learning about Samuel the Lamanite, draw a wall with Samuel off to the side of the hole since all the arrows miss him. You can vary this game with knocking down stacking cups instead.
You may already be playing this one as it's easily an LDS classic. I'm old school and still use papers on the board with their point values. I don't write the questions down so I can reuse the point papers. I really like this reusable Jeopardy board idea too. Many of you use your computer so it's easy to change things and have sound effects. Either way, add some extra fun with these Barnyard Buzzers. They sound like a cow, chicken, and other barnyard animals. With Jeopardy you are supposed to play where you give them the answer and someone buzzes in with the question. I find it's easier and less confusing if you still ask the questions instead. If you are up for a challenge though, give a scripture as the answer. Your class has to look up the scripture AND think of the question. This works especially great for reviews. Remember for scoring everyone starts out with 3,000 points. If they get the answers correct, you add on the points for that question. If they get it wrong, you subtract the points from their total.
When your class answers a question correctly, you get to play a turn- call out a Bingo card or have someone try to make a match. When a match is made they can go again without answering another question first or ask a silly question like, "What color is your toothbrush?" I like to play Bingo where if someone get a certain type of Bingo by the end of class, I'll bring in a treat next time for the whole class. It's too easy if you say a normal Bingo. I've done it where they have to get an X or a square outline. It makes it more challenging but still fun. You can bring in Bingo boards for everyone or draw one big board on the whiteboard. Make two copies of your calling cards and you have a matching game ready to go too.
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune is really another way you can play Hangman with a not so morbid twist. You could start your lesson off by having them discover a key phrase of the lesson or use it to discover the scripture hero you will be discussing. You can also use it at the end of your lesson to sum up the overall purpose. Use a prize wheel to determine what kind of question they each to get to answer. This whiteboard prize wheel is a good option as you can constantly change it. Different types of question examples: Silly (What'd you eat for breakfast?), Past lessons review, Application, Scripture based, Lesson questions, General Conference review, Free pass. You could also use the wheel as to whether they get to guess a consonant or vowel.
Family Feud is the game where you try to guess the top 10 answers given to a certain question. For example if I asked you what your favorite LDS movie is, you'd say? In Family Feud, you have one person from each team come up to the middle of the room on opposite sides of the table. Put an answer buzzer in the middle. The first one to buzz in and guess the answer closest to the top, gets to finish the round. You can use this in your class by having two teams come up to the middle and answer a question the fastest and keep score that way. You could also do this where you put the top 10 Primary answers on the board. Once a Primary answer is used, your class can't use it again for the rest of the class. This is a great way to get your class thinking beyond the repetitive answers. Primary answers are those ones that are obviously the answer for most questions and are usually one to three words: pray, read your scriptures, go to church, repent.
Pictionary or Charades
If your class doesn't know the answer, have someone come up and act it out or draw it on the board instead of answering it for them. Introduce what you'll be talking about by doing a round of Pictionary. Ask an application question and have everyone draw or act out their answer. For example: What will you share this week? A 7 year old class can act out bouncing a basketball or draw a picture of a hug. I love doing it with application questions because it helps ingrain the lesson. Get my 100 LDS Pictionary cards and pick out a few cards beforehand and keep the extras when you have spare time.
Put several gospel pictures up on the whiteboard and play I Spy to get your class to guess which scripture story you will be learning about that Sunday. Get out the Spot It cards and discover what basic principles you will discuss. Or use I Spy to uncover hidden details in a photo. Then talk about why that detail is important.
Connect 4 is a great one to play teacher against the students. Teach the scripture story or principles first. Then take turns asking each other questions. When you answer correctly, you can insert a checker. First to get four in a row wins. You can use the classic Connect 4 game or draw an outline of it on the board and use different colored markers to play. You could simplify this by playing Tic-Tac-Toe instead.
Each person in this game wears a headband with a card. They then ask yes or no questions to discover what it is. Use it to open a lesson or review your lesson at the end. You will have to make the cards ahead of time though. Don't worry, you can write words instead of drawing pictures as long as your class can read. You could also ask your class to draw their answer on 3x5 cards and put it on a different person's headband so you class is guessing each other's cards. Print 10 free LDS themed cards here.
Your Turn- What is your favorite game to play in the classroom?