Spoons in the Classroom

When I was a kid, one of my favorite games was Spoons. It was something I often played with my youth group friends on long bus rides to Bible Bowl tournaments. It was the perfect game because you can play with any number of people, all you need is deck of cards and some spoons (or any reasonable substitute), and the rules are simplistic.

I had pretty much forgotten about the game until recently, when I was trying to think of some activities for indoor recess days. Getting out the board games can be messy and I hit my limit for 4 Corners about mid last year. So, this week I decided to teach my class the joy of Spoons. Here's how to play...

The object of the game is to get 4 of a kind and not be the player left without a spoon. You will need spoons (1 less than the number of players) and a set of cards. 

To begin, place the spoons in the center of the table and deal 4 cards to each player. The rest of the deck is stacked face-down beside the dealer. Play starts with the dealer drawing a card from the deck and passing one from his hand face-down to the player on his left. That player takes the card, decides whether he wants to keep it or not, and passes a card from his hand to the next person.

Each player does the same as quickly as possible. The last player before getting back around to the dealer, starts a discard pile with the card he is getting rid of.  It is then the dealers turn again to draw a card from the deck and start passing. Players should have 4 cards in their hands at all times.

Play continues until one person ends up with 4 matching cards in his hand. At that time, he takes a spoon from the table. He may either try to sneak it away or grab it quickly. Either way, when the other players notice, they too will grab a spoon. The player left without a spoon is out. The game continues until one person is left who is then the winner. If the deck runs out of cards during the game, players should shuffle the discard pile and then continue.

Here is a video showing a group playing the game: 

Fun, right? My class absolutely loved it and now they keep asking to play. The problem is that we don't actually have time to play all day. I mean, we DO have to learn sometime. Well luckily for them, I realized I could turn Spoons into an awesome review game for all kinds of skills. How about collecting four synonyms or four related math facts? What about four words with the same phonics pattern? The possibilities seem endless!

Now I feel inspired to start adapting other games for the classroom. After all, shouldn't learning be fun?

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