The Nurturing Game

29 03 2007

For social skills class today, my principal came in with a game called “The Nurturing Game.”  We spent the whole class period on it: 5 minutes to learn, 45 to play.  The basic idea is that kids get a chance to reflect upon and answer some questions that they probably don’t encounter on a daily basis.  Along with that, it offers the chance for “hugs,” (which we replaced with hive fives or handshakes in most instances). 

Wouldn’t you know it, the kids (and the four adults who played along) landed on the hug spaces more than any other.  For a while there, it seemed like everybody was piling up on the hug spots…and of course, that was the last space the kids wanted to land on.

I think this game had a positive impact on the students in a number of ways.  First, the open-ended (often “complete the sentence”) questions challenged students to come up with sincere, thoughtful responses to topics that may be taboo (too “touchy-feely”) for everyday conversation.  Secondly, it gave the kids a chance to learn something new about their peers as they opened their minds so frankly. 

For the most part, student interest was positive, and there was an aura of fun as we played this valuable game.  We ran out of time before anyone “won” (everyone wins, actually).  Had we more time, I would have liked to have each of the participants share one thing that he or she had learned about one other student or adult today.  Then I would have had them share one thing they learned about themselves today.

It was really nice to mix up our work on the Dog Treat Enterprise with a relaxing game.

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