Please note that as an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Know that I only recommend products I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy them. You get great equipment and I get to keep offering as many resources as possible for free.
There are few things I love more than a versatile game. The attention spans of younger students just aren't there to try to teach a brand new game all the time. You just need a game that you can go to over and over and keep it fresh by switching up the game play. One of my favorite versatile games is Lumberjacks and Planters. All you need are cones or bowling pins to knock over.
How to Play
The game is incredibly simple:
- Spread out a bunch of cones or bowling pins and call them trees
- Lumberjacks knock down the trees
- Planters set them back up
- You have to touch a bunch of trees before you come back to the one you just touched
*One consideration is that in most variations, it takes longer to set cones/pins back up than to knock them down. I try to always have more planters than lumberjacks for this reason.
In a pinch, I'll just yell out that boys are lumberjacks and girls are planters. Or white shirts are this and colored shirts are that. But my favorite way to play is by handing out colored rubber wristbands (which is the absolute best way to create teams). Then, I have the image below projected onto my screen. Every minute or so, their job changes. Since I have some struggling readers and students who's primary language isn't English, I'll use emojis so they know what their job is. With all the moving and lunging, I've found that players get gassed very quickly. To work around that, I give them little, low-intensity breaks where they can climb the rock wall, work on balance boards, dribble basketballs, etc. This is also perfect for me because I teach in a small space and can only have so many players running around at the same time safely.
From left to right, the jobs on the top row are CLIMB the rock wall, PLANT, BALANCE on balance boards and spooners, PLANT, LUMBERJACK, PLANT
If you have a TV or projector, I made the above slides into a YouTube video. The video gives all players all 6 jobs and lasts about 15 minutes. If you plan on having the game last longer than that, just right click on the video and click LOOP so it will keep playing until you stop it.
Take it to the Next Level
*Keynote is the Mac version of Powerpoint. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get the formulas to work in Powerpoint or Google Slides. It's still a work in progress. If you're wanting one of those versions, leave a message in the comments and I'll let you know when they're available.
This is what you'll get with the presentation:
- Change the number of teams on the first slide and it will adjust on all slides. Works for up to 8 teams.
- Change the emoji/text on the top row on the first slide and it will adjust on all slides
- Change the grade on the first slide and the assessment rubric at the bottom will adjust on all slides.
- Changing the rubric for each grade is a breeze. Just go to the slide with the table below. Change it once and it will change everywhere.
- Quickly change the amount of time between transitions.
Here are some of my favorite variations. There are endless ways to play.
Lumberjacks use hands to knock down cones
Lumberjacks use noodles like axes to chop down cones/pins
Using foam balls, Lumberjacks throw at pins (easier to knock down) or cones (harder to knock down)
Throwing, but you can't travel when you're holding a ball (must throw it from where you pick it up)
Use hockey sticks to hit balls at pins/cones
Kick balls at the cones/pins
Pick up a ball and hit it at pins with your paddle
Gaga Style (hand strikes)
Using your hand, hit balls at pins/cones. Don't pick up the balls.
Throw foam discs at the pins to knock them down
Dribble around while setting up or knocking down pins