If you’re a teacher, you will most likely already know all about Flyswatter! If not, take note! This is a great game for both parents and teachers to try when reviewing virtually any subject matter with their children or students. The best part about the game is that nothing more is required than a flyswatter or similar and a chalkboard.
I used this game on many occasions in my Spanish I-III classes with great success. The kids love it and it’s easy for the teacher or parent to prepare.
Here’s how to play in the classroom or with more than one child at home:
I’ll use the example of vocabulary to explain the game. Write the vocabulary words all over the chalkboard in random order. If you are a language teacher, it’s preferable to write the words in the target language. Then have two students line up side-by-side a short distance away from the chalkboard. When ready, read out a the word, or better yet, a definition (again preferably in the target language if you teach foreign languages). The students run to the board and swat the corresponding vocabulary word. The student who arrives and swats first receives a point for their team. The game continues until all of the words have been called or until a certain number of points has been reached.
Warning to teachers: This is a noisy game – the kids get very excited and rowdy and the neighboring class can hear the swatting so choose your day to play wisely – maybe when the other class is out of their room or also playing a rowdy game!
Here’s how to play at home with one child:
My son and I played yesterday. We played a spelling version of the game. I wrote three words that are spelled very similarly such as hat, hit, and hut on the board. Then I read one of the words out and my son had to swat the correct word. If he did so, he received a point. If not, I received a point. After each trio of words, we pronounced each word and discussed the similarities and differences.
This game is very adaptable! Here are some examples of how to use the game across curricula.
Math: Write numbers on the board. Read a multiplication problem and have the child swat the correct answer. 8 x 8 and they swat 64. Same goes for square roots, addition, subtraction, division…
Science: Write the names of the planets on the board. You read a characteristic or fact about a planet that the student must learn. They swat the correct planet. This could even get as complex as the elements on the periodic table, the classification of animals, geography…virtually any topic with facts and answers to be learned.
English: Obviously, vocabulary works well as it does in the foreign language class. You might also try plots and characters of a play that must be read and studied. You write the characters on the board. Then read a fact or insight into one of the characters and the student(s) swat the correct character. Famous writers and their works, literary terms, grammar, the list goes on and on.
As you can see, virtually any subject matter lends itself to the fun game of Flyswatter!
If you don’t have a flyswatter, use a rolled up newspaper as a baton.
Make it against the rules to swat randomly and wildly, hitting anything and everything!
If you don’t have a chalkboard, write the words on index cards and tape to the wall. Then play the same way!
Thanks to all of the more veteran teachers who taught me this game and many others! Students appreciate a fun and effective way to learn sometimes dry material!