Having been a schoolteacher for many years, I am always searching for new ideas to inspire the kids I teach. I believe kids will learn to their maximum potential if they feel safe and liked, have a rapport with their teachers and genuinely enjoy school.
Today, kids have a multitude of engaging stimuli in their homes that can be far more interesting than the school curriculum. Old methods of teaching and imparting the curriculum do not always work in today’s world. Teachers are constantly on the lookout for tools and strategies that can compete with the stimuli that kids have in their homes. Gaming, virtual reality, TV, YouTube, robotics and drones are all becoming a part of every household. Understandably, kids switch off when presented with subject textbooks, pen and paper activities and lengthy instruction from teachers.
How Do Teachers Keep Kids Engaged and Motivated with Learning?
The likelihood is that there will always be a requirement for pen and paper and textbook in schools. So how do teachers spice up the school day so that the kids learning environment is fun, welcoming, and exciting?
One way is to utilize technology and seek tools and media that matches what the kids have at home. Use online gaming, virtual reality, robotics, Ipads, Smart boards and so forth to impart the curriculum in a fun and exciting way.
Alternatively, seeking opportunities to break up learning into smaller chunks by utilizing fun group games brings the fun into learning! Energizing the kids this way recharges their batteries and refocuses them for the next round of learning.
Group games get kids out of their seats- moving and interacting with one another. Team building group games build rapport, develop self-confidence and are awesome fun! There are opportunities for kids to practice leadership, be expressive and to learn to socialize with peers. Many team games can be adapted to impart the curriculum in a different way. Kids practice problem solving, devise strategy and learn to cope with winning and losing.
Where Do Teachers Find the Best Group Games for Their Classrooms?
I find that most teachers have a repertoire of group games that they use in their classrooms on a regular basis. Often this repertoire of games is limited to just a few tried and tested games, that work well but can be overused to the point that the kids lose interest in them.
Although teachers are keen to increase the games they have in their ‘toolbox’, they don’t always have the time to search for new games and learn how to play them. This usually requires looking up group games on the internet or seeking group games texts that provide written instructions on how to play different games. When searching, teachers discover that they have to search through many games to find what they are wanting for their particular group. In many cases there is no filter on the website, or text, to short cut this process.
Searching YouTube for group games can produce some gems, however, searches will regularly lead to instruction videos that are amateurish and lengthy, and again, not always suitable for the particular group of kids that teachers are working with.
Finding the Best Group Game Apps
Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a tool for teachers that provides simple visual instructions on a multitude of different games? A tool with a filter that allows teachers to quickly find the perfect game to address the specific outcomes sort for his/her group of kids?
There must be an app for group games available in the App Store or Play Store that teachers could download onto their phones, computers, Ipads or tablets- a group games app designed specifically for schools.
I assumed that there must be dozens of group game apps to choose from; however, after searching I found that there were very few, and those that I downloaded and tested were not giving me what I was seeking for my classroom. The instructions were lengthy, games choice was limited, and the games had no visual examples of kids playing them.
Finding the best group games apps for my teacher’s toolbox was turning out to be unfruitful.
Creating the Best Group Games App
Why not create one!
The kids in my classroom play group games every day. Energizers between lessons, team building games before school, outdoor games on the oval and circle group games at the end of the day. They are excited to be at school and play with their friends.
I asked the kids if they would help me film all our games. They thought this was an excellent idea and were eager to be part of the project. All I needed was their parents’ approval.
Living on the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands, in a small community, meant that I knew all the families well. It was not long before we had their approval and weekly afterschool group games were underway. During these sessions I filmed the kids playing the games.
The raw footage from each game was then edited into short videos accompanied with instructions on how to play the games. Before long we had dozens of completed videos of games.
I looked at hiring a programmer to make an App to contain all our games. The cost to outsource this task was too high for my budget. Whilst seeking a way around this, we continued to play, film and edit games. We called our games Wacki Group Games.
It is funny how the Universe works! Our App developer appeared one day… Hugo! After chatting with my friend Hugo, I discover that he has the skills to build apps and that he was also looking for a project to be involved in. A perfect match! So, Hugo built Wacki App.
Today Wacki App comes with over 70 epic mini demonstration videos of fun youth group games for kids. Each video is accompanied with instructions. Wacki App has an awesome filter that allows teachers to select the exact game they require for the kids they are working with. It can filter down to group size, age, type of game and whether it be an inside/outside game, leadership game, team builder, tag, or circle game.
Wacki App is a perfect tool for teachers in schools. It allows teachers to have a multitude of games at their fingertips. All they need to do is Watch, Learn and Play!
They can show the kids the game on the classroom Smart Board or Ipad, so that the kids can see how the game works, or teachers can take two minutes to watch a game on their phones ready to play it with the kids.
We believe that Wacki App is the best group game apps that is available to teachers, youth group leaders and for parents seeking group games for their kids’ parties or for home schooling.
Wacki App is a collaborative passion project of the kids of Cocos Islands. It will always be there to serve as a memory of all the fun times the kids had on the Islands. I have no doubt that the games will be passed on to their children.
Where to Get Wacki App
Wacki App can be downloaded from Google Play Store, Apple App store or from www.wackiapp.com. It is free to download, offering a selection of games. For full access to all 70+ games on Wacki, teachers can subscribe to the premium membership for less than a dollar a week.