the west wind blows

Begin with all the children in a circle, on chairs or cushions. Each round begins with the teacher, who is outside the circle, calling out the following phrase: “The west wind blows on everyone who…”, continuing by referring to some characteristic that more than one child shares, such as blue eyes, black hair, blue pants, and so on. All the children who share that characteristic must then get up and switch places with each other. Each child must find a different seat from the one he or she was occupying before the call.

Care should be taken that children do not push or collide with each other when switching seats. The circle should be wide enough to give all the children space to move when they are called.


All the children sit in a circle except one, who is chosen to be the game-caller. The game-caller stands in the middle of the circle and calls out the phrases that the teacher would call out in the basic game. When the children get up, the game-caller tries to find a seat along with everyone else. Whoever is left standing at the end of the round then becomes the new game-caller.

Example calls

Calls to begin each round must start with the phrase “The west wind blows on…” and end with some characteristic that is shared by multiple children. Calls may be specific (i.e. very few people get up) or general (i.e. many people get up), but they should always be clear. Examples include:

The west wind blows on…

  • …everyone who has brown eyes.
  • …everyone who’s wearing green.
  • …everyone whose first name starts with a T.
  • …everyone who was born in Canada.
  • …everyone who likes pizza.
  • …everyone who knows how to speak French.
  • …everyone who’s been on an airplane.


See also

simon says

Simon Says with Village StudentsSimon Says is a game for three or more players, where one player takes the role of “Simon” and issues commands to the other players, which should only be followed if prefaced with the phrase “Simon says”, for example “Simon says jump in the air”. Players are eliminated from the game when they: 1) follow commands that do not start with “Simon says”, or 2) fail to follow an instruction which does start with “Simon says”. Children do not have to complete the commands accurately, especially if they are not physically able (i.e. “touch the sky” or “touch your nose with your tongue”); the important thing is that they are able to distinguish between valid and invalid commands.

The object for the player acting as “Simon” is to get all the other players “out” as quickly as possible, and the winner of the game is usually the last player who has successfully followed all of the given commands. Occasionally however, two or more of the last players may all be eliminated by following a command without “Simon Says”, thus resulting in no winner at all.

recent psychological study found that the game can be a healthy way to help children to improve self-control and restraint of impulsive behavior.

Sample commands

Simon says…

  • Stand up
  • Sit down
  • Raise your left/right/both hands
  • Touch your toes/knees/hips/shoulders/head
  • Run in place
  • Jump once/twice/three times
  • Pat your head
  • Clap once/twice/three times
  • Look up/down/right/left
  • Twirl like a ballerina
  • Climb a ladder


  • To give the children a pre-game warm-up, start by giving the commands without “Simon says”.
  • Instead of using “Simon says” as a keyword, use “please”. For example, children should jump at the command “Jump up in the air, please”, but if they jump at the command “Jump up!” they are out. For an added challenge, use “thank you” to indicate that they may move to the next command. If they obey the next command without hearing “thank you” first, they are out—even if the command included the keyword “please”.

Photo: Simon Says with Village Students, by Thomas Galvez
Based partly on content from
Simon Says [Wikipedia].


octopus & starfish buddyAnother popular children’s game, also known as “Octopus tag”. One player, the “octopus”, starts in the middle of the playing field (the “ocean”), and the rest, the “fish”, are lined up against one wall. The fish try to cross the ocean back and forth without getting caught by the octopus. When a fish gets caught, it stops where it was tagged and turns into “seaweed”. Keeping one foot planted in the same spot, the seaweed moves its body around to catch the remaining fish as they cross the ocean.

When all but one player has been caught, the game begins again and the remaining player becomes the next “octopus”.


  • Mega Octopus: Instead of becoming seaweed, whoever gets caught must link hands with the octopus, making it grow bigger and bigger as the game progresses.

Photo: octopus & starfish buddy, by angelune des lauriers (CC BY-SA)

nature hunt

An outdoor “nature hunt”, similar to a scavenger hunt.


fore middle backChildren will be given a list of things that can be found in nature; as a group, they will be asked to find as many as they can. Some of these they will have to find and bring back; some of them they may simply observe and document, for example, by photographing them or noting on a piece of paper where they were found.

Teachers should emphasize the importance of having a “light footprint”, that is, not disturbing nature more than is necessary to complete their goals. It should be made clear to the children that not everything they are told to find should be “scavenged”, where “scavenging” implies “searching for and collecting“. They should be told that, in the interest of preserving nature and respecting God’s Creation, they are not to collect or disturb living things, such as plants, insects, birds or other animals, or their habitat. Of course, the children should not be asked to collect anything that is part of someone’s property, for example, rocks from someone’s driveway or garden, etc.

The children should complete the nature hurt as a group, with each child focusing on finding certain items. Children may also be paired together in sub-teams, with each team given a portion of the list. The idea is to encourage the children to learn how to take collective action to reach a goal, rather than making it a competitive exercise. Working on one list as a group also helps to reduce the potential impact on nature from many children competing for the same items (e.g. only one pine cone for the whole group needs to be collected, rather than one per child).

List of items

The list of items for the nature hunt will include items to collect (scavenge) and items that should be found and observed, but left undisturbed. To help the children understand the difference, you may wish to divide your list into a “collect” section and an “observe” section.

Download a sample list of nature hunt items.

Items to collect

Children may be asked to find and bring back the following things:

  • round, interestingly-shaped, or brightly-coloured rocks
  • a bird’s feather that has dropped to the ground (i.e. not currently on a bird!)
  • leaves, flower petals or evergreen needles that have fallen to the ground
  • open pine cones

Items to observe

Children may be asked to find, observe and document the following things, without bringing them back or disturbing them:

  • leaves, flowers, buds or fruits that are still attached to trees
  • birds’ nests (making no attempt to reach or otherwise disturb the nest)
  • living flowers, seeds, or closed pine cones
  • animals, insects, birds (making sure to show them kindness by giving them plenty of space and not bothering or scaring them)
  • different trees (children could be asked to identify them)



This is a resource card game that helps children learn about economic justice, giving, and generosity. The main idea is that there are certain things in life that human beings need, and everyone should have access to those things. If someone is lacking something they need, and we have enough to share, we should be generous and share what we have with them.

cards-afterBefore class, prepare a set of cards out of some sturdy card stock (regular playing cards would be fine). Make seven cards for each of the children in your class. If you have ten children in your class, for example, you should have seventy cards in total. Print out or draw images related to the following “needs”: clean food/water; clean clothing; safety and shelter; education; work or occupation; fellowship and cooperation; and spirituality. Make as many copies as you have children in your class, and paste the images firmly onto your set of cards. If you can, laminate the cards so that they last longer.

To begin the game, shuffle the deck and give seven random cards to each child. Each child will generally have two or three of some “needs” and be missing others. The children must interact with each other and swap cards until each child has one card from each category.

As the game progresses through several rounds, children will encounter different situations that can provide opportunities to address a number of different concepts: justice, generosity, cleanliness, service, cooperation, consultation, and more.


  • Instead of having the children approach each other one by one to swap cards, ask them to sit together in a circle and consult on their needs as a group.
  • Give each of the children a different number of cards. Even though they may start with fewer or more cards, each child must end up with seven by the end of the game.
  • Add cards for other needs according to local requirements, such as health and medicine, transportation and mobility, etc.



fruit salad

Begin with all the children in a circle. The teacher stands in a circle and, one by one, points to each child in the circle and either asks the child to choose the name of a fruit or assigns one. Each child must pick the name of one unique fruit that no other child has. See below for some ideas of fruit names.

Each round of the game consists of calling out the names of two (or more) fruits. The children who picked those fruits must then switch places with each other. If more than two fruits have been called, each child must find a different seat from the one he or she was occupying before the call. Finally, when “fruit salad” is called, all the children must get up and find a different seat.

Care should be taken that children do not push or collide with each other when switching seats, especially when “fruit salad” is called. The circle should be wide enough to give all the children space to move when their fruit is called.

List of fruits

  • apple
  • orange
  • grapefruit
  • watermelon
  • pear
  • lemon
  • canteloupe
  • crabapple
  • lime
  • mango
  • coconut
  • lychee
  • grape
  • pineapple
  • strawberry
  • raspberry
  • blueberry
  • blackberry
  • mulberry
  • elderberry
  • gooseberry
  • cranberry
  • jackfruit
  • pomelo
  • banana
  • cherry
  • kiwi
  • peach
  • nectarine
  • honeydew
  • plum
  • guava
  • passion fruit
  • clementine
  • durian
  • persimmon