Sunday, January 15, 2017

Multi-Age BreakoutEDU

When I'm not in school, one of the things I do is spend some time hanging out with/supporting some incredible families who have also become good friends.  They also happen to have come to the USA as refugees.  I always plan some kind of fun activity for our annual Christmas party, and I knew that this year, I wanted them to experience a BreakoutEDU game.

My audience was about 16 kids, ranging from preschool-12th grade, including one who is deaf.  After looking through the different holiday options, I settled on Reindeer Games.  I know it's on the easier side, but this group has never experienced a breakout before, and while their English language skills are developing, I did not want to use something that required a lot of inferring things based on language.  I also tried to stay away from anything that required a lot of background knowledge, since the background knowledge they have built up is quite different than what many American students would know.
Solving the final clue
In the setup, I used two boxes and put similar locks on each one (I have enough extra locks to do this).  I divided the kids into three teams, each with a variety of ages, and set them free!

This game ended up being just the right difficulty for them - they had to work hard and overcome the urge to give up a few times, but it wasn't so frustrating that they couldn't do it.  Kids of all ages were able to contribute in different ways.  One of the most fun things, though, was watching the parents get in on the action!  They have had very different life experiences, and many have not experienced formal education, especially in regards to the English language.  It didn't stop them from pointing out things to the students and shining those black lights all around the room!  It was fun to see them interact with their kids to solve a puzzle and experience something new alongside their students!

I wish I had taken a video of when they got the boxes open - the cheers and screams were amazing!  I usually don't put prizes in the box at school, but for this Christmas party, I had their party favors (some fun holiday gear/photo booth items) in there.  Once again, the adults were just as excited as the kids were.

Most of us made it into this picture!

These families are so special to me, and I'm glad I was able to share my recent educational obsession with them.  I was nervous about how it would go at first, but it ended up being a rousing success.  I had several of my team members comment that this was the best Christmas activity they have seen, because it required them to think, work together, and engage while having a blast!  

My encouragement to you: don't be afraid to think outside the box or try games with multi-age groups or parents.  It's so much fun, and allows families to relate in a different way!

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