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Sticky Fingers

Target Grade:1-4
Target English: Questions, vocab, listening skills

You play this game with 3 kids at a time. Teach or review some vocab or question phrase, clear some space in the classroom, then...

1. The kids each grab one of the teacher's fingers, which are outstretched as shown.

2. The teacher assigns a special "keyword"

3. The kids ask today's question. If the teacher answers with the keyword the kids run to the far wall.

4. If on the way, the teacher "tags" a kid, they are out.

5. If a kid lets go when the teacher hasn't said the keyword (e.g. if the keyword is "Dog" and the kid runs when the teacher says "Dinosaur") then they are out!!

6. Repeat from 2 until only one kid is left.

7. Start again with 3 more kids.

8. When everyone has had a go, try it again with 3 winners. Keep playing with the winners, just like a championship, until you find the ultimate winner!


Start off easy, but you can get quite advanced, for example saying "elephant" when the key word is "eleven" means the kids have to really listen. If they hesitate, of course, they stand a much bigger chance of being tagged!!

Another great way to practice this is by having the kids shouting out a question and the teacher answers. For example the kids shout out "How old are you?" and make one age as the keyword. If the teacher shouts out, say, "I'm 10" the kids run, if the teacher says anything else they shouldn't run! Try using it with the "How old are you?" song for a great game and music lesson!

Game in Video


Here we use it with the Under the Sea theme.@


Readers' Comments

by Gary Green

The kids go crazy when I say 'sticky fingers'.  Even the tiny tots love it (although they can never remember what the target word was when I eventually say it).  It's even better when one of the students is the one with sticky fingers; they have to say 'If I say...I'll catch you!'  This works really well in all my classes (3-6 yr olds)


by Fiona Calais

If you're using this game for a non-ESL class, you can make the keyword a phonemic awareness one: ex. the keyword starts with the sound that "d" makes; or, the keyword starts with /s/;or, the keyword ends with /m/, etc.





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