Games & Ideas learnt from a Russian Tea Party! + How to teach fairy tales in English.

I don’t know about you but I had never heard of a Russian Tea party before.  But after last week’s workshop Elena put on the most wonderful evening full of Russian tea, dancing, fairy stories and some great games.  And many of the ideas I think might work great in your class – they were certainly a lot of fun for us!

Tea to Start…


First of all we had some wonderful tea served in Samovars,  pots of tea surrounded by hot coals.  What a fantastic invention!

Then a very cool way to teach Fairy Tales…

Elena brought out some Russian fairy story books.   She has a very good way of teaching them:

1) She gives the foreign language version of the book to the students (i.e. me today, at this point of the evening I couldn’t read Russian yet!)


2) The student has to guess what the story is just using the pictures and gets them to read what they think might be happening.   Very often there are subtle differences between the languages, here we had Goldilocks and the 3 bears, but not the one I was used to! We also did the Russian version of the Gingerbread Man – called Kolobok!

3) Then Elena pulls out some toys of the characters and gets the students (us!) to act out the story!  It was actually a lot of fun, even for us all adults – I’d definitely recommend giving it a try!



Where are you? Game

Then after lots of Russian dancing and some fantastic traditional games, we had this game which can be maybe be used in your classes?

1. Everyone gets in a circle and holds hands.


2. One person is in the middle, blindfolded.  That was me again.

3.  They have to catch one other person who is free to run around the inside of the circle.

Sounds easy?  Not blindfold it’s not! 🙂

But you have one extra tool, you are allowed to shout out “Where are you?” and the person who is running has to answer “I’m here!”  It gives you a clue, but of course by the time you spin round to where they are they’ve probably gone!  You win if you catch them!

Lots of fun – and a great way to practice the question/answer!

Learning to read with Bingo Scrabble.

I also had a request for them to teach me the Russian Alphabet – or rather Russian phonics, all the textbooks were teaching the names the letters  rather than the sounds they make, which is pretty useless if you’re trying to learn to read!

So we played bingo.  But this time when you got a number you didn’t cross it off, you got a scrabble tile.  And my job was to read it!  Which I couldn’t at first of course, but as we went through the game everyone taught me each sound, and as the duplicates came up I got to try and remember which was which!   And there you go, how to learn to read Russian in less than a half an hour!  (Mind you my brain was aching a bit after the first 20 minutes!)

We also did some spelling practice later.  Any idea what this says?


There was also lots more Russian dancing,  I’m very glad we didn’t have videos of this one!


And finally a quick picture of how I was greeted at the airport, complete with a Russian flag dress and a bear!


Thank you to everyone for such a wonderful evening,  I do a lot of “cultural” things as I travel around the world and today was by far the best! 🙂

Could you use any of these ideas in your classes?


Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

7 Responses to “Games & Ideas learnt from a Russian Tea Party! + How to teach fairy tales in English.”

  1. Elvira

    Just awesome!Now it’s obviously time for Genki Russian start!

  2. Elena

    Hello Richard! It is so great to hear from you! Thank you for such warm words. We tried our best! I am happy you liked your trip to Russia. I am sure you’ll come again! I am working hard these days. I wish I could read you VIP forum more often. I try. Today I started a new 7-year-old group. I expected 8 or even 6 children. Guess how many I had? 15!!! Amazing! Thank you very much! We really miss you here in Izhevsk!
    P. s. We had the first snow here today)

  3. Stephen

    Wow Richard. That looks like a lot of fun!!! Bingo scrabble and the Where are you games can definitely be added to my classes. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  4. Julia

    Hi Richard!

    I’m so glad you had such a great experience in Russia!
    I hope good memories will make you come here again someday 🙂

    Hi Elena!

    I really impressed by your creativity and inventiveness! You are really a genki person!

    Wishing you good luck and success!

  5. Margit

    Congratualtions Elena!!!Well done!

    And~this looks all soooooo good!

    Don’t like the idea of snwo, though~ even the less, as I’m sitting in my T shirt and shorts planning a little cooler Halloween.

    Now, for that:
    Does the “Where are you”blindfold game work with 50 kids different ages at my Halloween party?
    Any things to take care about?

    And if you don’t mind: Some more of the russian games. My school is eager for stuff like that.

  6. Elena

    Hi everyone) thank you)
    I think you can play this game with 50 but the circle would be too big. But try. I will try to make some videos of Russian games for you. )

  7. Tanompen

    How wonderful you are! I am very happy while I see your text. It is a lot of fun. I will share to my students and my friends.I really impressed by your creativity and inventiveness! You are really a superman of Genki person!

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