Let’s Hear the Animal Farm!
The name of the game is “Animal Farm”–but a lot of groups end up renaming the game after someone’s best animal noise!
Summary: This is a medium- to high-energy activity that lets kids get loud by impersonating animal sounds. The game is related to Soundboard in that it allows kids to act goofy and get loud.
Who Plays, How Many Participants, and How Long
Ages: 4 to 6
Group Size: 4 to 16+
Equipment: none; an open space for kids to run around and impersonate animals!
- Prep: Five minutes to clear a space for movement
- Activity: Ten to twenty minutes
- Clean-up: Five minutes to reorganize return the classroom or play area
- Total: 20 to 30 minutes
Each of the participants comes up to the moderator one at a time, and the moderator whispers the name of an animal to each child. After every child has been assigned an animal, the moderator says “Let’s hear the animal farm!” (or whatever), and kids begin to make the noises of the animal they have been assigned, and have to find the other participants who have been assigned the same animal sound.
A great way to change the focus and energy of this game is to make it a silent game, and instead of having kids make animal noises, they have to physically impersonate the animals they have been assigned. That can be tougher for younger kids, so feel free to give them some advice or give them hints on who might be the same animal as them!
How the Activity Helps Build a Team
The activity does a few things: It
- increases group cohesive and allows participants to share a laugh;
- creates some levity, and allows participants to feel more comfortable in the group, after seeing every participant act like a animal; and
- can help kids expend some energy though making loud noises, but also can be calming if the “Variation” is used and kids play-act like animals.
Not every animal makes a sound that’s great for the game! The animals we’ve found to work well are dog, cat, pig, rooster, sheep, lion/tiger, horse, and wolf. If you can think of any others, please add them in the “Comments” section, and we’ll update our list!
It can be fun to vary the group size. When playing the game for the first time, it can be fun to give the participants six animal groups, so that there are a lot of animals sounds and kids have to work a little harder to find their groups; when playing the game the second time, you may choose to only create two animal groups, so that the kids don’t have to work as hard, but now they have half of the group acting like roosters!
Some kids may over-do it a little, depending on the animal they’ve been assigned, so it helps to know a little bit about each of your participants. For instance, if you know that one child engages in overly-aggressive play–best to make him a mouse, and not a lion.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” ~Nelson Mandela
That’s what is special about games like Animal Farm and Soundboard—it allows kids to let loose, and get silly. Class lessons, especially for elementary school kids, are vital. They’re good for the head. But development games that encourage kids to act little nutty and sound like a goat—those are good for the heart!
Image Credit: Avia Venefica on Flickr