Bring on the Comfort and Joy! Awesome Party Games for Secondary Students

Friday, December 1, 2017 / 1 comment
icebreakers and get to know you games

During this crazy-busy time of year, I've partnered with a bunch of absolutely amazing teacher-authors to provide you with a TON of ideas on how you can bring more "COMFORT AND JOY" into your students' lives (and your own!) this holiday season. 

Do you remember playing Heads Up, 7 Up in school? How fun was that, right?! You thought you were going to be doing more math or language arts and all of a sudden your teacher surprised you with a game.
awesome party games for secondary students
And there was always that one kid who would cheat by looking at people's shoes while their head was down. 

With this in mind, I've created a list of three awesome party games I hope you'll try with your classes during the month of December. Surprise your secondary students some afternoon by stopping your lesson a bit early and allowing them to act like kids again. 


animation zoo GIF by Arsenije Vujovicanimation illustration GIF by Arsenije Vujovicanimation illustration GIF by Arsenije Vujovic

Preparing to Play 

Have students stand in a big circle. Assign each student an animal and give them a gesture/sound that they will make for that animal. Sometimes I assign one animal to two students so they don't feel as embarrassed! Here is how it should look when you're done. 
 (Note: The only animals that must be in the game are King Elephant and worm. All the others can change and more can be added. Make sure King Elephant and worm are beside each other.) 

Click here for a list of possible animal choices and their gestures/sounds.

How to Play 

King Elephant is a rhythm game. The task is to successfully keep the beat, correctly do your animal gesture/sound when called on, and then make another animal's signal to try to get that person to make a mistake. 

The beat is set by the student who is King Elephant. They can alter the speed as desired. Everyone follows a rhythm in a 1-2-3-4 pattern. It looks like this: 1 = knee pat, 2 = clap hands, 3 and 4 are either left thumb/right thumb (hand jive style) OR one student will make their animal gesture/sound, followed by a classmate's animal gesture/sound. 

Sample Round 

  • King Elephant starts rhythm: knee pat, clap, elephant gesture/sound, knee pat, clap, BEAR gesture/sound (it can be any other student's animal gesture sound) 
  • Bear continues: knee pat, clap, bear gesture/sound, knee pat, clap, CAT gesture/sound 
  • Cat continues: knee pat, clap, cat gesture/sound, knee pat, clap, BEE gesture/sound and so on.
When students fail to keep the rhythm or make a mistake on the gestures/sounds (e.g. do a gesture when they aren't supposed to) then they become the new worm and everyone and everyone else moves around closer to King Elephant. Those who change places take on the role of the animal they're replacing (Note: You could also have students be "out" when they make a mistake and have them sit down).

The goal is to try to become King Elephant by knocking out anyone in front of you. And to laugh. A lot.


This hysterical game isn't something you can do without some advance purchases, but for a once a year event it's awesome!

Preparing to Play 

Purchase store-brand toilet paper. You'll need at least one roll for every 3-4 students in your class. Gather some winter hats, mittens, scarves, and other snowman accessories you may have lying around at home (or stop by Good Will). Put these in a pile in the middle of your classroom. 

How to Play 

Break students into groups of three or four. Each group gets a roll of toilet paper and picks one person to be the "snowman." When the timer starts, all the teams have to wrap their snowman using the entire roll of toilet paper. Once they have, they can head to the pile of accessories to "dress" their snowman (this adds a need to rush, which makes everything funnier). Award prizes as desired: the team who finished covering their snowman in "snow" the fastest, the best-dressed snowman, etc. 


This one can get loud! You've been warned!

Preparing to Play 

Pass out slips of paper and ask your students to write down scenarios that could be easily acted out. Some examples:

  • You just swam out past the waves and you see a shark fin
  • You've just been proposed to, but you don't want to say yes
  • You come across an angry, aggressive bear while taking a hike
  • You just won the lottery

Once all the scenarios have been written down place them in a bag. Divide the class into two teams. 

How to Play

Each team will select five students to each choose one scenario from the bag. Instruct them to react to the event without explicitly giving away what their scenario is. Choose a time limit (30 seconds works well) and explain that when you say "Go!" all five students on both teams should begin to react to their scenario using exaggerated gestures, facial expressions, and their voice. The "actors" can interact with each other, but they must remain in character to their scenario.

When time runs out, each time tries to guess what their teammates were acting out. You, the teacher, can be the ultimate decision-maker regarding whether or not they guess correctly and earn a point.


  • Do not allow actors to speak (this is very challenging!)
  • Actors can speak, but they may not use any of the words on their scenario slip

December can be a stressful month for our students and for us. Bring the comfort and joy of the season to your students by playing one of these easy party games with them. Be sure to come back and tell me all about it when you do!


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