Hungry, Hungry Hippos is a fun game for kids, because it moves fast and is quite noisy. Here are some suggestions on some ways to make it educational. For each of these variations, use a permanent marker to write a single digit number (0-9) on each of the white marbles. Another possibility, is to exchange the white marbles for colored marbles and assign each color a value (blue=1, green=2, red=3, yellow=4 etc.)
1. How Many Words are in Your Sentence? – Do you ever struggle trying to get your kids out of those “I like pizza.” 3 word sentences? With this version of Hungry, Hungry, Hippos, you can get your kids to make longer sentences, and work on using sentences of varied lengths. After they play, students must choose a topic and write a paragraph, including one sentence for each marble they have. Each sentence must have the same number of words as the number on one of the marbles. All of the sentences must go together to make a paragraph or two on the same topic.
2. Category Words – Before each round, give students a category. Then allow them to play, trying to “eat” as many marbles as possible. At the end, allow students to add up all of the “points” that are marked on their marbles. Once they have added up their points, ask them to come up with that many items to fit into their category. (Ie. if the category is: Rainforest Animals, and they get 15 points, they need to come up with 15 animals that live in the rainforest.)
3. Syllable Words – Build critical thinking while working on syllables. Once students have a conceptual understanding of syllables, play Hungry, Hungry Hippo (with the numbered marbles) and tell students in order to keep the marbles they ate, they must come up with a word that has that many syllables. If they can’t come up with a word, then they do not get the “points” for that marble. The student with the most points at the end of 5 minutes wins.
I hope some of the ideas will help you use Hungry, Hungry Hippos in a new, different way. Find more ways to use board games in your room by clicking HERE. Keep playing games and watching your students learn.