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Word Rush – activity to develop the skill of ideation in children




Number of Participants: Any

Setting (Indoor / Outdoor): Any

Estimate Execution Time: 30 mins

An activity to develop the skill of ideation (ideas generation) and lateral thinking in children

  1. Themes written on paper chits, for example: Vacation, Sports, Cartoons, Food, etc. An initial list of themes is provided as attachment (ATTACHMENT – Themes). You may create your own list as well.
  2. Dice (or you may make chits of numbers)
  3. Timer (or you can use stopwatch on your mobile)
  4. Sheet to keep score (optional)
  1. Nominate one person as the facilitator (It could be either you or any other player). The facilitator conducts the activity, remains neutral throughout the activity and is not part of any team.
  2. Prepare the theme chits using the attachment provided with this activity. Add any others themes that come to your mind. Fold the chits and put them in a bowl.
  3. Divide the players into teams ask them to choose a name for their team. (If you have a group of more than 6 players, divide it into multiple teams of 2 to 3 players each. If you have less than 7 participants, then teams can be of one player each.)
  4. Choose a team that will go first. (Teams can roll dice and the team with highest number can go first).
  5. Round one:
    – A player from team 1 picks a chit from the bowl and reads it out loud to everyone.
    – The player then rolls the dice. Note the number on the top of the dice. Team 1 will now provide the same number of words / phrases (as the top number on the dice) related to the theme within 30 seconds.
    – The facilitator has to judge how many words are correct, that is, how many words are related to the theme. The team will get points equal to the number correct words / phrases provided. Phrases with a maximum of four words are allowed.
    – If the facilitator thinks that a certain word / phrase is not related to the theme, the facilitator can ask the playing team for an explanation. The facilitator’s decision on number of correctly related words will be final.
    – Next, a player from team 2 will roll the dice. Team 2 has to provide that many words / phrases related to the same theme opened by team 1.
    – Turn passes on to the next team till all the teams get a chance to say the words related to the theme and then team 1 starts again.
    – A team cannot repeat a word / phrase already mentioned by another team.
    – Round one continues for same theme until any team reaches 20 points and is declared winner of the round. The facilitator can also end the round if the players are unable to provide any more words for that theme.
    – If a team is at exact 19 points, then the team should provide only one more related word to win that round (no need to roll the dice).
  6. Round two: The winning team of round one, draws another chit and reads the next theme. The same steps from round 1 are followed again. The game continues for as many rounds as the players want.
  7. The team with the highest score at the end of all rounds, wins.
  1. How are they feeling?
  2. What strategies worked? What did not work? How will they do it differently next time?
  1. A facilitator’s role is to conduct the activity – put together the material, give instructions, ensure fairness and no cheating, keep score, ask reflection questions and summarise the learning. Any extra tasks will be mentioned in other sections.
  2. It is important for facilitator (parent / teacher) to participate in the activity as a player. The facilitator does not have to take on the role of a teacher. Be careful that you don’t start preaching to the players from your own life experiences.
  3. Sometimes players will come up with words that are not very obviously related to theme word. In such cases, accept the innovative attempts that challenge the traditional method of thinking. You could ask the team for an explanation of how the word is related to the theme. The idea is to encourage teams to think creatively.
  4. Set up the activity like a game, to be fun. Do not make it stressful for the players such that they feel that they are being tested.
  1. With a larger group, write down the words on a white board / chart / sheet. This will help to keep track of duplicate words.
  2. You can try this activity for specific subjects with children, such as, Art, History, Poetry, Finance / Money, etc.
  3. We encourage you to share with us the variations you try in the comments section below.
  1. A player from team 1 picks a chit with theme ‘Vacations’.
  2. The player then rolls the dice. Top number on the dice is 4.
  3. Team 1 provides 4 words / phrases related to ‘Vacations’ within 30 seconds. The team gives words – (1) Hotels, (2) Summer Camp, (3) Train Journey, (4) Play all day. Team 1 gets 4 points.
  4. Player from team 2 rolls the dice. Top number on the dice is 6.
  5. Team 2, however, is able to provide only 5 words in 30 seconds after rolling the dice – (1) Trip to Disneyland, (2) Sleep, (3) Holidays, (4) Visit to Grandma’s house, (5) No school. So, team 2 gets 5 points.
  6. When any one of the teams reaches 20 points OR none of the teams can think of more related words to ‘Vacations’, pick a new theme chit and start round 2.


Written by Saurabh Agarwal

Education and Public Policy Expert
Harvard and IIT Alumni

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