A Pac-man themed board game for practicing directions.

Normally, the 2nd grade directions lesson for YICA ends in a big ol’ melee game. It’s… kinda hard to pull off. So, after it bombed with one of my troublesome 2nd grade classes this year, I opted to just fall back on an old classic: The board game. This one is Pac-man themed and I did my best to make it as self explanatory as possible because them 7 year olds don’t even care than I’m there, man. 

The prep involves printing the game board on A3 sized paper, and the dice on A4 paper that is then cut in half. The Pac-mans are for A4, cut to one per piece. This time around I printed the dice on light card stock and had the kids assemble the dice themselves. I told them to use tape instead of glue because it goes faster. Waiting for glue to dry is a pain.

This game is played with two “group members”. At any given time there is a “game player” and a “game controller”. I chose these terms because they’re common out here and they’re written at the top of the paper. I tell the kids in the demo that the “game player” is Pacman who gets points and moves around, and the “game controller” does the English/dice.

The idea here is that one kid has to say the directions and the other has to follow. “Game controller” kid rolls the dice and says whatever comes up on the dice. “Game player” kid follows the directions the game controller kid says and moves Pacman accordingly. If the Pacman piece moves on top of a fruit, the kid moving Pacman marks a “+1” on his side of the game board and gains a point. If Pacman moves over a ghost, the kid moving Pacman loses a point and marks a “-1”. If the kid rolling the dice rolls a “stop”, the two trade places. Now the other kid gets to be the “player”, picking up moving Pacman where their partner left off, and the former kid becomes the “controller”. If the Pacman piece moves past the boundaries of the game board, the game is over and the kids have to tally their points. I have space at the bottom of the game board for three rounds.

The game can be over quickly, or it can take forever. Some kids mistake the rules and give the kid rolling the dice the points. Some kids try to start over at the “Start” each time a kid rolls a “Stop” and they have to trade places. Really, as long as they’re speaking English, it’s kind of ok. And, I put English, katakana, and directional arrows all over this fucking thing so that there’s no excuse not to. It works, for the most part. Even my worst 2nd grade class actually played the game. That’s a freaking victory!

For some reason, kids are typically really into this sort of paper based game. I’ve used the concept before and every time I have to print multiples so that kids can bring home extra copies to play with their siblings. It’s kinda cute. I always wonder if they play the game in Japanese or English when they get home.

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1 Comment

  1. I saw your game while I was searching for other direction games and decided to give it a go. My kids loved it! Thank you for sharing this game!

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