Parents and teachers often ask what group games suit deaf and hearing children, and whether any adaptations are needed for inclusion.
Group games allow deaf children to learn social skills while mixing with hearing children, and getting to know other kids around them.
Hearing children in turn learn non-verbal communication skills and how to include people with different communication needs in social situations.
Good ‘icebreaker’ games for groups include Twister, Pictionary, Junior Scrabble, Yahtzee, Operation, Battleship, table tennis, snooker or foosball.
Soccer, volleyball, bowling, tennis, basketball and rounders work well in mixed group situations due to having clearly-defined rules.
Old favourite games like hide & seek, tag, follow-the-leader, dressing-up and fort-building (indoor or outdoor) can be played without adaptations.
If it helps, have some large notepads and markers around the place for the children to write down any words that aren’t immediately understood.
Other games to try:
Freeze tag – where the ‘tagger’ freezes their prey and taggees are unfrozen by ‘free’ players who haven’t been tagged.
Rock, Paper, Scissors – where two players face each other with one hand behind their back, and the other counting “1, 2, 3”. The players show their hidden hand in the shape of one of the following: Rock (fist facing downward), Paper (flat palm) and Scissors (“V” handshape). Rock beats Scissors, Scissors beats Paper, Paper beats Rock.
Good party games include:
Charades – a leveller as the game relies on non-verbal communication. Make sure deaf children ‘get’ the name for each mime if answers are called out. Alternatively, use card-prompts from Paul Lamond’s Charades game.
Musical bumps – using hand signals or flashing overhead lights to alert deaf children to the music’s pause. This approach also works for ‘statues’ – where children ‘freeze’ on the spot instead of bumping to the ground.
Pass the parcel – the kids will tell each other when the music stops!
Wink – From a deck of playing cards, take one card per person playing. Include the Ace of Spades (the killer card) in the batch. Sit the players in a circle and tell them not to show ‘their’ card. The player with the Ace of Spades is the murderer and kills the other players by winking at them – but must do this without being caught. As the players die without naming the killer, the others must identify the killer and make an accusation with the backing of one other player before they’re killed. If the accusation is wrong, the accuser and supporter die, and the killer continues!