Is 30PLN (7USD/6GBP) a lot? If you want to spend it on something you’ll end up using more often than you think, consider it a bargain. And look at those cute faces 🙂
Let’s start with a confession – a visit to a supermarket isn’t complete without checking out the games aisle. Seriously. Every. Single. Time. This ‘guilty pleasure’ of mine is probably not as ‘guilty’ as I tend to think if you are a teacher. But the rest of the world might seriously think something is wrong with me. And this, my friends, is how I discovered a game that I immediately fell in love with and want to tell you about in this post: Caterpillars Tower!
Super cute game parts, a fair price and inner fortune-teller-mode-on (oh, it’s going to be perfect for practising this! Oh, class XYZ will really enjoy playing it! etc), made me buy the game instantly.
In the box you will find:
- 30 “caterpillars”: 10 red ones, 10 blue and 10 green
- a die with caterpillar ‘faces’
In the box you WON’T find:
- the cat (even though she’s always more than interested in this particular game)
CT reminds me of its more popular sister – Jenga, however here the difference (all working out in favour of the teacher, heheheheheh) is that the elements have different colours
Here are some modified game rules:
- Set up the tower quickly – 3 bugs making each floor, another 3 on top, etc. I try to make sure the floors are not made up of one colour, but that’s definitely up to you 🙂
- Establish with the group the ‘meaning’ of each colour – and here you can let your crazy, teacher-y mind go wild (kind of). For example, with a group of 13 year-olds you can practise conditional sentences: blue – type 0, green – type 1, red – type 2. With your younger students you can decide to name a body part/colour/article of clothing that you’re goint to point to. You can also ask some comprehension questions to the text you’ve read in class – the important rule is, though, if you want to make a move, you have to do the task indicated by the colour of the caterpillar you’re about to remove from the tower.
- A player/mini-team (depending on the size of your group) rolls the die to find out what colour they will have to remove from the tower. Before the removing part comes up, they have to do the task – for example, make a type 1 conditional sentence. If they succeed they can take a caterpillar out and keep it as a kind of a point in the game. Next player’s turn!
NOTE – the optimal number of players is 4-5 (hence the mini-team suggestion) – if you’re teaching a large group and your students want to play ‘individually’, believe me, it’s going to take FOREVER until it’s Billy’s/Kate’s next turn and the game loses much of its dynamic. Do not recommend.
- The game goes on until the tower falls down – then it’s time to count the points and find out who the winner is! 🙂
Some additional remarks:
- the game is perfect for any kind of revision (vocal, grammar, etc)
- if you want to work on vocab, make sure you prepared a list of the words you want to practise with your students – it’s going to make the game flow smoother
- to everyone’s great surprise – the caterpillars are not soft 🙂 In fact they are made of some hard plastic and are empty inside (̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶o̶u̶l̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶a̶ ̶t̶e̶a̶c̶h̶e̶r̶)̶ – when you stack them up they make a kind of loud specific noise, like you were playing with plastic blocks
- the use of te caterpillar die is optional – kids may want to plan out their own moves and strategically choose with type of questions to answer (or which caterpillar to remove to doom their opponents 🙂
- the gameplay will take you about 15-20 minutes
To sum up –
Caterpillars Tower gets an A-. It’s great, kids seem to loooove those cute little creatures, for me, though, it’s a game of endless variations. The only downside is the mysterious way the producer managed to fit all caterpillars in the box – no matter how hard I tried I wasn’t able to put them all back 😉 There are always about 4 left + the die… Oh well! 🙂
UPDATE – You can find the game in any Auchan supermarket, but one of the members of the facebook group Nauczyciele Angielskiego found a very similar one (for half the price!) on Allegro 🙂