I love games and I love working with the elderly. One of my favorite sessions is a group I only see once a month. Since our time is so infrequent, I strive to have the most fun we can possibly have, introducing new interventions and music every time we meet. I often incorporate musical games designed to utilize motor, social, and cognitive skills, while also providing an element of fun to boost mood and morale. Of all the games I have presented over the years, this one is by far my favorite!
The idea came to me while discussing iPads with an older gentleman a few weeks ago. We discussed the various apps and what they were, and Angry Birds came up in the discussion. The concept was very amusing to him and it made me think that it may interest my therapy groups. If I could only come up with a way to turn Angry Birds into a musical game. I brainstormed about how I could incorporate the app into a session and I eventually came up with the perfect live Angry Birds game.
Over the years I have collected unwanted Beanie Babies and have quite the collection of birds which work perfectly for tossing. I needed something light so I chose the boomwhackers, which to my convenience, balanced on their own standing up on the floor for easy targets to knock over with the birds. To go with the upcoming holiday, I decided to use my small leprechaun hats to add a little holiday cheer to my game. To make it even more fun, I used my golden egg shakers to represent the hidden “leprechaun’s gold” which were dropped inside the upright boomwhackers so to be hidden from the group members. The final addition was a green pot which awarded the team 5 points if the bird went inside. We had some amazing moments, a lot of fun and it was always an exciting moment when the gold was found.
So here are the rules of the game:
The Object of the Game: To collect the most points by identifying song titles after knocking over boomwhackers with the “angry” birds.
Directions for play:
- Divide into two or more teams. Use a scoreboard to keep the score.
- Set up: Boomwhackers (green for St. Patty’s Day) upright on the floor. Eggs (golden) placed inside various boomwhackers. Bag of toy birds.
- Scoring: Each boomwhacker knocked over is worth one point. If a player does not knock over any boomwhackers with their throw, it becomes the other team’s turn. When a player knocks over a boomwhacker/s, their team is presented with a song melody to identify (I presented “Irish” songs to tie in with the holiday). If they identify the title, they earn the point/s. If they cannot identify the song the other team can attempt to name the title and steal the point/s. If more than one boomwhacker is knocked over, the song is worth additional points (i.e. 3 boomwhackers fall over: if the song is correctly identified, the team receives 3 points). If an egg is uncovered, an additional point is also added to the possible points for naming the song title (i.e. 2 boomwhackers fall over and one egg is uncovered: the team receives 3 points if they correctly identify the song title). For St. Patrick’s Day, I included the pot for gold as a bonus 5 point target, which ended up being a pivotal moment in our game last week when the team that was behind landed a bird in the 5 point pot, pushing them to the lead (there was an uproar from the teammates from the excitement!).
- Playing the Game: The first player from team 1 chooses a bird from the bag and tosses it at the pile of upright boomwhackers trying to knock them down. You can offer more than one toss, though I just presented one toss opportunity to each person due to the size of my group.
- If the player knocks over a boomwhacker, a song melody is presented for the team to identify. If the team identifies the song correctly they receive the points for their toss. If they do not identify the song title, the other team can steal their points by naming it.
- Teams take turns tossing birds and naming songs as someone keeps score.
- Once all participants have had a turn, the winning team is declared!
That’s about all there is to it 🙂 We had a BLAST playing this last week and the residents were asking me when we could play it again! I am definitely keeping this idea in my game collection for future rainy days when I am in need of something quick and fun to do with my groups!