What it is: Four corners is a classroom game (posted in honor of all my readers who are teachers!) that I remember playing in grade school as a reward for good behavior or at parties. It’s simple, there’s not really any skill involved, and it’s fun. The best type of classroom game there is.
Best for: A classroom full of students! I would say you need about 10 people at a minimum, to however many can fit comfortably in your room.
What you need: Just players and a room with four corners! Ooh, actually, if you were in a hexagon-shaped room, you could play six corners…but that’s beyond the point.
How to play: First assign each corner of your room a number one through four, like this:
The numbers will stay the same and everyone will need to remember them.
Then select one player to be It, like Melanie. Melanie stands in the middle of the room, closes her eyes, and counts to ten (or another specified number). While she’s counting, all of the other players silently move to a corner of the room. Each player can pick whichever corner they want.
When Melanie is done counting, she keeps her eyes closed and then tries to guess which corner has the most people, based on the sounds she might have heard when she was counting. Say she heard a lot of rustling and banging over by the door in corner number 4. She would say out loud, “Four!” Then all of the players in corner 4 would be out and would go sit down at their desks. Then Melanie begins another round, counting to ten again while players move to whichever corner they want. Then Melanie picks a corner, the players in that corner are out, and a new round starts. Play continues until one player is left – the new It.
Strategies: You obviously want to be quiet when picking a corner. You don’t want Melanie to know that your corner is occupied! But, if you have time and if you move fast, maybe you could throw her off – make a noise over by corner 3 before hurrying silently back to corner 2. (The corner 3 people wouldn’t like it much, though.) When I’ve played, we’ve mostly tried to move as silently as possible and avoided too much “strategy.” There’s just something about this simple game that’s fun enough on its own: the countdown, hurrying to pick a corner, moving silently with everyone else, making eye contact and trying not to giggle, the suspense, the last-minute mind changes where you dart across the room. Ah, good times in Mrs. Pritchard’s third grade class. 🙂
Does anyone have any variations or alternate rules to share?
sometimes the game can get long at the end with just one or two kids. We played several shorter games by “closing down” a corner after it was picked The kids who were out can get back in the game more quickly too.
Great suggestion, Brad! Thanks!
In PE the coach rolled a giant die and the number it read was the corner that was out. If he rolled a five we would dance. If he rolled a six everyone in the middle of the gym (the ones who were elimanated.) would rejoin.
Nice variation! Maybe you could even play that way on a smaller scale in a large room in a house or in a classroom. But I can see how it could be a good PE game with lots of running/dancing. 🙂
Cool! I think I can try this game with my students! 🙂
Question: Since the game allows for more than one student in a corner, how do you ensure that the game ends with one player left who becomes “it”? For example, if the last round has two players in corner 3, and “it” chooses corner 3, then both of those players are out, and no one is left… so who is the new “it”?
Hi Miriam, great question. You can avoid this by making a rule that says when there are four or less players left, each player must choose his or her own corner (so no more than one player per corner). Does that make sense? Then the players will have to silently race each other to claim a corner, but that way there will always be one player left out at the end.
So if Melanie *doesn’t* guess the corner with the most people in it, do they still have to sit down?
Yes. Whichever corner Melanie guesses, whether it has the most people in it or not, is out. Everyone in the corner Melanie guesses goes and sits down at their desks.
what if they dont have a desk
You can still play without desks. Players who are out can either just stand to the side, in the middle of the room, or sit on the floor.
another variation could be (if you want it to be more active and have less students sitting out) that everyone who’s number WASN’T called has to do star jumps/jumping jacks and those who’s number was called have a break from star jumps! 🙂
That’s a great idea. And it might make it harder for the person who’s It, too, since there would be more background noise!