By Tosan Soremi
Have you ever heard the expression: an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, that's how we feel about playing. Our health-based games help the kids in our programs learn how to make good choices such as, brushing their teeth and washing their hands. One of our popular games, Health Guess, even educates kids about nutritious foods and good hygiene. Here's how it works.
First, our specially-trained Coaches ask the children to line up in teams of six to eight players and stand behind a starting line. Next, the Coach places a stack of cards featuring pictures of food, such as an orange or banana and a hygienic practice, such as washing hands and brushing teeth, across the playing field from each team.
Referring to her own package of the same picture cards, the Coach starts the game by picking a card and describing the item on it—like a toothbrush, cucumber or apple—without saying its actual name. Each team must try to determine what object the Coach is describing.
Then, the children at the front of each line run to the pile of cards and tries to find the card that matches the food or hygienic practice the Coach has described. Once they find the right card, the player returns to their team and walks to the end of the line. When all the players have had a chance to participate, the Coach asks them to come together as one group to reflect on and talk about the game. This is important because it allows the kids to share their experiences and ideas on how to apply their newly learned skills to their real life.
Through involvement and inclusion, games like this teach children about issues like hygiene, sanitation and disease prevention for malaria, HIV and AIDS. They also encourage the kids to reflect on the lessons learned and apply their new behaviours to real-life situations. This critical thinking process empowers the kids and builds their self-confidence, inspiring them to share their knowledge with their peers, siblings and parents.