My little Smarty Pants.

My mother used to play the game,”I’m thinking of an animal?” with us. It was fun, required no props so it could be played anywhere, and it made us think. It was an effective way to learn how to categorize things and added to our critical thinking skills.

Mom would think of an animal then offer us, one at a time, gradually more specific clues until we guessed the animal. Here’s how it went:

Mom:  I’m thinking of an animal and it has 4 legs.

Kid: a dog ?

Mom: No. It has a hairy tail.

Kid: a squirrel ?

Mom: No. It eats grass.

Kid: a horse?

Mom: It lives in Africa.

Kid: a gazelle ?

Mom: It has black and white stripes.

This is when we’d get it OR forget one of the other clues and say a tiger.

After our listening skills became sharp, we were asked to make up the clues for our own animal. This proved a more sophisticated thought process. A wonderful mind game it was!

This weekend I made up my own mind game to play with my 4 yr. old granddaughter. She is at the rhyming age. I decided to rhyme and offer clues to see if she could keep up with me.

I said to her,”You’re going to shiver

If you jump into the_____.”

My Smarty Pants!


She caught on immediately!

Then I said,”Don’t be bad or

I’ll tell your ____.”


Well now,we played this game for about an hour. We were taking a walk after a rain shower and suddenly my attention switched to looking for newts.

“Hey, let’s look for newts because heck…”

She cut right in and said, “It’s , really,really wet!”

Sometimes, it scares me to think about eventually trying to outsmart her in her teens!


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