Game in Japanese

London Bridge!

Target English: a bit of culture
Target Grade: Kindergarten to Elementary Year 4

Along with maybe the "Hokey Cokey" (or Pokey if you prefer) and "Heads and Shoulders", "London Bridge" was one of the few successful non-Genki English songs that I did in my classes! It doesn't teach much English, but the actions work really well, the kids probably already know the tune and it's a great excuse to show the kids some pictures of London! Oh, and it's also a good idea to make sure the teachers know that the bridge at the top of this page is called "Tower Bridge"!

Anyway, introduce the song (you don't really need a recording), clear the desks to the back and ...

1. Get the kids to stand in a circle

2. The front two kids face each other, raise their hands and form the bridge.

3. The next kid shouts out "1,2,3,4" then as everyone starts singing they pass underneath the "bridge"

The lyrics are:
London bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London bridge is falling down,
My fair Lady.

4. On the word "Lady", the bridge kids lower their arms (i.e. the bridge "falls down")

5. Anybody who is caught in their arms either replaces one of the bridge kids, or joins them.

6. Repeat from 3

For the first couple of goes have the kids who were caught replace the bridge kids, so that everyone has a chance to run around. But in later goes the kids that get caught are added to the bridge. You keep going until there is just one kid left running around - the winner!!

Sing the song with the kids a few times, then after a while they get to sing it on their own. And make sure they don't sing in their native language!

This is a cool little lesson, especially for younger kids!

Readers' Comments
by Jill E

You can get kids to practice vocab with this game. Take whatever topic you are doing that day (ie: transportation, clothes, food, etc) and when you catch one of the kids, you show them a flashcard and get them to tell you what it is to get un-caught by the bridge.

Readers' Comments
by Gary Green

I vary this by keeping the tune but changing the lyrics: 'Tell me, tell me what's your name, what's your name, what's your name?; tell me, tell me what's your name?'  When the bridge comes down the student has to say, 'My name's ...'  You can also use 'hello, hello how are you, how are you, how are you?, hello, hello how are you?' Student: 'I'm fine thank you.'  The kids always get excited playing this, especially when the bridge comes down unexpectedly.

Readers' Comments
by Caroline

When I do this game, before we start, I designate one of the children making the bridge "silver" and the other one "gold". Then whenever a child is caught I ask them whether they prefer silver or gold; (with little kids I have some silver and gold origami paper to show them to help them decide or you could wrap 2 little boxes with the paper. This appeals to the senses). They then have to line up behind either the silver or gold part of the bridge. After everyone has been caught, a rope is used to play tug-of-war to see who is stronger, silver or gold. They usually have these large skipping ropes at schools here. You could also play this game using "cake" or "ice-cream" etc. using pictures. If it looks like the two teams will be desperately uneven you will have to intervene a bit in some way to help equal things out. There are various ways of doing this. Anyway, try it. It makes it a bit more exciting than just finishing when everyone is caught.


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