What’s the Name of the Game?

Yesterday, I taught a bunch of kids how to play a drinking game.

This wasn’t my intention (of course), nor did they KNOW they were playing a drinking game, but still. . . at some point in their later years, they may bump into this game again and think, “HEY, I remember playing this. . .when I was SEVEN!”.

What happened was that I had taken my kids to our weekly homeschool co-op. As the name ‘co-op’ implies, all us parents are involved in deciding what topics we teach and are the actual teachers. We take turns running each four-week session, which is held in an available church with classrooms and a big gym.

One of the moms had decided to teach American Sign Language for this session, and was using the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” to teach the signs for colors and animals. She was going to be absent this week, and asked me to take over the class. I agreed, although I know about as much sign language as. . . well, let’s just say there is a four-year old in our group that can kick my butt (in sign, of course).

It was not a problem to fill up a thirty-minute class for the younger kids. But, the older kids are so smart, so quick to catch on, I sensed that I would need to do something to catch their attention.

Enter, Thumper.

Do any of you remember Thumper? It is a pretty innocent drinking game (that I haven’t played in YEARS, I’ll have you know), where each person makes a gesture, or sign, to represent themselves. Once everyone has decided on a gesture, the group begins to drum on the table all together. The first person makes their gesture and then another person’s, that person makes their gesture and then someone else’s. This keeps going, getting faster and faster, until someone forgets their own sign or cannot think of anyone else’s. The person who screws up has to take a drink.

Well, take away the alcohol, and this is what we did. Each person was a different animal sign (I was ‘bear’, which looks like I’m giving myself a big hug with my clawed hands). The kids started off slowly at first but then understood what makes this funny: two people got into an endless circle of targeting just each other, back and forth, back and forth. Cat + Bird; Bird+ Cat; Cat + Bird; Bird+ Cat, and on and on. I don’t think that any of us will ever forget the signs for the animals we were: bird, cat, bear, monkey, horse, cow, dog, lion.

I also find it interesting that in this group of six-to-ten year olds, not one child made a mistake.

Which leads me to this conclusion: drinking alcohol makes you less competent than a six-year old.


  1. Oh what a great influence you are! Only teasing. It sounds like a great way to get them to learn the signs.

  2. That actually sounds like a really fun game to play with little kids, although spending much time with groups of small children always makes me feel like drinking.

  3. suburbancorrespondent says

    Um, so what were they drinking?

    And who says home schooled kids aren’t socialized properly? They’ll fit right into the college scene, no problem.

  4. “What’s the name of the game?”
    “Why do we play it?”
    “To fill up a thirty-minute class!”

  5. AnotherMomCreation says

    Sounds like fun… but why don’t I remember playing that drinking game?

  6. That is rather brilliant.

    My grandmother taught me to gamble – we played poker for pennies when I was rather small.

  7. sandy shoes says

    Hey I remember that game from the TV show ZOOM (zee double oh em, box 350, Boston Mass, OH, too ONE, three FOUR…)! I’m guessing some kids about my age turned it into a drinking game, and now people a bit younger can’t remember it was anything BUT a drinking game.

    So you’re setting the next generation on the straight and narrow, FOM :).

  8. sandy shoes says

    whoops. That’s OH, _two_ ONE…

  9. That sounds like a great way to teach sign language! I actually hadn’t heard of that game before.

  10. I can’t say I’ve ever played that, but I often used drinking games to entertain young children.

    Viking, anyone?

    Motherhood Uncensored

  11. theotherbear says

    It’s good to start them young.

  12. Oh, The Joys says

    It leads me to be fairly ceratin that none of the kids were drunk! Phew!

  13. Thumper?!?! Oh wow, I had forgotten ALL about that game.

    Once my daughter had to take the usual ten day course of antibiotic and she was just plain sick of it. She was choking it down and I just started chanting “drink,drink,drink” as if she were chugging from a funnel.

    I didn’t even think about it, it just sort of came out. My husband just stood there shaking his head.

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