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Morning Glory Treatment Center
for Children

Copyright 2009
1207 Pigeon Forge Road,
Pflugerville, Texas, 78660 USA
Phone/FAX : 512-251-3298

The Elephant Game
A Game That Fosters Quick, Cooperative Actions

Children cooperate to  make the sign for elephant ears and a trunk.

How To Play


• Increase attention span
• Promote body awareness and refine motor coordination
• Develop a keen sense of observation
• Provide cognitive/academic skills training
• Learn cooperation, positive interaction and adaptability
• Experience appropriate touch


No supplies needed! However, there should be at least 6 players. This game works well for even large groups too.


The children sit in a circle. The facilitator begins by sitting in the center of the circle and demonstrates how each animal is made. After all the children have had a turn being the "elephant,” then the group can learn and practice making a "rabbit” and then a "raccoon.”

To start, the facilitator points to any child they wish and calls out one of the three animals, e.g., "Elephant." Then they quickly count "1,2,3,4,5." As quickly as possible, the child sitting to the immediate right and left of the chosen child form the correct elephant ears (Note: this means the child on the left will use their closest hand to make the ear, which is their right hand, and visa versa for the child on the right). All three children attempt to complete the addition of their elephant body-part before the person in the middle stops counting. The child who takes the longest or does the wrong body-part, then has to be "it." This child should quickly select and point to another child while calling out the name of an animal to portray.

The instructions to form each animal are as follows::

Trunk: Two fists placed end-to-end extending from the center child's nose (see picture)
Ears: Open hand facing forward which moves in a "flapping" fashion next to the head without actually touching.

Eyes : Put the tips of thumb and pointer fingers together over the eyes like pair of binoculars.
Ears: Children on the left and right side, cup a hand and place it lightly on the "racoon's" head.

Tail: A fist behind the back at the base of the tailbone.
Ears: The pointer finger is placed just behind the temple and is lightly touching the "rabbit's" head.

The challenge and excitement of the game comes when the group knows how to make all three animals and the child who is "it" can pick any animal to catch the players off guard. For an even harder challenge, allow “it” to name two animals! They should point at one child and call "elephant" and then turn quickly around and points at another child and call a different animal such as "rabbit." This is especially hilarious to watch as all the players move their arms and hands in all directions.

Play Therapy Techniques

If the children are slow learners, they may need more time to remember the way an elephant is made (two flapping hands for ears; two hands in front of the nose as a trunk). If so, the count could be extended to 10. On the other hand, the count could be shortened to 3 for speedier players like adolescents.

The facilitator should begin this game with a slower "practice round" where they sit in the circle to begin with and coach the children on how to play it, being sure to give each child a chance to practice.

The facilitator can model good sportsmanship and can provide a contagious spirit of enthusiasm for the children through active participation!

The facilitator can promote adaptability by changing the animals when the children just "get the hang of it". To transition to another animal, it is best to present it is a "challenge" to them to see if they "can get it." This will increase their excitement.

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