Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

This is a traditional children's game. Everybody stands in a circle with their hands out, palms together. The leader takes a button and goes around the circle, putting his hands in everybody else's hands one by one. In one person's hands he drops the button, but he continues putting his hands in the others' hands so that no one knows where the button is except for the leader and the receiver of the button.

The leader encourages each person to guess who has the button by saying, "Button, button, who has the button?" before each person's guess. The person who guesses says, "Mariana has the button!" If the guess is correct, Mariana says, "I do have the button," but if the guess is incorrect, she says, "I don't have the button." If it is your turn to guess and you have the button but nobody knows yet, you choose somebody else so that the group doesn't know you have the button. Once the person with the button is finally guessed, that person is the one to distribute the button and start a new round.

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with the letter ___ !

I spy is a guessing game. One person starts by choosing an object (chalk, for example) and says "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with C." The other players look around and suggest things it might be: "Crow" (no), "Car" (no), "Cloud" (no), "Chalk" - yes! The person who guesses correctly gets to choose the next object.


The players sit in a circle, with one player sitting in the middle of the circle. The player in the middle is the "psychiatrist", and the players in the circle are the "patients." Before the game starts, the patients must agree on a common illness, such as being afraid of the dark, or believing themselves to be a particular movie star. The psychiatrist must leave the room while the group discusses and decides on the illness.

The psychiatrist then returns and tries to diagnose the collective illness by asking each patient a question. Patients can give hints in their answers and also in their behavior. The psychiatrist must always ask indirect questions and avoid using the direct name of the illness in his or her questions. It will upset the patients if the questions are too direct! (For example, if the patients are afraid of the dark, the psychiatrist should ask "Do you prefer the daytime or the nighttime?" rather than "Are you afraid of the dark?").

If the psychiatrist asks a question that is too direct, the patients should shout "Psychiatrist!" and the patient being questioned should change seats with the first person to shout "Psychiatrist!" If a patient gives an answer that is different from the agreed illness, or is a lie, the other patients should again shout "Psychiatrist!", and the answering patient should again change seats with the first person who shouted "Psychiatrist!"

When the psychiatrist thinks that s/he knows the answer, s/he should go to the whiteboard and write down the name of the diagnosis. The last patient to be questioned then becomes the new psychiatrist. (If the psychiatrist writes down an incorrect diagnosis, the patients again shout "Psychiatrist!" and the game must continue.)

Twenty Questions

This is a game which encourages deductive reasoning. It originated in the United States and gained popularity during the late 1940s when it became the format for a successful weekly radio quiz program.

In the traditional game, one player is chosen to be the answerer. That person chooses a subject but does not reveal this to the others. All other players are questioners. Each person takes turns asking a question which can be answered with a simple "Yes" or "No." The answerer answers each question in turn. Sample questions could be: "Is is bigger than a loaf of bread?" or "Can I put it in my mouth?" Lying is not allowed in the game. If a questioner guesses the correct answer, that questioner wins and becomes the answerer for the next round. If 20 questions are asked without a correct guess, then the answerer has fooled the questioners and gets to be the answerer for another round.

Careful selection of questions can greatly improve the odds of the questioner winning the game. For example, a question such as "Does it involve technology for communications, entertainment, or work?" can allow the questioner to cover a broad range of areas using a single question that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no". If the answerer responds with "yes," the questioner can use the next question to narrow down the answer. On the other hand, if the answerer responds with "no," the questioner has successfully eliminated a number of possibilities for the answer.