You probably remember this game from your own childhood: Gather around 15 or 20 kids in a circle, with a teacher/adult as part of that circle. The teacher then whispers a phrase into the ear of the child on either side of her, and then that child repeats what they heard by whispering it in the ear of the next child in the circle, and so on down the line until it gets to the last child. Here are some sample phrases to get you started, but feel free to make up your own:
- Rebecca’s baby brother has big brown eyes
- Janie kissed Rob 5 times underneath the jungle gym
- Barack Obama went to Egypt and sat on a royal throne
- My grandma likes to eat crab cakes.
At the end of the gossip telephone, have the last child tell you what they heard, and then point out the discrepancies. (It’s bound to be something quite different from what it was when it started.) Talk about how names changed, the content of the message was morphed, and so on. As you discuss the results, point out how real gossip is a lot like this. It gets bent and twisted and distorted until it’s turned into an unrecognizable lie. Therefore when they hear gossip about somebody real, it’s important to break the chain and not repeat it so that they aren’t spreading false rumors that would hurt someone’s feelings.