You’ll Never Guess is a class held after school at Monte Vista Elementary School. This class is generally a blast. Here’s how it works when we meet in person: kids K-5 meet in the classroom and there is a something covered by a sheet on a table. As a group, they generate a list of approx 6 guesses as to what’s under the sheet. They are encouraged to guess things that could be feasible, like “Clay! An old radio! Socks! Treasure maps!” but not like a live lion or poisonous chemicals, since that won’t happen. We remove the sheet and reveal the thing, then use the thing(s) to do some sort of activity.
It’s basically guided play – technically you’d learn something while doing whatever we do but it’s not in conjunction with specific vocabulary or if someone hates it it’s not a big deal, since each week is unrelated. There is always room for discovery and independent input. Kids like surprises and the groups are always kids who signed up for dealing with the unknown (so if your child thrives on predicable routine then you would not plop them into this situation). Past examples include window screen sewing, identification and cleaning of large chunks of micacious minerals, large circular crayons for outdoor texture rubbings, 40,000 small stickers for creating a sticker mural, broken electronics for disassembly, and old toothbrushes for spatter painting.
Right now the class is on hiatus so here’s a repository of each week’s unguessable activity! Also included: mystery links for enjoyable videos/in-browser activities that might not be in the realm of what your child would normally choose to view and they generally generate thoughtful questions or may spur independent exploration.
You’ll Never Guess Wednesday April 1st:
I know it seems like it should be a joke, but You’ll Never Guess is always sort of weird and surprising, so we’re not pranking you today, just good wholesome ideas for fun and enjoyment.
You will need access to a mirror (like the one in the bathroom or a bedroom), a sheet of paper and writing utensil, and something like a clipboard or book to use as a writing surface. Can you guess what we will be doing?
We will be writing backwards! You will want it to look correct when it you hold it up to the mirror. There are a couple of good ways to go about this. One is to think really hard and do it on the paper, holding it up to the mirror, checking where you’ve made a mistake and then fixing it and trying it again. The weirder way is to hold up the paper in front of your body against the clipboard or book, and then try and do it “live” as you look in the mirror.
Our suggestion is to start with your name or your pet’s name, then move into a phrase, sentence or even a rhyme if you want to get crazy. You can also try drawing a picture facing the mirror – it’s opposite of how you think and might make your brain feel extra spicy!
Okay, are you ready for more backwards challenges? Get a spongy soft ball that you can throw safely indoors, or make a ball from a pair of socks. Find a big bowl (or to make it easier, a laundry basket or a bin!).
Put the bowl or container behind you – that’s your target! Without turning around, throw the ball over your head backwards and see if you can make it into the bin. This is easier if you have lots of sock balls to try again , or find a sister or brother who is willing to pick up your missed shots and let you try until you are a backwards shot making master! To be fair, let them try it too and YOU have to chase around THEIR missed shots. 🙂
Obviously, move the target back a bit so it is not so easy peasy.
Other backwards ideas: switch around all your clothes so you are wearing them backwards. Walk backwards around the driveway, yard or house, but be careful! You can also honor the time tested tradition of declaring it Opposite Day and asking people questions and then reminding them their real answer is the opposite of whatever they said. If you need to get along real well with people in your house right now maybe save this one for the summer.
Watch cool videos of things happening in reverse!
You’ll Never Guess Wednesday March 25th:
Okay, you will need to collect 8 shoes from around your house. They need to be human shoes (no Barbie shoes etc) and they can be 8 different ones or 4 pairs of 2. What do you think we are going to do with them? You will probably never guess. Scroll down to find out!
We are going to try and create a shoe tower! Stacking shoes is surprisingly difficult, because they all have a varying center of balance due to their different shapes and sizes. Can you stack all 8 into a tower without supporting it with your body? I was able to stack 6 without it falling over but I will need to practice longer to get all of them to stack. I guess it would be easy if I was using 8 large men’s flip flops but I was challenging myself with different types of shoes.
If you tried it and it was too easy (or it was super frustrating and you want to give up) here is a different shoe idea for you:
Bonus links to fun stuff: