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North, South, East, or West


  • Geography


  • K-2
  • 3-5

Brief Description

This game can be used to teach or reinforce cardinal (North, East, South, and West) directionality. Teachers of older students might adapt the game to reinforce cardinal and intermediate (Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest) directions.


Students learn the cardinal (North, East, South, and West) and/or intermediate (Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest) directions.


north, south, east, west, northeast, southeast, northwest, southwest, cardinal direction, intermediate direction, geography, map

Materials Needed


The Lesson

Prior to using this game, students should be familiar with the cardinal directions. If students are young and just learning those directions, you might label the walls of your classroom to reflect the actual directions those walls face: North, East, South, and West. Students who are familiar with the cardinal directions of the room might not need that support.

The Game

  • Choose one student to be "It.
  • "It stands in the middle of the room, closes her or his eyes, and slowly counts from 1 to 10.
  • As "It does that, the other students quietly tip-toe to the side of the classroom of their choosing.
  • When "It finishes counting, with eyes still closed, s/he calls out one of the four cardinal directions -- North, East, South, or West.
  • Any student who is standing in the direction (side of the room) that "It called out must sit down.
  • "It repeats that process until only four or fewer students remain.
  • When four or fewer students remain, each student in the middle must chose a different direction/side.
  • The last student standing becomes the new "It.

    All of my students love this easy game. Its quick to do, quiet, and it teaches directions at the same time. They even choose this game over "Seven Up."

    Adapt the Game
    Later in the year, we label the corners Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest. Students choose one of eight places (four corners, four walls) to stand and "It calls out one of the eight directions.


    A teacher can quickly observe which students know their directions and which need further reinforcement.

    Submitted By

    Gay Harrod, Washington Intermediate School in Piqua, Ohio

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