‘Four Corner’ is a children’s game played in many countries elementary school classrooms and playgrounds. It’s used as an ice-breaker, a quick movement break, a way to reinforce vocabulary and numbers, and much more. You can make it as easy or challenging as possible, making it perfect for various teaching needs.

Things You’ll Need

Setting up the four corners game is simple. To play, all you need is a few signs (homemade or printed out) and a way to stick them up on your classroom walls; this could be with pins, tape, or sticky tack.

You might also want a music player with some fun tunes to play.

You might want to laminate your posters to reuse these over and over again with different classes. But, of course, if it’s just a quick exercise, there’s no need.

Step 1. Make space for children to move around in.

Not everyone has a gym hall available, and the weather outside might be too wet or windy to take learning out. If you’re using your classroom, move the desks away from the walls so that children have room to play the game.

The four corners of your classroom should be clear of furniture so that kids can stand there.

You also want to leave as much space in the middle as possible for them to move around; this is essential for preventing any bumps and bruises from walking into a table!

Step 2. Put a sign in each corner of the classroom.

Take your signs and put them in the room’s four corners – hence the name; this could be your classroom, or it could be in the gym hall.

Sticking them on the wall allows children to see them as they run about. It also stops them from getting trampled on. In a pinch, you can put them on the floor.

If you’re making your own, you can either have children decorate them or write the numbers 1 to 4 on four sheets of paper.

A common variation is to use vocabulary words instead. These usually follow a theme like ‘fruit,’ with posters that say ‘apple,’ ‘banana,’ ‘orange,’ etc. It is why printable posters can make things more visually interesting!

Step 3. Turn the music on.

Put the music on to encourage children to dance or move around the classroom. But, they should focus on enjoying the chance to move around and shake out their arms and legs.

To use this in PE lessons or the playground, kids will have a lot more room to move around, so they might be able to jog or run safely!

If you’re using a set of themed posters, like our Halloween ones, you might want to put on some songs that match. It could be spooky music or Christmas tunes!

Step 4. Stop the music, then call out the name of one of the corners.

Children must run to a corner of their choice when the music stops.

Once most children are settled into a spot, call out the name of one of the corners. For example, if you’re using numbers, this could be ‘2’. For fruit, it might be a ‘banana.’

Whoever is standing in that corner is out. They can sit at the side of the room or in the middle. Just ensure they’re out of the way, so nobody gets stepped on.

Step 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have a winner.

Continue to stop the music, then call out the word or number on one of the posters. Eventually, the number of children in the game will dwindle to a few survivors.

The last child standing at the end of the game is the winner!

6 Reasons to Play Corners

Now that you’ve learned how to play corners, here are five reasons to use this game with your learners:

  • It encourages physical activity and movement breaks in the classroom. Sitting in one place for hours at a time isn’t healthy for the body or the mind. Depending on their learning style, some children will love the chance to get active for just a few minutes. It can positively affect their engagement with the material and help reduce distractions.
  • Making themed signs or posters in your lesson plan can help children engage with the topic they’re learning about. For example, why not make some signs for your history lessons about Greek mythology? They could feature the different gods and goddesses names, helping children remember them before a quiz the next day!
  • As we mentioned at the start, it can be a good icebreaker activity, helping children laugh and play with their peers. The game is versatile, so it can also be adapted to new rules like ‘run to your favorite’ or ‘run to your least favorite’ corner.
  • You can use it with young children to help build various skills. For example, if you’re using signs with words on them, it can reinforce the shape of words or spelling. It can also help in learning numbers.
  • One hidden benefit of this game is that children must use their listening skills. These are essential for knowing when the music has stopped and when the teacher has called out one of the corners. Also, it means it’s good practice for behaving well in class!
  • It’s fun! Children will enjoy showing their dance moves to their friends or having a quick run about before settling in for a long lesson. It makes it a brilliant activity to try out at a school disco.
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