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Israeli Scattergories: A Children Game for Learning Hebrew Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Children

Scattergories is a very popular game in Israel. Every native has played, or is at least familiar with, this game. We named it in Hebrew  אֶרֶץ-עִיר  (E`retz-Ir, country-city), simply after the first two categories: country and city. A simple name for a lovely game. The classic version, played mostly by children, seems simple. It composed of, beside country and city, the traditional categories: animals, plants, object, occupation, food, boys` names, girls` names and a famous person.

Photo by Ayana

Photo by Ayana

And this is how we play it: first we grab a paper and a pen. Then we draw a chart:

After all the players are set with their charts, we pick up a letter: one of the players repeats the Aleph-Bet to himself non-stop without sound, until another player stops him. Where ever he was in the aleph-bet is the chosen letter for that round. Right away we start filling the chart. Here is an example of a chart filled with the ת letter:

Once the first player fills out all the categories he starts counting down from ten to zero. At zero all the other players must put down their stationeries – the round is over. The only thing left is to compare the answers and to give points: 0 points for a category without answer, 5 points for a category that other player filled with the same answer, 10 points for a category no other player has the same answer to, and 15 points for a category that no other player succeed writing an answer to.

As children we enjoyed this game very much. I used to play it with my friends between classes or while waiting for the school bus. I used to play it with my family during cold winter days and holidays. Now as an adult I’m still enjoying it. For children it’s a good way to practice their spelling skills and sharpen their brains. For adults, it’s an entertaining. We play it a little bit different. We make it interesting and make up some new challenging and amusing categories. For example: language, ailment, color, movie. And when we are in a creative mood we get crazy with categories such as: a divorced celebrity, non-vegan food, things you can sell on eBay, African country, things at a wedding, etc. A paper, a pen, a brain and 22 letters produced much laughter. Play, enjoy and practice Hebrew on the way 🙂


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