Multisensory Monday- I’m Going on a Picnic

Posted by Brainspring on 17th Aug 2014

Hi everyone,

I’m especially excited for today’s Multisensory Monday because it’s a game I just learned from a teacher who attended one of my trainings last week in New Jersey.  I was so pumped to try out this game that I used it with one of my students earlier today.  We both loved it.  I say this at every Phonics First training and it always ends up being true: I learn as much from working with you teachers as you learn from me!


I’m Going on a Picnic

The game is called, “I’m Going on a Picnic…”  What’s great is that it doesn’t apply to just one phonics skill or rule.  It makes students really think about the patterns they hear in words.  In the training we talked about using it for some basic phonological awareness skills, but it can also be used for higher-level skills and even math (I’ll share that idea at the end).

You begin by saying, I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing (blank).”

Next each student gets a turn to respond by saying, “Can I come on the picnic?  I’ll bring (blank).”

The students’ goal is to figure out the rule or pattern that you are using to decide who can come on the picnic.  If the student’s response fits the rule, you say “Sure you can come and bring (blank).”  If their response doesn’t fit the rule, you say “I’m sorry.  We don’t need (blank).”


This the example we talked about in the training:

Teacher: I’m going on picnic and I’m bringing marshmallows.

Student 1: Can I come on the picnic?  I’ll bring graham crackers.

Teacher: I’m sorry.  We don’t need graham crackers.

Student 2: Can I come on the picnic.  I’ll bring sandwiches.

Teacher: I’m sorry.  We don’t need sandwiches.

Student 3:  Can I come on the picnic?  I’ll bring matches.

Teacher: Sure you can come and bring matches.

Student 4: Can I come on the picnic?  I’ll bring melon.

Teacher: Sure you can come and bring melon.

As you may have figure out, in this case the rule was things had to begin with the sound /m/.  Let every student have a chance before asking if anyone figured out what the rule was.


Here is a more difficult rule that I used with my student today.  Since this was a one-on-one tutoring session, we went back and forth until she guessed the rule.

Teacher: I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing hotdogs.

Student: Can I come on the picnic?  I’ll bring buns.

Teacher:  I’m sorry we don’t need buns.  I’m also bringing mustard.

Student: Can I come?  I’ll bring ketchup.

Teacher: Sure you can come and bring ketchup.  I’ll bring brownies.

Student: Can I bring juice?

Teacher: I’m sorry we don’t need juice.  I’ll bring Kool-Aid.

Student:  Can I bring napkins?

Teacher: Sure we can use napkins.

Since this was our first time playing, I made the game a little easier by offering another item I was bringing that followed the rule after each of her guesses.  The harder way to play would be to have the student keep guessing items on their own.


I love that this game requires students to think about patterns and problem solve!  It is a perfect game to fill those small minutes of time.  Think of playing this while students are standing in line, when there are only a few minutes before lunch or the end of the day, as a way to refocus after recess, on the bus for a field trip, while waiting for an assembly to start, ect.

What other games do you like to play in those small moments?

Here is a quick list of some of the rules you can use for this game, arranged roughly in order of difficulty.  This game can easily be played with older students, just make the rules more sophisticated.

 Comment below with rules you think of! 

  • Item must start with the same letter as the student’s name (ex. Mary can bring marshmallows, but Tony can’t.  Tony can bring tacos though)
  • item must begin or end with a certain sound
  • Item must be a rhyming word
  • Item must have a certain number of syllables
  • Item must follow the Double f,l,s,z rule
  • Item must be a singular or plural noun
  • Item must be a certain color
  • Item must be a school supply, something you wear, something that grows from the ground, ect.
  • Item must be a homophone
  • Item must have an R-controlled vowel


Math Version

As I was thinking about this game and different rules I could use to play it, I realized this would be fantastic for math as well.  (I loved teaching math back when I worked in a school.)   Use this for math by playing with numbers instead of items.  I would try calling it something that relates to numbers like “I’m Going to the Store…”

Comment here if you have a better title idea.

Follow the same procedure but fill in the blanks with numbers instead of words.  Ex. “I’m going shopping and I’m bringing 42.”

Here are some rules you could use for the math version:

  • Numbers must be odd or even
  • Numbers must be divisible by a certain number
  • Numbers must be multiples of a certain number
  • Numbers must be prime numbers
  • Numbers must be greater or less than the number said previously
  • Numbers must fall within a certain range
  • Numbers must contain a certain digit in a certain place (ex. a 3 in the ones’ place, an 8 in the hundreds’ place)

Comment with other rules that can be used for the math version!


Please take a moment to copy the email to your representative from last Thursday’s post.  Then comment here to show your support!  I know you all care deeply about helping your struggling students, especially those with dyslexia.  I see how hard you work in your classrooms and the extra effort you put in during after –school programs.  Take a few moments to support this legislation because it could help out students who aren’t lucky enough to have teachers who know the strategies you use.


Bumpy Letters

Dite at Ladder Learning Services has a new tactile tool this week.  Her post is about Bumpy Letters, which can be used like sandpaper letters to help students make letter-sound connections.


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