Because we want to make family gaming not just fun but also educational, I am sharing with you a family activity that’s meant to make all your brain cells work.

We call this game yes, no, can be. We, the wellbeingkid family, plays this every time our brain needs some tickling, and each time is always exciting.

What you need

Words bowl

Permanent marker


Punishment/rewards bowl


The mechanics

The game needs a pair for each round. One of the pair is the guesser; the other the answerer. The former asks yes/no questions only. The latter may answer only yes, no, or can be. If he or she answers differently, there will be a deduction in the given time.

The game starts by having one of the pair draw from the rewards bowl a reward they can get if they guess the word correctly.

Next, the guesser draws a word from the words bowl. The guesser is not allowed to see the word, which may be written on a sticker paper or a bond paper with a sticky tape at the back. Note that the words should only be concrete nouns.

The game facilitator is to attach the word on the guesser’s forehead, making sure the latter doesn’t see the word. The answerer and the other pairs, as well as the facilitator, may see it though.

Once the word is securely attached, the facilitator starts the timer which is set at 2 minutes. The guesser should be able to guess the word through the help of the answerer’syes, no, or can be.

If the pair gets the correct answer within the time frame, they can get their reward. Otherwise, they have to draw a punishment from the punishment bowl.

If all pairs were able to guess the word, the pair with the shortest time gets into the jackpot round.

The jackpot round

For this section, the pair has to guess 3 words out of the many words in the bowl. However, instead of the guesser picking the word, it’s the facilitator who has to randomly choose. And instead of attaching it to the forehead, he/she may just hold it. Still, the facilitator should ensure the guesser can’t see it.

In this round, both have to be guessers alternately. If the first guesser says “pass,” the partner will be the next one to guess the word until the latter says “pass” as well.

Once they were able to guess 3 words in less than 2 minutes, they may get the jackpot price, which is  determined by the group. For adults, we give free movie tickets or dinner at their chosen (budget) restaurant. For younger ones, it can be food or phone app of their choice (within the budget of course).

Note that the words in this round may be from one category only or from different ones, for added difficulty.

The technique

For the pair to get it quickly, the guesser should begin by asking about categories. For example: Is it food? Is it an object? Is it a person?

After the category has been identified, it’s time to move on to a the subcategory. If, for example, the category is food, the asker may askIs it for breakfast? Is is a fruit? Is it a snack?

Once, the subcategory is determined, the more specific questions may be asked: Is it round? Is it big? Is it soupy? Make the questions more specific until you get the word.

For younger players, you may give the category from the beginning.

What the game teaches us

I love this game because it teaches me to think quickly and reminds me of all the trivial things I tend to forget in life (like the name of the actors). It jogs my memory.

It also teaches me to categorize ideas (fast), which I don’t normally do.

For my youngsters, this game teaches them how to create yes/no questions properly, which is really helpful in their English subject.

Most of all, the game teaches me to relax, have fun, and be a sport in whatever I do.

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