Speaking of games, I realized that I’ve never posted my classes’ all-time favorite: El bebé malo (bad baby), introduced to me by Bryce Hedstrom (well, his website anyway!).

Start with a tiny object!

Find a small object to hide. In my class, we alway hide the smallest doll in my Russian Nesting Doll set: it’s about an inch tall and a half-inch in diameter. That means that it fits anywhere! My all-time favorite hiding place was inside a plastic baggie that was hidden inside a student’s mouth: yes, that happened. Obviously, you could hide anything and it could be much larger than our bad baby, but smaller objects make for much more fun hiding spots!

Pick something to recite

Decide what you want students to chant in sequence. This could be numbers (0-10, 0-20, 0-100 by 10’s, 0-1000 by 100’s, etc.), the alphabet, days of the week, months of the year, etc.

Play the Bebé malo game!

Have one student leave the classroom.

Hide the small object (in my case, the ‘bad baby’) somewhere in the room.

Have the student re-enter the room and stand at the front of the classroom.

The class begins to chant whatever vocabulary you have decided to use in sequence. They should start very, very quietly–“uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete ocho, nueve diez, uno dos, tres…”, repeating the series over and over again until the student finds the object.

As the searcher gets closer to the object (warmer…warmer…hot!), the class raises the volume of their chanting incrementally. If the searcher moves farther away from the object, they chant ever more quietly. In this way, the searcher determines the approximate location of the object based on the class’ volume, and then he or she can look around in that area until the object is found.

This game is probably best played when the teachers on either side of you have free periods, because the counting gets LOUD! Remind your classes to start VERY quietly, and to increase their volume in the most minute increments possible. I always post the numbers on the board so that students can read along with them as we count, since it’s hard to focus on the numbers and the action at the same time.


Bad baby - a game to play in language classes as a brain break or PAT reward - Shared by The Comprehensible Classroom

4 replies on “El bebé malo

  1. This is similar to a game in our T.Guide called Loud Hot, Soft Cold (which is a modified version of Hot & Cold)
    Hide a representation of a vocabulary structure, preferably one that is a bit difficult to pronounce. Representations could take the form of an illustration, photo, a prop. Send a volunteer (or ‘the bad baby’ LOL) and then hide the vocab structure. The student enters the room to look for the item, as students chant the structure…super softly and S L O W L Y the further s/he is from the item. The closer s/he gets to it, the louder and faster students should chant. Continue until the volunteer/bad baby has found the item.

  2. Are you reading my mind? I just played this game on Friday after a long “no game” stretch. Kids had so much fun and were eager to listen to my instructions in Spanish because they wanted to participate. You’re right. They need to be kids and it really helps build classroom community.

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