Donkey / Spoons
An easy card game to play in free time.
Submitted by sophieinniigata
November 18, 2022
Estimated time: 5~10 minutes to explain and do a demonstration, then however long you want to keep playing afterwards.
I play this after the students have tests, so they still have to listen to English when I explain the game, but don't have to use too much brain-power whilst actually playing.
Donkey (otherwise known as Spoons) is a pretty simple game. The goal is to not be the person in the group without an eraser.
What you'll need
- 3~13 players per group
- a deck of cards per group
- one less eraser than there are players (i.e. 5 students, 4 erasers)
How to play
Start the game by arranging all the erasers in the middle of the table.
Janken. The winner is the dealer
Dealer deals each player 4 cards, and places the deck in front of them.
The dealer takes a card off the top of the deck (to have five cards in their hand). They then remove one card from their
hand and pass it face down to the player on their left.
This continues around the circle of players with each player taking a card from the person on their right, deciding whether to keep it, then passing one card on to the next player. Each player discards to the person on their left.
The last player places their discarded card into a discard pile and the next round begins when the dealer picks up a new card. If at any time the draw cards run out, pause to reshuffle the discard pile and keep going.
Play continues quickly until someone gets four of a kind. At that time, the player takes an eraser from the centre.
Once the player with four of a kind takes an eraser, anyone can take the remaining ones.
The player left without an eraser is declared the Donkey.
I've made a PowerPoint to explain this too. If you real feel like you must incorporate English, the winners can have the Donkey answer a question, or (how I usually play) have them only speak English whilst playing, and reacting to their situations (either good or bad) in English (my JTE taught them to say "Oh, shit!", not sure why, but they knew this was the situation to use it when they were the Donkey.
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