Poor Kitty Game for Children

by Taylor DiVico
Kids can add a creative spin to the game by using props and face painting.

Kids can add a creative spin to the game by using props and face painting.

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It might sound like a barnyard scene gone wrong when meowing and purring two-legged human kittens takeover, but the Poor Kitty game provides kids with an opportunity to enjoy good-old fashioned fun. Kids can add Poor Kitty to their game repertoire to entertain themselves and their friends. It makes for a classroom, party or rainy day activity, requiring little preparation or materials.

Game Description

Poor Kitty is played among a group of children. The larger the group, the more interesting and difficult the game becomes. Kids can nominate a player, or one may volunteer to start off as the poor kitty. The poor kitty player sits on the floor, encircled by the rest of the group and approaches another child by acting like a kitten, making meowing and purring noises and implementing kitten mannerisms. The child who has been approached pats the kitty on the head three times and says, "Poor Kitty," without laughing. If the child laughs, he or she switches places with the poor kitty. A variation on this game includes blindfolding the poor kitty and having him try to guess the child he approached who said, "Poor Kitty." The goal of the approached child is to disguise her voice so she will not become the next poor kitty.

Educational Value

Poor Kitty is not just all giggles and meows. The game also fosters a number of skills, integrating Harvard graduate school professor of cognition and education, Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. The game promotes interpersonal, bodily kinesthetic and linguistic intelligences through social interaction, movement and speech. This occurs in a rule-based activity and environment, which helps young learners in preschool and kindergarten gain understanding of how to play with others and within given parameters. Poor Kitty also encourages listening skills, role playing and problem solving, which can be beneficial to students in the upper elementary grades as well.

Classroom Extension Activities

Extension activities for the game include craft projects and acting practice. Students can develop various personae for their versions of poor kitty in accordance with language arts lessons on characterization or adjective use. For example, kids may act as the angry or snobbish poor kitty, using voice inflection and tone to create the persona. This can extend to include kids creating poor kitty props such as kitten ears, glasses, clothing and tails. Ideas also may begin swirling about a class production of Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical "Cats."

Birthday Party Ideas

Poor Kitty offers a budget-friendly game to play at a cat-themed birthday party, which parents may need after hiring face painters to paint cat whiskers and noses on attendees' faces in preparation for the game. Goody bags can include cat tails and ears for kids to wear throughout the party. You can invite a special guest such as a grandparent or favorite baby sitter to read a cat-themed book such as Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" and show a movie such as "The Aristocats," "Garfield" or "The Lion King" before or after the Poor Kitty game to keep with the theme.

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