Cooperation operation

Physical activity

Have tons of fun playing a life-size version of the game of Operation, where the “surgeons” must work in pairs.

Do you remember the children’s game called Operation? In this game from Hasbro, players use a pair of tweezers to remove organs and other body parts from a pretend body. A successful “operation” occurs when you remove a body part without touching the surrounding metal. (If you do touch the metal, a loud beep sounds.) If you have access to the game, play it, but have an adult partner with a child and hold the tweezers together instead of playing as individuals.

For even more fun, you can work as a family to create your own life-size version of the game using materials found in your home. You’ll need a large surface area such as a long table or couch to serve as an operating table.

These ideas will help you build a “body” to operate on, but encourage your children to come up with their own creative variations:

  • Create feet from a pair of slippers. 
  • Form legs from cardboard tubes or two-litre pop bottles.
  • Create knees from upside-down yogurt cups.
  • Form a body from empty cereal boxes placed end to end.
  • Arrange arms from long kitchen utensils.
  • Add hands by placing rubber or winter gloves at the ends of the arms.
  • Create a skinny neck from a juice box.
  • Join a head to the neck, represented by an upside-down plastic bowl.
  • Add facial features by forming eyes from carrot slices, trimming cauliflower to resemble ears, shaping a button nose from a mushroom, and cutting cucumbers or celery to resemble smiling lips and arched eyebrows.
  • Finish with some hair formed from yarn or string.

To play the game, use two rubber spatulas to remove various parts of the body. Have people work in pairs, coordinating their efforts to lift the objects off the operating table and into a large bin. For added complexity, make notecards with illustrations of various body parts. Each team then draws a card to discover which body part they must remove. To add a competitive twist, time each round to see which team is the quickest to complete their operation.