Through the Window

Through the Window is a simple game of quick thinking, perfect for children. It can accommodate three to thirteen players. Although it’s played with cards, it’s really more of a word game than anything else!

Object of Through the Window

The object of Through the Window is to be the first player to name a noun that starts with the same letter as the card just revealed.

Setup

Through the Window is played with a typical 52-card deck of playing cards. Kids tend to get rambunctious with cards—make sure you use durable cards like Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.

Shuffle and deal four cards, face down, to each player. Players may not look at their cards. Set the rest of the deck aside; it will not be used in further game play.

Game play

The dealer goes first. They say “I looked though the window and saw…” and, at that point, turn over one of their face-down cards. Players immediately say any noun that starts with the same letter. (For those of you who don’t remember, or haven’t yet taken, English class, a noun is a person, place, or thing.) For example, if a 3 is turned up, players might call out “tree”, “tiger”, “tank”, “tomato”, “Texas”, or whatever else they might think of. Whether or not something might realistically be seen out the window is beside the point, and coming up with particularly amusing things to see outside is part of the fun.

Whichever player was first to name a word collects the card and keeps it face up in front of them, separate from their face-down cards. The player to the dealer’s left goes next. They, too, say “I looked through the window and saw…” and turn over a card. Again, the players call out nouns to try to win the card. At this point and beyond, players may not repeat any words that successfully won a card. (Words that were called out but beaten to the punch by another player, however, are fair game.)

Game play continues until all of the cards have been awarded to a player. Each player counts the number of cards in their won-cards pile. Whoever has the most cards wins.

Strategy

Most of the game involves quickly seeing the card, recognizing its first letter (which may not be as obvious as it seems at first; 8→E is not necessarily a quick association for some people due to the A sound at the beginning of it), and recalling a word that starts with the right letter. The first two parts are just practice. If you’re having problems thinking of words, come up with some before the game. You only need words starting with A, E, F, J, K, N, Q, S and T. At this point it just becomes an exercise of quick memory.

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