Thursday, July 17, 2014

18 Timeline Games and Activities for Classically Catholic Memory or Classical Conversations

For all 18 weeks of CCM last year I came up with a different timeline game or activity for the kids to complete. I've compiled them here for your convenience.

(And I made my first Canva design to go with it. Um, yes, I have some learning to do, just ignore the blue stuff on the bottom.)

Catch Phrase

Play Catch Phrase with your timeline cards. For the phrases, have the players pick up a card from a pile in the middle of the circle when the disc comes their way. You can play with teams or work together to guess all 8 cards before the timer runs out. This is a great review game if you put multiples weeks in the pile!

Disappearing Timeline

Write down the entire timeline on a white board and have your students read it out loud. Then have them close their eyes while you erase one or two words. When they open their eyes have them read the timeline again, stating the missing word from memory. Do this over and over until the board is blank and the students have to recite all eight cards from memory.

Word Search

Give your students a word search with no word bank. Tell them clues for the words they need to find, such as "Leif _______ and the ______" (Erickson, Vikings). You can put together a word search for free at A to Z Teacher Stuff.

Bean Bag Toss

Tape the timeline cards to the floor and label eight bean bags (or bean animals) from 1-8. Have the students toss the bag labeled "1" to the first timeline card. When they successfully get the bag to land touching the first card then have them move on to the second bag and the second card and so on.

Missing Card

Lay the cards out in order on a table. Have one student close their eyes while another student removes one card from the sequence and squeezes the cards together so that the missing card is not apparent. The first student opens their eyes and determines where the missing card belongs and identifies the name of the card. In this case "The Alamo, the Republic of Texas, and the Mexican War" is missing.

Scrabble Challenge

Beginning with the first card of the week, have the students pick one word from the card and built it with scrabble tiles. Then have them pick one word from the next card and attach it to the first card's word. Continue in this fashion until one word from all eight cards have been added to the board. Finally, have them recite the timeline using the tiles for clues.

Tube Towers

Write the eight timeline cards on eight toilet paper tubes and have the students build a tower out of them in the correct order. While building, the tower will fall down several times, which gives them more practice in committing the order to memory. Brilliant, I know. This makes for a fun co-op game if you make two sets and have the kids race to see who can complete the tower, in the correct order, without it falling over, first.

Charades Meets Blind Man's Bluff

Have a student draw a timeline card and hold it up to their forehead so that everyone can see the card but them. Those who can see the card then act out the card until the student with the card on their forehead accurately guesses the card.


Inspiration for this game comes from round two in Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. Cover the backs of each of the cards with a 3x5 card and then place them all face down. Have the students take turns trying to flip over the cards in the correct sequence. If they turn over a card that is not the next card in the sequence, then their turn is over. Once someone can complete the full sequence without missing a card, they win.


This game is like hangman, but instead of each letter getting a blank, each word gets a blank. Only letters that begin a word are written down. Below you see "Charlemagne Becomes Holy Roman Emperor". This game is best for cards that don't involve dates.

Card Hop

Place the cards around the room and have the students hop on them, in order, over and over again.

It's in the Bag

Place each card in a paper bag and then have the students alternate turns trying to find the first card in the sequence. Once the card has been found, removed the bag from the line and start looking for the next card. Do not tell the students which card they are looking for, rather once they find the card that they think is correct, have them check the back of the card to see if they are correct. If they are wrong, have them put the card back and try again.

$10,000 Pyramid

This game is a modified version of The $10,000 Pyramid. Begin by placing six of the cards facedown in a pyramid formation. Have one student turn the bottom left card over and describe the card to another student (who cannot see the cards) using only one word descriptors. (The real game uses phrases, but that's too much like the Catch Phrase game.) When the other student guesses the card correctly the first player moves to the next card. The team has 60 seconds to get all 6 cards. This is a great way to review old cards!

Crossword Puzzle

You can create a crossword puzzle using the timeline phrases at Worksheet Works.

Hide and Seek

Hide the cards around your house or backyard. Once all of the cards have been found have the kids put them in order. Younger kids love it when you hid things... it's like Easter.

Gone Fishing

Give a student a fishing pole made from a piece of string, stick, and magnet ring. Attach a large paperclip to each timeline card and spread them out in a "pond". Have the student catch the cards in order. If they catch a card out of sequence, throw it back in the pond.


Use the timeline cards to play Pictionary! I really don't think I need to explain this one.

Word Scramble

Create a timeline word scramble using the word scramble maker at Worksheet Works.

What games do you play with your timeline cards?

Be saints, it's worth it!


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