17. Word association

Word association does what is says on the tin. All players sit in a circle and one person starts by saying a random word. Last night we started with ‘mouse’. The next player sitting to their left says the first word that comes into their head, based on the preceding word only. In this case it was ‘cat’. Next the player to their left says the first word that comes into their head, based on the previous word ‘cat’ but not based on any words preceding that. In this case it was ‘rat’. Continue in a clockwise direction until you have had enough.

A way to make this game more fun is to start very slowly then try and speed up. But this may be difficult for some players.

Another variation is to complete two or three rounds, then see if you can repeat the sequence using exactly the same words spoken by the same people. This is often much easier than it sounds as the words themselves will trigger your memory of what you thought of. In fact this task functions as a kind of psychological test to assess recall- some players may be very good at it, but others may struggle.

If you can all manage this, to add a really difficult element, try repeating the sequence a third time, but this time go for another person to start-in this case the person to the left of player one will say ‘mouse’. Then see how much of the sequence can be accessed, repeating again continuing round the room in a clockwise direction as previously. Finally, for a fiendishly difficult exercise, try it anti clockwise.

You may prefer the simple long version. It is surprisingly amusing when people come up with bizarre associations. Unfortunately the word seems to return to ‘poo’ with surprising frequency when this game is played in our family.

And that is all there is to it. Simple!