Age level: Preschool, Early Elementary, Upper Elementary
Description: I first discovered this game at the 2014 American International Toy Fair. You can read my first impressions here. I’ve played it with several students, but it’s been a big hit with one child in particular, a 7-year-old boy with autism. He requests it often, and we have a blast playing it with his younger sister. There is no better feeling than seeing the two of them cracking up over the game. It should be noted that I suspected this would be a big hit for him as he is a very expressive child and enjoys making exaggerated facial expressions.
This simple game is designed like Go Fish, but instead of calling out the numbers on your cards to seek a match, you must make the facial expression on your card. For example, you might say, “Do you have a card that looks like this ____?” then stick out your tongue like the girl pictured on the card.
It should also be noted that my version of MimiQ is an older edition. For the newer edition, visit the GameBrotherz website. I love that the newer version has more types of expressions and actions, but miss the photos of real kids.
Skills & Modifications: The game is designed so that players must get “trumps” or three of the same card. For some students I remove the third picture from each set and require that all players find pairs. When introducing the game, I only include pictures that I know the learners can imitate. As they master the game, and if they’re highly motivated by it, I will introduce more challenging cards. A final modification I make for learners who are motivated by the game, but struggling is to include a mirror. This way they can see what they’re face looks like and make adjustments on their own instead of through prompts from an adult or peer.
Imitation – This game is all about imitation. I like that it provides a different avenue for teaching and practicing imitation and allows for peers to join in the fun.
Humor – Inevitably, there will be a picture of a facial expression you cannot make. For me, it’s the picture of a girl with one eyebrow raised. Many of my students love to see me trying to make this face unsuccessfully just as much as they enjoy making other silly faces in the game. No matter what, you’re going to end up laughting.
Identifying Emotions/Nonverbal Communication – I don’t ask questions about every card, but sometimes I’ll ask something such as “How does this boy feel?” It’s a simple way to practice the skills of identifying emotions and recognizing nonverbal communication while having fun.
Perspective Taking – This follows closely with the previous skill, but is slightly different in that I might ask “What do you think this girl is thinking?”
Peer Play – As aforementioned, this provides lots of opportunities for peers and/or siblings to be silly together. It allows for learners of a wide range of ages to enjoy play together.
Pros: I love the silliness this game inspires! It’s also a relatively quick game, and easy to shorten for learners who have shorter attention spans.
Cons: For learners who struggle with imitation skills, this may not be the best choice. At the end of the day, you still want the game to be fun. If your learner is not enjoying it, don’t push it, and don’t pair it with peer play as it may cause your learner to start avoiding peer play opportunities.
Extending the Lesson – It’s fun to extend the lesson by playing the game, then removing the cards, choosing one learner to make an expression, then have everyone else imitate it. You can give everyone a turn at making an expression before ending the activity.
Cost: $9.99 You should invest in this game if: you are working on imitation skills with your learner, you have a learner who is highly motivated by silly faces or observing faces, or you are seeking fun games for a wide range of ages.
ABLLS: D10, D11, L7
VB-MAPP: Motor Imitation 5, Motor Imitation 10