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Get a Country

Get a Country is not a game I use so often, but every time I get to teach countries with my young students I get this game out as it is less complex than most other country card games and available in Japan. I just wish I could use it with my university students, for heaven knows they need it, but it’s hands on until students get the hang of the game. I am always surprised at the lack of knowledge and interest many of the students display when it come to other countries, but thankfully my elementary school and junior high school students are nearly always eager to learn, and it doesn’t do me any harm either. The playing instructions are written below and are very adaptable, for example with the focus on ‘from’. A child lays down a card face up and says “I’m from Fiji in Australasia. Jon are you from Australasia?” “Yes, I am. I’m from New Zealand.” and he hands over the card or “No, I’m not. Get a country.” and a card is taken by the player from the pack and her card picked up from the table.  


get a country sample


The instructions, examples and games below can, with some adapting, also be used with my card games Dealing with Sounds 1 and Dealing with Sounds 2.


                                                                                                  dealing with sounds cover card 1 dealing with sounds cover card 2


Basic Playing Instructions

  1. Deal 7 cards to each player and put the rest face down in the centre, then students lay down, face up, any pairs of geographical area cards they have saying for example “Portugal and Spain are in Southern Europe”.
  2. The first child (Jon) chooses a card from his hand (eg ” Portugal”) and asks “(Ann), where is Portugal?” Ann answers “It’s in Southern Europe.” and hands over the card and play passes to the next player or ” I don’t know. Get a country (from the pack).”, then play passes to the next player.
  3. Anytime a child has a set of 2 cards he lays them face up on the table saying as in 1 (one) above. When a player has no more cards in her hand, then play continues until it’s her turn again. She can either pick up a bonus card from the pack and play or the game now ends. Cards on the table can be counted as points and cards in your hand as negative points should it be so desired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               More games

    1. Country Snap: 3-6 players

    Shuffle the cards and deal the whole pack facedown to the players. Players should not look at their cards.

    In unison children turn over the top card of the pile saying “country snap” (or something else) and each player lays the card face up in front of him or herself and says what is on the card i.e. “I’m from Fiji”, “I’m from Egypt” or wherever. Players keep going over cards until a suitable match is seen, for example “Canada” and “The USA”, then players ‘jan-ken’ saying “North America”. The winner then picks up both piles of cards. If someone loses all of his cards, then he can join in any “Jan-Ken” and get back into the game, when played this way cards don’t get bent, hands don’t get crunched and everyone has a chance of staying in the game, so it’s best to set a time limit (say 10 minutes) and then the winner, if you need one, will be the person with the most cards.

         When playing with 3 players a match may be hard to come by, so take a couple of the geographical areas first.




  1. Pelmanism (Concentration)


Shuffle the pack and layout all the cards face down in a grid. In this version each player turns over two cards, form a sentence for each card using geographical area and country and if there is a match he keeps those cards and play passes to the next player. If there is no match, then leave those two cards face up but every time there is a match one face up card must be turned  face down. This way the game will only last about 10 minutes instead of 30 minutes or so.




  1. Rummy


Basically each player is dealt seven cards and the remainder of the pack is placed face down on the table and the top card turned over and placed next to the pack. The idea of the game is to collect a set of three or four cards belonging to the same set. Each player has a choice of taking the face up card or taking the top card from the pile. A player cannot keep more than seven cards in his hand and so must discard one of his cards by placing it on top of the face up pile on the table and while doing this he must form a sentence with his card i.e. “Greece is in Southern Europe”. When a player has a set of three or four cards in his hand then he can lay them down face up on the table but must form a sentence with each card in turn. These rules are off the top of my head, so if you’re not familiar with the game of rummy, then look it up on the Internet.


dealing with sounds


Geographical Areas and Countries


Scandinavia: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

The British Isles: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales

Western Europe: Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands

Eastern Europe: Belarus, Poland, Romania, Ukraine

Southern Europe: Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain

North America: Canada, Greenland, Mexico, The USA

Central America: Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua

South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru

Northern Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan

Eastern Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Southern Africa: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland

The Middle East: Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria

Eastern Asia: China, Japan, Mongolia, South Korea

Southern Asia: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Australasia: Australia, Fiji, New Guinea, New Zealand

And finally I have to recommend this great world map.

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