Instant Messaging

Age Range: 7 - 11

Chatting over the Internet can be great fun, and children can spend hours chatting to their friends using a messenger program (even if they are in the same room!).

Requirements - a room in which there are a number of computers, each of which is able to connect to the Internet. The software should also be installed on each computer, each of which should have their own screen name / username.


Chatting - Obviously, instant messaging software is created to be used as a way of chatting to your friends and colleagues over the Internet. Simply by using the program in this way, children will be developing their keyboard and general computer skills.

Pass the Message Around - The teacher should sit at one of the computers and send a message to another of the computers in the room. The children sitting at this computer should then pass the message on to another computer. The message should then be passed around all of the computers and back to the teacher. This activity could be timed and the class could try to get faster and faster each time a new message is passed around (it is helpful, but not essential, if the computers are arranged in a circle or semi-circle for this activity).

Simon Says - The teacher should sit at a computer and send an instruction to one of the computers, e.g. "Simon says touch your nose". The children who receive this message should then touch their nose. This should continue with the teacher sending different instructions to different computers. The children should only follow the instruction if the message begins "Simon says...". If they follow the instructions of a message which doesn't begin with the phrase, they are "out". Play continues until there is only one team left "in".

Quiz - This is an excellent activity which children really enjoy. However, it requires sharp observation skills from the teacher and sensible behaviour from the children! The teacher should sit at a computer and the teacher should call out the screen name of the computer on which he / she is working. The children should then set up a messaging window to send a message to the computer with that screen name. When all computers have done this, the fun can begin...

The teacher should shout out a question to the rest of the class. The children should then think of the answer and type it into the messaging window and send their answer to the teacher's computer as quickly as they can. The teacher should concentrate on his / her screen to see which computer sent the correct answer first. It is likely that you will get a lot of messages popping up on your screen within a short space of time!

The team who sent the correct answer in the quickest time should then get one point. The points can then be added up as more questions are asked and prizes can be awarded at the end of the lesson according to your school's reward policy.


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