Wink Murder | Classic Drama Game for Group Awareness and Subtlety

Wink Murder is a favourite among my students. This classic game is great for concentration when the class are overly energised. Better yet, it can be played virtually or while social distancing.

There are a variety of ways this can be played. With my younger students, I tend to have them sit in a circle. This allows me to make sure everyone understands what is going on and that they’re playing correctly (sometimes kids who are NOT the murderer can be known to wink!). It also makes things a little bit easier for the detective.

With older groups, moving around the room adds an extra challenge. More space also allows more opportunity for a good old dramatic death!

Instructions for playing in class

COVID-19 Update!
Mark spaces for the students two metres apart. Instead of asking the students to close their eyes, point to the selected murderer in silence. The children will have to work hard not to give it away but it means you don’t have to touch the children.
  • Select one student as the detective and ask them to leave the room.
  • Ask the remaining students to close their eyes.
  • Touch one student on the head – this student then takes on the role of the murderer.
  • Ask the detective to reenter the room.
  • At this point, you can either ask the students to stay in their space or have them move around the room.
  • The murderer must discretely wink at other players who will then pretend to die – dramatically!
  • The detective has three chances to guess who the murderer is.

Top tip: Some students find winking quite difficult. Before beginning the game demonstrate a wink and ask all students to practise. If you encounter any students who find it too difficult, explain to the group that this person may instead give an obvious blink if chosen as the murderer.

Instructions for playing virtually

  • Choose one player to be the detective and announce who the person is to the whole group.
  • Privately message the player selected as the murderer.
  • Once the game begins, have the player who is the murderer privately message anyone who they would like to kill.
  • Players who have been murdered should do their best dramatic death, before switching off their camera to show they are no longer in the game.
  • The detective has three chances to guess the murderer. They should make each of these guesses verbally.

Top tip: Before starting the game, explain to the group how to send a private message via your chosen platform. Have everyone send you a private message to try this out.

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Need help keeping your students socially distant? Try marking a space using the following:

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Rebecca is the founder and chief executive officer of Silly Fish Learning Ltd. She is a children's playwright with a vast and varied career in education, primarily teaching drama and English.

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