Bombadil Bingo, a Party Game or Teaching Tool

Today I had an IDEA!

Sometimes readers complain that the Bombadil chapters of The Lord of the Rings are too slow. While I do not share this opinion (especially because these were some tense scenes for me in my first read), I can certainly understand it! So while I was scrolling through a certain social network, I saw a bingo card that someone posted. I thought: “wait, is that Tolkien-inspired bingo? It is amazing what people invent!” Upon further investigation, it was just bingo for a different literary work.

At first I was disheartened because no one had invented Bombadil Bingo yet, then I realized with excitement: I had invented Bombadil Bingo! (Disclaimer: someone else may have already invented it and I am just unaware.)

Bombadil Bingo

This can be used as a party game or as a teaching tool. I will cover the party game first, then suggest how I would implement it in the classroom!

Party Game Directions

Before the party starts:

  • either tell guests to bring their own copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, or a one-volume edition of The Lord of the Rings, or make sure to have several copies for them to use
  • Use the PDF at the bottom of this post to print off the bingo cards, then cut them out
  • Make sure you have a playing space large enough for your players, their cards, and copies of the text

Once the guests arrive:

  • Tell them that you are going to play Bombadil Bingo!
  • Give each participant a game card and then give these instructions:

Each of you has a game card. Each square on these game cards has words from the songs in the Tom Bombadil scenes in The Fellowship of the Ring. Your task is to search through these songs and find page numbers for the words in a given square. Once you find the page number, write it in the appropriate square. The center square is a ‘free’ square, so i have already provided a page number to get you started! The first person to fill in page numbers for five squares in-line (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally) will get a special treat! Remember: Tom Bombadil is in chapters other than “In the House of Tom Bombadil, so don’t forget to look at those scenes too!

 

Alternate activity:

  • Follow the same instructions, but have pairs of attendees work together!

 

(Please note: there are only ten cards, so if you want a larger party, you may have to make your own, or have multiple prizes since there could potentially be more than one winner.)


Teaching Tool Idea

What you will need:

  • The bingo cards from the PDF at the bottom of this page, printed and cut out for students.
  • An instructions slip with the block of instructions for students that I wrote below.
  • Students to have access to the book

Instructions:

The class period before your students arrive at the “House of Tom Bombadil” chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring, distribute the student bingo cards cut out from the PDF at the bottom of this post. Also distribute instruction slips that read as follows:

Each of you has a bingo game card. Each square on these game cards has words from the songs in the Tom Bombadil scenes in The Fellowship of the Ring. Your assignment is to search through these songs and find page numbers for the words in a given square. Once you find the page number, write it in the correct square. The center square is a ‘free’ square, so i have already provided a page number to get you started! Each student who fills in page numbers for five squares in-line (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally) will get a special treat!

*Remember: Tom Bombadil is in chapters other than “In the House of Tom Bombadil, so don’t forget to look at those scenes too!

I would not use this as a ‘reading check’ assignment. In other words, it should not take the place of a reading quiz or other assessment to check if the student has completed the reading. Instead, I would use it as a motivational tool to encourage them to complete their homework and to actually read the songs from the chapters instead of skipping them.

I would not ask for students to return their completed cards until after the “Fog on the Barrow Downs” chapter, because some cards will require that chapter in order to find a Bingo.

The reward is up to the teacher, but since there are only ten cards, and students can take their time to complete them, be prepared for multiple claimants! The easiest thing to do is to give them a bag of candy and all it “Barrow Treasure”!


 

*Please note that the center space is intended to be a “free” space. That is why it already has a page number for the words (it is also the only square where the words are pulled from dialogue instead of song). You may wish to update the page number with your edition in order to give guests or students a hint of where to look. Otherwise, you can just tell them that it counts as already found.

Bombadil Bingo cards

 

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