My sister-in-law once said to me, “I’ve never seen someone get so excited about getting other people’s trash.” I quickly corrected her by saying, “These (milk jug lids) aren’t trash; they are teaching treasures!” Inspired by the same Facebook video as

Sliding Sorts, Clash! is another game involving milk jug lids and other so-called trash. In the game’s original version, students race to be the first to match words to form compound words.

Making Compound Clash

This game requires some “trash” as well as two purchased items. To make the game, you’ll need:

First, I used Microsoft Publisher to create labels for the toilet paper tubes. I put a line down the middle so each label could be easily cut in half, one half for each side of the tube. On each half, I put the first word in the compound word and a picture of the completed compound word. Placing a label on each side of the tube doubled the number of students who could play with each set and reduced the number of toilet paper tubes I needed. I did have a little trouble getting the labels to stick to the tubes (possibly because the labels I was using were quite old), but the problem was quickly and cheaply remedied by putting a strip of clear packing tape around the tube. This had the added benefit of reinforcing the tube a bit as well.

Second, I printed the second half of the compound word on the round labels and affixed each to the top of a milk jug lid. You’ll need to create each on a single color of lid and want a different colored set for every other student. Again, I used 1.5-inch diameter labels for this (mostly because I still had some left from making Sliding Sorts), but in the future, I’ll likely use 1-inch diameter circles so they don’t fold over the edge at all.

I created a set of 15 compound words for my game. For every four students, I needed 15 toilet paper tubes and 60 lids (in at least two different colors). Storing the game took a bit of thought as it is too big to easily fit in my current compound word storage box. I ended up using a small shoebox to hold the tubes and placing the lids in sandwich bags inside the compound word storage box. It’s cheap, easy to transport to and from school, and sits nicely on my storage shelves while still protecting the tubes from being crushed.

Playing Compound Clash

To set up the game, line the toilet paper tubes down the center of the table with the labels facing each side. Have four students sit, two on each side of the table, and give each student a set of lids and a bottle. The goal of the game is to be the first to connect two words to form the compound word pictured on the tube. When the start is called, students dump their lids on the table and use the bottle to create an air current to slide the lid across the surface (theoretically, students could use their mouths to blow the lids, but that would spread a lot of germs and no one needs that in their classroom) and match the halves of the compound words pictured on each tube. Will students’ lids run into one another? Yes. (I do make the rule that once a lid is successfully slid against its corresponding tube, it can’t be moved.) Will they accidentally (and purposefully) blow one another’s lids off course? Yes. Will players’ actions on the other side of the table affect the tube placement? Yes. (If a tube is knocked over completely, the player who caused it to tumble must set it back upright.) That’s all part of the fun!

Once all of the compound words have been formed, the clash is over, and scoring begins. Players score one point for each compound word they were the first to correctly form. The player with the most points is the winner. Check out this short video to see a tiny piece of the action:

Alternative Play: Faceoff

The Faceoff version of play is perfect for smaller classes because, while still incredibly fun, it reduces the number of students using each set of tubes by half. Instead of having students race to be the first to get their lid to the matching tube, only play one student per side of the tube. The goal is then to be the first student to match all lids to tubes, thus forming all of the compound words. The first student to finish gets five points. Students then earn one point for each correctly formed compound word. The winner is the student with the most points.


I have made other versions of the game, specifically Clash of the Irregulars, both a verb and a noun version. I’ll include the downloads for those as well. I’m sure in time, I’ll come up with other versions (phrasal verbs are rumbling around in my head at the moment), but I need to build up my supply of lids and tubes first. 😉

As with Sliding Sorts, this game was a hit with my adult students, and I’m confident middle school students would love it just as much. I also believe it would be a success with elementary and high school students as well. Start saving toilet paper tubes and milk jug lids, and give it a try yourself. I bet your students like it as much as mine do! Happy teaching, everyone.

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