Games have come a long way since I was a kid. Be ready, I am going to age myself here. Candyland, Mousetrap and Sorry may still be around, but these days games seem to be evolving to keep up with the ever growing mania of computers, iPhones and social media. Not that that is a bad thing. As a matter of fact, I am slowly learning to use games to my advantage. Teaching school just got easier!
Yep, we are schooling with games!
Not every day, mind you, though I have one child who would jump on that bandwagon. But certainly more often than I used to.
Let me show you how to school with games!
Let’s start off simple here since most families can dig out a pack of cards from somewhere. Our favorite game is 10 Facts. Yes, I made that name up, but I did not make the game up. I am pretty sure it came from one of our math curriculums years ago. The concept is simple. Remove the face cards, deal each player seven cards, and have a discard pile. When it is your turn you ask for a card that would make a ten fact in your hand. You know – 1+9, 2+8. If the opponent does not have the card you asked for, they draw a card and then play goes to the next player. Think go fish, math style!
Also, remember that just having littles play simple games with cards increases their recognition of numbers.
We also use cards for memory games in a pinch, but love having separate memory games in our arsenal!
There is no better way to teach cooperation than a board game. It also teaches life skills like how to be a good loser and a gracious winner. In addition, problem solving skills learned in some board games are immeasurable! We often break the suggested age rules and challenge even our 8 year old to play strategy games. Even at 8 he can hold his own in games like Coup and Love Letter.
Have you ever played Sequence? Did you know there is a states and capitals version? Yep, that is how we learn our states and capitals! Why not try monopoly in a theme for learning?
I am not a huge fan of online games and we are pretty strict with our screen time around here, but, yes, I will admit there are some good apps out there. My kids have learned amazing history from Dig-It! games, and reading skills from apps like Reading Eggs! Just pick a theme your kids are interested and explore the app store. So many are free these days so it is a win-win situation.
If you haven’t noticed, printables make the world go around these days. They are everywhere – from dedicated web sites to bloggers looking to pull you in. And many make great games to further your child’s learning. We found this one recently on Super Teacher Worksheets that teaches facts about states and capitals. Ask me how many times we have played it!
Blankets can turn into forts and brooms into muskets. Especially after particularly interesting history lessons, a good game of pretend can help to solidify the things you have studied. Trust me, things played out and repeated (over and over and over again) will stick in a child’s head much more easily. When that Civil War history shows up on a CLEP test, guess whose child is going to remember it? We also love games that just make you think outside the box and stretch the creative side of you. Logic type games allow kids to use a side of their brains not used as often in straight book learning. Plus, do not forget that kids learn through play! Let them play! The days of play are fleeting, take it from one who knows all too well.
Can we play all day? According to moms everywhere- no! But let me encourage you to make time to play and learn with games more often than not. Your kids will thank you and learn along the way!