As a child of the 50's and 60's, I grew up playing games like Monopoly, Clue and Life. There are so many skills I learned by playing these games with my brother...counting, money, reading and more.
I love having games available in the classroom for centers and for play. Besides learning basic skills in math or language arts, life skills can be learned.
Here's a few reasons why I recommend games in the classroom.
1. Engagement - Haven't you observed pre-school children play games in their classroom? All students love to play games. Playing games is motivating. Students are so involved, they don't realize they're learning or reinforcing skills.
2. Cooperative and Social Skills - Students learn to play positively as a team member or how to take turns when playing games. Students can even get in a little peer tutoring with struggling learners. Most games have a winner, so being a good sport is important.
3. Problem Solving Skills - Many games involve strategy and problem solving skills. These skills are critical for later life.
I try to incorporate games in most of my products. My life cycle units have fun games included. Many of the board games can be adapted by just changing the game cards.
There's an online site for creating Bingo cards. Just enter the words you want to use and then print out cards for your classroom.
I love using themes for games. I've created math games for every season and holidays. I include lots of dice games.
There are gameshow templates you can download from the Internet. I created several Jeopardy games for my informational text units. I also recommend creating a PowerPoint editable template with slides where you can enter your own questions. No extra work! Just add your questions and answers.
Memory cards are so easy to create for science, social studies, vocabulary and math. Can you think of other ways to use these cards?
Have your students ever created their own games? There are some great websites and YouTube videos that have excellent tutorials. My invention unit has an Invent Your Own Game project. Parents and other classes are invited for Game Day.
There are so many apps and online games for students to play. One of my favorite websites is Johnny's Math Page. It's even had a facelift. Students never get tired of playing these games. It doesn't matter how simple or difficult a game is, students love to play while they're learning.