We love to play games. Gaming has been a go-to activity since my kids were very young. Board games, card games, made-up games, video games, outdoor games, you name it, we have played it. Not only are games a great way to bond as a family, but they are also rich in learning opportunities.
When I worked with children in the classroom, time and time again games were shown to be a conduit for teaching new skills in a fun and engaging way. As a tutor, I almost always found a way to turn the skills I was being paid to teach into a game-like activity.
When there is intrigue, mystery, excitement, and engagement, learning happens quickly and smoothly.
Over the years, I have watched my own kids pick up new skills rapidly or improve on developing ones by playing a variety of games together. Why choose boring activities like worksheets and when you can choose laughter, connection, and joy instead? OK, to be fair, there can be frustration and impatience (and maybe even tears depending on the ages of your kids and their level of maturity and/or competitiveness), but 99% of the time gameplay results in lasting learning that builds foundational skill sets.
WHAT KINDS OF SKILLS ARE KIDS DEVELOPING/LEARNING DURING GAME PLAY?
- NUMBER RECOGNITION & AWARENESS
- ECONOMICS/MONEY AWARENESS
- SHAPE AWARENESS
- COLOR RECOGNITION & AWARENESS
- WORD PATTERNS & RHYMING
- SENTENCE & STORY STRUCTURE
- SCIENTIFIC AWARENESS (ecology, physics, biology, chemistry, etc.)
- PHYSICAL STRENGTH
- CRITICAL THINKING
- QUICK/FAST THINKING
- TIME MANAGEMENT
- PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
- READING OPPONENTS (Body language, non-verbal skills)
- EMOTIONAL REGULATION (Patience, sportsmanship, taking turns, perseverance, dealing with frustration, respecting others)
- PSYCHOLOGICAL SATISFACTION (joy, laughter, bonding/connecting with family, developing friendships, making memories, creating rituals)
- And MORE!
Here are just some of the games we have played over the years and many we still play today. Do you see any you have never played before? Don’t be shy. Add some to your gaming collection and go have fun with your kids while they are learning.