Over the years we have used many games for learning tools. I have a cabinet full of wonderful games.
We have used the classic game of ‘Scrabble’ for spelling on several occasions, although not so much as a competitive game but for my kids to practice their word lists. I have them take their list of words and try to arrange the letter tiles on the board so that they form a crossword of them. They also get a kick out of using sidewalk chalk and writing their words as big as they can on the driveway. We have also incorporated spelling into basketball. I give them a word, they have to spell it correctly, and then they get to shoot to score a point. If they miss the hoop, they spell it again for another chance. They get to shoot until they score as long as they spell the word correctly.
Other classics that we love to play are ‘Monopoly’ and ‘Payday’. We have used them to strengthen math skills. We have also used a deck of cards to practice the multiplication tables. Each card is its face value with the jack, queen, and king as 11, 12, and 13 respectively. They flip over 2 cards then multiply them. If they are correct it goes into one pile; incorrect another. Then they shuffle the incorrect pile and go through the process again until all the cards are in the correct pile. We have used Dominos in a similar fashion. Larry Burkett’s ‘Money Matters‘ really helps them learn about budgeting. We also enjoy a good game of ‘Yahtzee!’ whose mathematical benefits are obvious.
For geography, which is one of my daughter’s favorite subjects, we play ‘Great States’. She also enjoys playing the computer classic, ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ and ‘Carmen Sandiego’s Great Chase through Time’ For history, we love Amy Pak’s games that are part of her Time Travelers packs. Even when we have finished the units, we go back to play them.
For English, we have made up games using word tiles and played games similar to Scrabble, creating silly sentences. We have also used them to play what we call ‘Add a Word’ where they take turns adding words to come up with very long and crazy sentences. Because the tiles are color coded to the parts of speech, I have also written sentence patterns on the black board and they have to create sentences using those patterns.
Games we play that provide and overall review and challenge are ‘Go to the Head of the Class ’, ‘Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?’ and ‘Trivial Pursuit Junior’. We also play ‘Bible Challenge’ and ‘The Ungame’ to improve our knowledge of God’s word and to examine our relationships with Him.
After doing this assignment it makes me want to spend the day playing some of these wonderful games.