You’ve probably already discovered that we like games around here. Games are an excellent way to learn new information and to help your children retain the information they’ve already learned.
Have any of you read the original “Cheaper by the Dozen”? Yes, I did say read, the movie doesn’t count. The book is fantastic, and one of my favorite parts was how the father made learning so much fun!
He played games with his children, at the breakfast table, at the dinner table, on vacation, he even drew on the walls! He played whenever and wherever he could and he encouraged his kids to play and learn all day long. He made it feel like a natural part of life.
I incorporate games as often as I can into our day. They are even more effective than traditional schooling at helping my kids learn.
Board games are great, but I don’t stop there. We play clapping games, logic games, mental games, interpersonal games, trivia games, and role-play. Games are wonderful for all ages, but especially children.
As adults it is easy to forget the value of games, but games are a child’s job. It’s how they learn about their world and test out ideas. Creating imaginary worlds as children will help them with creative thinking and writing later in their schooling. Pretending to be super heroes teaches them boldness and courage, allowing them to imagine themselves being part of a world bigger than themselves.
Games that cross the body, utilize both sides of the brain creating strong connections and encouraging coordination, creativity and imagination. These types of games help children later combine both logic and imagination. Thus helping them to use the visualization side of their minds while they logically read words in a book.
Here are a few of our recent favorites:
This is a traditional clapping game that requires you to clap a rhythm while saying items in a specific category – i.e. school supplies, nature, Disney characters, etc. – becoming progressively harder and harder the longer you play.
We have used this game with and without clapping; In the car, when we are bored standing in line, as a group during circle time, and while I make dinner. It can be tailored to all age groups from preschool to grandparents. With the younger children I like to pick categories such as: “things that are red”, “items in the kitchen” or “animals”. For older children and adults you can pick more challenging categories such as “breeds of dogs”, “things in space”, or “major events of the 20th Century”. All categories are on the table.
You Know Me: Guess a famous character
The idea behind this game is for one person to think of a famous character. That person then gives clues about the person they are thinking of, and the others try to guess who it is.
Whoever guesses right, gets to pick the next character.
This game is again easily adapted to all ages. For the littles, Disney characters or Mother Goose. For older players, famous actors, TV personalities, or historical figures.
So, next time your homeschool day is getting a little dull, and the kids are fussy and fidgety, break out the games for a change of pace. You’ll be amazed at how it changes the atmosphere.
How do you incorporate games into your day?