Have you ever announced to a group of children “It’s time to play a game”?
Their eyes start to sparkle, their faces light up with excitement, and they let out a chorus of joyful cheers. Kids love playing – there’s no doubt about that – and board games are no exception.
What if you could use board games to enhance learning? What if they weren’t looked at as just something you did after school or during play time, but as a tool in your homeschooling toolbox?
That brings us to gameschooling…incorporating games into the school day to create a fun learning environment that turns difficult subjects into play.
What child wouldn’t love that?
Games can help your child overcome the subjects they struggle with. Do you have a first grader who gets frustrated tears in their eyes at the very mention of the word “math”? Introduce games! Dry their tears, and try playing a math game to help them understand simple concepts like subtraction or addition. There are countless games out there that teach subjects that your kids may struggle to grasp, and they do it in an extremely painless way.
They teach your kids important life-skills. Think about all the different skills that games can teach: teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and good sportsmanship, just to mention a few. To grow up into successful, people-oriented adults, your kids are going to need to learn those skills in some way or another. Why not through the fun challenge of a good board game?
They enhance the subjects your kids are learning. Sometimes it seems like there are as many games as there are stars in the sky, and you could probably find one (or make up your own!) to cover just about every subject your kids learn. Need help learning math? Monopoly or Rack-o. History? Try Trailblazer. I probably still wouldn’t know the geography of the U.S. and state capitals if it hadn’t been for games like The Scrambled States of America Game or 10 Days in the USA. Games are like books — they teach without your kids even realizing that they’re learning. (Check out this post for a detailed list of games that cover multiple different subject areas.)
Your family can learn (and play) together! Learning is always better if you do it together, and games let you do just that. I think you’d be surprised at how your younger kids, with a little help from you, will catch onto the games that the older children play (if they aren’t too hard!). And, as for your toddler who always begs to be involved, let them! They can join your team and help you roll the dice or pick cards. Turn it into a family activity and make it more fun for everybody!
Some help your toddler fine-tune their motor skills. Take the classic game of Candy Land, for example. When your child plays it, they are picking and discarding cards, moving and sliding their pieces, and learning and matching colors. It helps them work on fine motor skills, like grabbing, while they are having fun. What can beat that?
It makes your kids think! A love for learning partly stems from a love to think and be creative. Choose games that challenge your kids and make them think and problem-solve. You’re helping cultivate their minds to be able to think critically about problems and strategies and figure them out on their own.
Children just want to explore their world and have fun while they are doing it. Schedule a game into your school day, and watch their eyes light up as they think, strategize, and learn while they’re having fun.
After all, fun and learning is what homeschooling is all about, right?
What are your favorite educational games?