Learning with Games

For many, it’s that time of year. You’re on the home stretch, you were focused on finishing the school year strong, and then it happened… the mid-term blahs settled in. You’re not alone. Even the most gung-ho of homeschool moms can fall prey to these insidious attacks.  But, don’t worry! The remedy is simple; shake up school by breaking out some educational games!

Our family is big into games. In fact, where most people have a linen closet, we have a game closet! Being a unit study mom, and author of Once-a-Week Unit Studies, it’s not unusual for me to teach outside the box while placing an emphasis on making learning fun and interesting. That’s one reason I like to include hands-on activities and employ various means of “getting the point across.” And, that’s where games can play an important role too.

Games are invaluable for keeping our brains sharp, teaching critical thinking skills and teamwork, and instilling good sportsmanship and creativity. But games are also useful for teaching vocabulary, math, spelling, and even geography. I’m a big believer in the more fun you make learning, the better kids will retain the information they are taught. Games help them do exactly that!

Word games are an obvious choice for improving spelling and vocabulary. In fact, rather than completing a typical writing or spelling assignment, why not reach for the game cabinet every now and then? Some of our family’s number one picks are Upwords, Scrabble, and Boggle. Our more recent favorites are Quiddler and Bananagrams.Math games are a great reprieve from mundane workbooks. Two great options are Rummikub and Skip-Bo. Both are what our family refers to as excellent “brain games” that also involve a surprising amount of strategy. Othello, Pentago, and Chess are some other great options.rummicubWe found playing Constitution Quest has been a great way to improve our Constitutional I.Q., and our geography and critical thinking skills have been put to task with 10 Days Across the USA , 10 Days in Europe, and Discovery Toys’ Know That Country. Each is outstanding!BLUE_01

I’ve often replaced a typical school assignment with a game, but there have been some days when I just plain woke up on the wrong side of bed and knew we needed to shake things up a bit. I figured if I needed a change my kids probably did too. For that, the remedy was an entire day devoted to nothing but reading and playing educational games.

Indeed, games are a great way to teach important skills, but they are priceless for sharing family moments AND changing our homeschool mindset. Remember, learning doesn’t always have to be driven by curriculum. Some of our best learning can happen while we’re having fun learning with games!

10 thoughts on “Learning with Games

  1. Amy says:

    Thanks, Sharon!

    We love playing games! Great recommendations! I’ve been looking for fun ways to teach geography (my least favorite subject to teach)!

    Thanks again! 🙂

  2. Kelly says:

    Games is something we certainly need more of! I’m on the lookout for good games to purchase. However, I am of a similar mindset as you — and I am very glad to read this from you — that some days are a change from the usual, except our diversionary days are usually ‘movie days.’. I try to get him to watch a variety of videos (not the 2-hour kind usually) but he usually just wants to watch Liberty’s Kids episodes one after another. So, that pretty much becomes ‘history day’ as well, lol. We do have Zingo (sight word bingo) and he although he’s not a fan of phonics workbooks often, he loves Zingo. Thank you for the validation of our diversionary days 🙂

    • sharon@homeschoollegacy.com says:

      “Diversionary Days”…I like it! Movie days and Liberty Kids episodes are terrific options! I often include them in my Once-a-Week Unit Studies. Video options are a great way to mix up your curriculum and make learning more fun. The more educational methods you employ the better, and the more senses your kids use the more information they will retain. Equally important…the more fun you make learning for your kids, the more fun you will have too. Blessings!

  3. Lisette says:

    Thank you very much Sharon for all the recommendations, we love fun learning! I just showed the list to my kids and they got very excited!

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