How Family Game Night Improves Academics at All LevelsHeather Woodie
If you are looking for a reason to play more games as a family, you’ll want to know the benefits games can provide for improving academics. Games provide ample opportunities for academic practice at every age and stage of learning.
Benefits of Games for Early Learners
Preschoolers and elementary aged students greatly enjoy games! Although parents often cringe at playing games like Candyland (ugh!), there are great lessons for kids in these simple games. Here are just a few reason to play:
- Taking turns When you get down to the basics, playing games is about taking turns. Small children benefit from learning this skill. The earlier the better!
- Counting Basic game play usually includes counting.
- Sorting Some games ask kids to sort objects as part of the game play. Sorting is a great math skill which teaches kids to discriminate.
- Reading Although there are many games for pre-readers, these games still help preschoolers practice pre-reading skills. As your children age and play more complex games, there is more reading to practice.
- Decision Making Even games without much strategy require making simple decisions.
- Math Operations Whether you are playing with money or making a decision about a play, simple math comes into play.
- Group Interactions Learning the etiquette of group play goes beyond taking turns and includes learning to interact with other players in various ways.
Academic Reasons to Play Games with Middle Schoolers
The best part of playing games with middle schoolers is their exuberance for any type of play. Plus, they bring new skills to the party. Here is why you should make it a priority to play games with your young adolescent:
- Play More Complex Games Not only will these games provide them with many academic opportunities, but parents can have fun when they move past Candyland!
- Develop Strategy Skills There are a lot of ways to practice strategic planning while playing a game. You don’t even have to play complex games. Clue requires a strategy to win purposefully. It’s not a “gamer” sort of game, but it is still a game of strategy.
- Practice Math Skills You don’t even have to be playing a math game to get this in. There are plenty of games with math skills attached like Monopoly or Settlers of Catan where you must save resources.
- Word Skills How many of you play Scrabble on family game night? If you start young and build slowly, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your kids will become a formidable opponent.
How Game Play Helps Homeschooled Teens
If you are the parent of a teenager, then you know time feels short with their increased educational schedule and all the other things they are pursuing. Is it really important to include games for teens? There are strong academic reasons to include teens in family game night.
- Strategy Building Older kids have the complex reasoning ability to tackle strategy skills. Choose games which foster strategic thought, and you will see improvement.
- Continued Practice Games provide review of the basics such as word skills, math skills, etc.
- Great Potential for Mastery Although it makes them impossible to play with, I love to watch my kids figure out a game.
Teens are fun because they get the game and they play well. It gives parents a challenge and makes for an enjoyable hour at the table.
Need Ideas of How to Incorporate Games at Home?
- 100 Family Games for Kids of Ages How many of these does your family have? Think of this post as the annotated bibliography of games!
- Math Journals Among other things, this includes a look at a notebook page devoted to all the ways you use math in a game of Monopoly.
- Resources for Teaching Human Geography is a blog post I wrote including a special preview of the game Civitas. Civitas lets families experiences forms of government and is a great game for parents and kids alike.
Of course, I focused on the academic benefits of family game night, but there are others as well. Making it a priority to sit down once a week to play with each other is time well spent. It keeps families connected and requires little effort or cost.
Pick up a game today and ask your kids to join you!