I’ve been trying to incorporate more fun into our school days.
Fun for my boys usually either involves something active, like sword play or karate, or it involves competition. That’s where GAMES come in.
Several years ago I won a giveaway at Titus 2 Homemaker, which was pretty exciting.
Rachel brought my prize with her to the Relevant Conference: The game Sequence: States & Capitals. This game came at the perfect time (thank you Lord), because the boys and I were embarking on a study of the states, and one of our goals for the year was for them to memorize all the states and capitals.
It takes a good 45 minutes to an hour to get through a full game, and each time we do, they get just a little bit faster at coming up with the state names for the capitals on the cards, and matching the cards with the images on the game board. We LOVE it. Now that we’ve been playing it for a little while, I am thinking about buying the Sequence: Bible game too. It looks like fun!
Language development skills have been an ongoing issue for my sons.
They have both struggled with understanding word meanings. They have been through speech/language therapy, which has helped, but another key tool in their language development arsenal has been the game Blurt! Put simply, Blurt! is a fast-paced vocabulary game. The “reader” reads the definition, and the players blurt out the answer as fast as they can. There is no turn-taking in this game!
It’s fast and fun, and they love it that way. When playing with older and younger kids, it is nice because Blurt! has a built-in junior version, right on the game cards. I would just let the big kids know that the next word was a junior one, so they would let the younger boys have a chance at the word first. 🙂 The nice thing about this game is that it forces them to think really fast!
One thing my guys love to do is try to outsmart each other.
Or us. (Mostly they love to outsmart us!) When we have a spare few minutes and nothing to do, the game that invariably gets brought out is Quoridor. It takes no more than ten minutes to play a full game, and with plenty of
tricking and backstabbing plotting and strategizing to go around, they just love it. We fell in love with this game one evening while browsing in Uncle’s Games. We watched a couple of teenagers play it in the store and walked out with our own set.
The object of the game is to get your man from one side of the game board to the other, while your opponent is doing the same. The tricky part is that your opponent can build walls, or corridors, in front of you as you are trying to get across. It’s very fast and very fun, and you will end up with a line of “I’m next!” players if you play this where there are groups of people around, like when I took it to Snow Camp with our youth group.
Getting kids to do math in their heads is something I’ve always struggled with.
One way we’ve found that is great to help out with this, when they are around 7 or 8, is to teach them to play Cribbage. This is a game that my husband and I both grew up knowing how to play. I learned it from my Gramma and Aunt Bernice, and Mom and I used to play it all the time. One of the huge benefits of playing Cribbage is that kids learn to add quickly, as they are playing.
They have to follow the count and keep score as the game goes along. They will be adding numbers up to 31 (for two! hehe! You’d get it if you played Cribbage) and quickly whipping the pants off of you in the process. All of our kids are great Cribbage players. All you need is a Cribbage board with pegs, and a deck of cards. It’s also a great time killer when you have travel layovers and can even be played in the car.
Word nerds can be encouraged.
Sometimes you want to play a word game with less structure than something like Scrabble. That’s where Bananagrams comes in. It can be played anywhere you have a flat surface, it doesn’t require a board, and there are no high or low point letters. It’s like Scrabble, without the commitment! 🙂 It is yet another way to help my boys practice their spelling and expand their vocabularies. We love to play Bananagrams!