The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Educational Games

Monday, August 1, 2011

Educational Games

I was browsing Amazon the other day and found that there are many new educational games for the 2nd to 5th grade crowd.  If I were a kid, I'd enjoy playing these games:
  1. Rory's Story Cubes - The writer in me loves this game because it involves creating stories from key words on the cubes.  It's also very similar to a game I played with my own kids years ago where we would take turns adding parts to a story while we drove on long trips.
  2. ThinkFun Math Dice Jr. - The puzzler in me loves this game because the object of the game is to combine several numbers using any operation to get the key number on the white dice.  While this may not sound like fun in the true sense of the word, it will challenge young mathematicians to be creative in solving number problems.  This also an older version for more advanced students: Think Fun Math Dice
  3. Angry Birds: Knock On Wood Game - I admit I'm addicted to the Angry Birds game on my tablet.  However, this real-life wood and slingshot version is definitely educational because the players must copy the structure shown on the card and then consider the most effective means of destroying it with the bird and slingshot. Make sure your kids play this on a carpet to keep down the noise level and that you have lots of room for flying wood :-)
  4. Scrambled States - More than a simple map/puzzle game, this game gets participants noticing everything from colors and ABC's order to  comparisons and contrasts.  Players must find the right state in their pile that has a capital with three three syllables, for example.  A great American geography game and early SAT prep strategies!  This games links to the book The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller.
  5. Totally Gross The Game  - This isn't your average party game, but it sure looks fun for the younger crowd who delight in gross stuff like vomit, toe jam, and ear crud.  However, tossed into the hilarity of the game are cold hard science facts that are difficult to forget.  The games covers all the major sciences, not just human anatomy and comes with a container of slime, which you stretch in a number line each time a player answers a question correctly.  Tons o' fun!
I'm sure there are plenty of other educational games out there, but these seem to be the newest of the new and provides a cross-section of curriculum-related topics for parents and teachers.  Post here if you have any other educational games you and the children in your life enjoy playing. (PS - just for the record, I totally dislike games with timers because they force the players to think rapidly rather than consider all alternatives, which to me is a more desirable life skill... just sayin'!)

Happy Parenting and Happy Teaching!   

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