Educational Games

By Cheryl Feuer Gedzelman, MA

So many kids are sitting solitary at their computers. Perhaps they are playing shoot-the- aliens, or possibly they are playing educational games. The problem is, where will they learn the skill of group cooperation? Whatever happened to those board games we used to play for hours?I am happy to say, the best of the babybooomers’ favorite games are still around. Many of them are educational and will teach your children useful skills while providing indoor fun. Here is a list of games, along with skills they can teach or reinforce:

Monopoly – adding and subtracting money (speedily), commerce, real estate (so what if the prices are a little low?) and, if you play like my family, borrowing money and interest
Scrabble – vocabulary (especially if children are different ages and adults play), spelling, adding (score), multiplying (triple word score)
Mad Libs – Parts of speech (can be found at large bookstores) You plug in words to make silly stories.
Boggle – familiarity with words, vocabulary, spelling, spacial relationships
Yahtzee – addition, multiplication, thinking, predicting
Masterpiece – Develop an appreciation for art (it would be a good idea to combine with art museum visits)
Jigsaw Puzzles – spacial relationships (Use puzzles of the world or U.S. to add geography skills)
Chess – thinking, planning, predicting, analyzing, logic
Twister – OK, so it’s not so educational, but fun – promotes physical flexibility, getting along and laughing together.
Here are some newer additions:

Scruples for Kids – morals and ethics
Where in the World is Carmen Santiago? – Geography board game
(yes, it’s a computer game, too)
Where in the U.S.A. is Carmen Santiago? – ditto
Finally, kids will appreciate home-made games. I use the following math game to teach trading and multiplication tables (which can be pretty tedious to learn without a game)
Materials: – Poker chips or counters (which can be found at teacher stores) of 4 colors

2 dice
Yellow is worth one point
Red is worth 10 points
Blue is worth 100 points
White is worth 1000 points.
Objective: The first person to get a white is the winner.Procedure: Roll the dice. Take ones (yellow) to match the number you rolled. When you have 10 yellows, trade for a red. When you have 10 reds, trade for a blue. When you have 10 blues, trade for a white and you win.
When the first person gets a red, each player doubles the amount rolled. (2X table)
When someone gets the first blue, each player triples the amount rolled. (3X table)
For the second blue, each player quadruples the amount rolled. (4X table)
Repeat for other multiplication tables as desired.
This game can easily be modified.So, turn off the TV and get out those games. Enjoy a great opportunity for family togetherness and friendship. Hopefully there will be a lot of laughing and some learning, too.

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