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What's in a Game?
Kathryn L. Stout, B.S.Ed., M.Ed.
Published: September 1999
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While students require practice in order to master any skill, that practice does not have to be tedious. By incorporating games into your lesson plans, kids have a chance to improve skills and have fun-which fosters a love of learning.
Reading and math readiness skills can be practiced by children ages 3-7 with the following games by Milton Bradley:
- CANDYLAND - Practice color recognition and counting.
- CHUTES AND LADDERS - Practice counting and following directions.
- MEMORY - Builds skill in recalling what is seen (visual memory).
- YAHTZEE JUNIOR - Practice matching. (The card game GO FISH also provides matching practice.)
- Various versions of BINGO allow practice with recognition of numbers or colors and shapes.
Build vocabulary and/or grammar skills with the following games for ages 8-adult:
- BOGGLE by Parker Brothers. Timed word searches provide spelling and vocabulary practice.
- PASSWORD by Endless Games. Players use antonyms and synonyms.
- SCRABBLE by Milton Bradley. There are also junior versions of the game. This game sharpens spelling and vocabulary, but also uses math and strategy skills.
To encourage deductive reasoning-an objective in both math and reading comprehension-try any or all of the following:
- BATTLESHIP by Milton Bradley. Ages 7- adult.
- CLUE (Ages 8+) or CLUE JUNIOR by Parker Brothers. Ages 5-8.
- CONCENTRATION by Endless Games increases visual memory and requires deductive reasoning to solve a phrase revealed little-by-little. Ages 10 - adult
- CONNECT 4 by Milton Bradley. Ages 7 - adult
- GUESS WHO by Milton Bradley. Ages 6+.
- MASTERMIND by Pavilion. Ages 8 - adult. There are junior versions. A terrific game for straight-forward deduction.
- OTHELLO by Pressman. Ages 8 - adult.
- RISK by Parker Brothers. Ages 10 - adult. Strategy skills. The playing board reinforces geography.
- 30 SECOND MYSTERIES by University Games. Ages 12 - adult. Solve the mystery using as few clues as possible.
Math games by Parker Brothers:
- PAYDAY Ages 8 - adult. Kids experience budgets and family finances.
- MONOPOLY Ages 8-adult. Buying and selling.
- RACKO Ages 8-adult. Strategy is involved to arrange number cards from lowest to highest.
Most of these games are inexpensive and available at toy stores. Check yard sales and Goodwill-type stores for less-expensive, used sets. They not only help your children build important educational skills, but provide an opportunity for fun as a family.