There is a virtually endless list of educational games and products available on the market which, collectively focus on pretty much every aspect of education and learning imaginable. But in this post I want to invite you to explore the educational benefits of some common games which are either completely free or generally available in most households.
We know that children learn best while they are having fun. Besides the specific aspects mentioned for each game all the games below help to develop your child’s social skills by encouraging turn taking, teaching them to share and to lose graciously (Yes, yes – it’s a process, but they’ll get there eventually).
Schedule a games evening and invite friends and family to bring along some of their own games, or scrape together which ever of the following games you have in the house for an impromptu games challenge on a rainy day.
Snakes and Ladders – Man! You can’t beat a game of snakes and ladders for early maths practice. Not only do children learn spatial concepts such as “up” and “down” but they are required to count the dots on the dice and then then corresponding amount of blocks to move your game piece. Children are naturally encouraged to add and subtract as they move ahead and backward over the board. Don’t have a game board? No problem – have you children draw their own on a piece of paper. You could even boost their imagination by suggesting they come up with a different theme – dragons and rainbows, anyone?
Chess – chess is renowned as a strategy game and will do wonders for your child’s planning ability. New players will have to really employ their memory skills to remember which moves each piece is allowed to make and your child will be enhancing his spatial orientation skills as he plans where each piece will end up after he has made his move.
Cluedo – This murder mystery-themes game is full of intrigue and surprise. Children get to practice their logic and deductive thinking skills and refine the process of elimination.
Jenga – I’ve never met anyone who does not enjoy a good game of Jenga and it is the perfect way help younger children enhance their fine motor skills.
Trivial Pursuit – this game offers a fun way in which to enhance your child’s general knowledge skills – everything from art, history, geography, literature, science, nature and sport will come up for discussion.
30 -seconds for older children or Pictionary for younger kiddos will help sharpen general knowledge and thinking skills and is a great way to broaden your child’s vocabulary.
Like Pictionary and 30-seconds, Charades is a word guessing game, but verbal clues are not allowed and players have to act out a word, phrase or title for his or her team mates o guesss. Charades encourages “out the box” thinking and is a fun way to enhance your child’s auditory perception as players can indicate that the the word to be guessed “sounds like” something else which is easier to demonstrate. For instance a player can indicate that the word to be guessed (fake) sounds like “snake” (player acts like a snake). Words or phrases can also be broken into syllables which the player then indicates by holding up fingers to represent syllable (for instance a player can indicate that a word has three syllables by holding up three fingers). The acting often requires whole body movements, so it can be used to enhance your child’s gross motor skills as well.
Anel Annandale is a prominent Educational Psychologist with a passion for early childhood development and a special interest in neuropsychology.
She is experienced in the field and has established herself as an expert, often appearing on television shows such as Exspresso. She is also available as a guest speaker at relevant events and functions.