Winning a game is always fun, but winning an easy game is nowhere near as satisfying as coming out on top in a challenging game. Getting kids to accomplish challenging tasks in a game setting is an excellent way to prepare them for problem solving in the real world. Consider playing some games based on spelling, math, trivia, science, health, social sciences and geography.
Tetris is a classic game in which players must arrange a series of falling geometric shapes into straight lines. Each time an unbroken line is created, it disappears, causing the overall structure formed by the falling blocks to recede by the number of lines made. As players complete levels, the speed of the falling blocks increases, making each level more challenging than the last. This game can help kids develop special recognition skills and develop strategies. For example, children who think to create spaces in their structures shaped like some of the available blocks can fill those spaces easily.
Trivia games are a great way for children to learn new information, as well as recall information they've learned in the past. Organize the kids into two teams. Take turns asking each team a trivia question that has four possible answers. Providing multiple-choice questions allows the kids to make a guess even if they have no idea about the answer. Consider categories such as science, social studies, health and geography. Each time you ask a team a question, team members must talk among themselves and try to convince each other of the right answer. They must then submit one answer as a group. Keep playing until you run out of questions. The team that answers the most questions correctly wins the game.
Word scrambles are more challenging for some students than others. Kids who are accustomed to reading phonetically may have a hard time, whereas kids who use other strategies for reading, e.g., recognizing the shapes of the letters that make up the word, may have an easier time. Start off with simple words such as "dogs" or "plant" and progress to more challenging words such as "river," "squirrel" and "dentists."
Memorizing the multiplication tables can be both challenging and fun. Try playing a game in which two children are asked to stand up and answer a multiplication question, such as "What is 3 times 7" as quickly as they can. The first person to get it right stays in the game. The other player is out. Keep playing this game until there's only one player left, who is declared the winner.
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