This is one of the easiest ways to turn learning into a game. All you need is a package of index cards, or blank flash cards available at teacher supply stores, and your imagination. Make two sets of cards, shuffle, place face down on the table and let the games begin. What can you put on the two sets of cards?
* math facts/answers
* two sets of facts with the same answer
* numbers/number words
* fractions/drawing representing the fraction
* CVC or sight words/pictures representing the words
* Capital/lower case letters
* historical figure’s name or picture/facts about that person
* planets/facts about the planet
* vocabulary or spelling words/definition
* anything you can imagine!
If you can play memory with it, you can also play bingo with it. You can make your own bingo cards using the “table” feature of your word processing program or you can use the templates found here. We like to use bingo for CVC/sight word practice, using the words, themselves, as the call cards. We’ve also used it for studying history facts and many of the other memory ideas listed above.
You can turn a variety of board games into educational fun for school. Simply have your child answer a question before moving his playing piece. For example, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Cootie Bug, etc. make great reading practice. Once the child rolls the die, he must read the word (or even spell the word, give a definition, answer a math fact) before she moves the number rolled.
Checker boards can be covered with math facts to be answered when landing on a space — or words to be read, defined, given a synonym/antonym/homonym, etc.
Scrabble is great for practicing spelling and practicing CVC words. Even if you don’t use the board, the tiles are great! They can even be used for a young child learning the alphabet…just be careful with the small pieces.
These are great for studying spelling or vocabulary words. You can make your own here.
Traditional Pen/Paper Games
Hangman is great for practicing spelling words. Tic-tac-toe can be used for reading and math games — write a word/math problem in each square that must be read/answered before placing an X or an O in that spot.
This is our new favorite and so easy to set up! All you need are a few dowel rods, some twine, magnets, paper clips and index or blank flash cards. Make a fishing pole by tying a magnet to the dowel rod with some twine. Put whatever you’re studying on the index cards — words to be read, math facts to be answered, letters to be named (or sounds given), whatever! Now, you’re ready to fish! Whatever card the child “reels in,” he answers. My kids *love* this game and actually try to see who can get the most cards with one “cast.” (Shhhh…I haven’t yet pointed out to them that this means they have to answer more questions!)
Finally, Games to Make is a great site that my younger kids and I have really enjoyed. It contains many printable games for reading practice.
I’m sure that there are many, many more variations of games that can be created with a little imagination. Kids can even create their own game boards. Once you start turning learning into a game, you’ll never look at a yard sale board game with missing pieces as junk again! If you’ve got a great idea for a game, be sure to share it in the comments section.
When Kris isn’t having a blast playing games with her kids, she can be found blogging at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
Photo by shaletann
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