“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” Diane Ackerman
There are so many benefits for playing games in the classroom. Students can practice important skills by playing an educational game in a small group or with a partner. Whole class games are a great way to review skills for a test or at the end of the unit. When students need a brain break or during an inside recess, action games work perfectly. Games can be given for homework to provide fun, engaging and differentiated practice. Games can be played in all subjects and at all grade levels. Students usually don’t complain about playing too many games! Games are fun as well as beneficial. Here are 4 important reasons to play games in school.
1. Games engage students. We all know that games are just plain fun. Students are more motivated, pay attention and stay on task longer while playing a game, Playing games creates a positive attitude toward learning. Classroom behavior is much improved when students are happy and engaged.
2. Games increase Learning. Students learn so much more by playing a game than by doing a worksheet. Not only do students learn content, but they develop problem solving and critical thinking skills. Students need to use mental cognition as they apply a range of strategies in a game. Favorite games will be played over and over again providing students with important skill practice while they are having fun. This is one of my favorite quotes to support playing games in the classroom. “What we learn with pleasure, we never forget.” Alfred Mercier
3. Games develop social interaction. While playing games students learn to take turns, communicate and collaborate. I find that teaching students some of the basic card games, dice games and board games I learned as a child is like introducing today’s students to a whole new world. Electronic games are great, but they also can be isolating. It’s best to use interactive games in the classroom to provide students with opportunities to talk, share, support and laugh with each other.
4. Games don’t need to be corrected. Games are a win-win for all! Students love them and will play and practice skills over and over, and the teacher doesn’t have to do any correcting. The teacher needs to do some work up front to find, create and prepare appropriate games that will provide the learning and practice the students need. Once this is done, the games will last for years. Teachers can work together collecting games and parent helpers can even help with the cutting and laminating. I have been creating games for my students long before you could find them all over the internet. I quickly found out how engaging and productive games are for all students and how much easier they made my job.
Watch for my blog posts over the next several months where I will be sharing some of my favorite games along with free downloads for all subjects and grade levels. Sign up for Mary’s Newsletter and you could be a winner of hard copy games shipped to your home or school. Click here to download some free board games which can be used at any grade level and subject area.