By Dr. Raymond J. Huntington
If your child enjoys playing games, you’re in luck. There are many educational games that teach children valuable skills, challenge them to think and problem-solve, and fuel their curiosity. For parents seeking educational games that reinforce concepts taught at school, promote other important abilities and are a lot of fun for children, here are a few suggestions:
Apples to Apples Junior – The junior version of Apples to Apples teaches players to choose the best noun card in their hand of cards to accompany the judge’s “green apple card,” which has a one-word characteristic (such as “smelly”). Players must then convince the judge that their chosen word is the best match. This silly game expands children’s vocabulary and comparative skills and also encourages creativity and teaches young learners the art of persuasion.
Master the Grade – Kaplan Toys, a longtime manufacturer of educational toys and products for children, has Master the Grade game series for kindergarten through fifth grade. The games were designed by teachers to reinforce classroom curricula in math, science, language arts and social studies, and also cover art, music and classic literature.
Connect Four – This fast-paced, classic game is played similar to tic-tac-toe – but in a four-in-a-row format – and is great for strengthening children’s abstract visual skills and teaching them to think critically and think ahead.
10 Days in the USA – This game has players plan a 10-day itinerary across the United States that adheres to a set of “movement rules.” It is an excellent way to teach students geography and facts about each state (shape, population and size). The creator, Out of the Box Publishing, also has four other games in the “10 Days in” series: Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Leap Frog – Teach your child early technology skills with Leap Frog’s variety of educational, handheld gaming systems for kids. The Leapster Explorer has more than 40 games and activities that cover subjects from world geography to science to everyday math to reading fluency. The Leapster2 teaches letters, numbers, memory skills and more.
Mastermind – Mastermind is a two-person game between a code-maker and a code-breaker. In 10 moves or fewer, the code-breaker must crack his or her opponent’s code. Mastermind has long been known as an excellent game for fostering strategy and problem-solving skills.
4-Way Countdown – This game is a fun way for up to four players to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills with dice. Cadaco, the game’s manufacturer, also offers 4-Way Spelldown, which is another excellent game for up-and-coming and experienced spellers alike.
Another great way to find educational games for your child: ask his or her teacher. Teachers may subscribe to educational publications that regularly review learning games, or they may even use games in their classroom that support their instruction. If you have a specific learning goal in mind, your child’s teacher may be an excellent source of ideas.
Parents who want additional information are encouraged to call the local Huntington Learning Center in McKinney Texas at 972-369-0074 or visit our website at www.mckinney.huntingtonlearning.com
Dr. Raymond J. Huntington and Eileen Huntington are co-founders of Huntington Learning Center, which has been helping children succeed in school for more than 30 years. For more information about Huntington, call 1-800 CAN LEARN.