Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What to do on school vacation? Play Games!

I don't know about your children, but after the first few hours of school vacation, "I'm bored" starts pouring out of their mouths! After constant reminders about the upcoming play dates, new toys never opened and cleaning your room, I give in to our favorite pastime: Games! Kids love playing games. I'm thinking we don't want those brains to lose any fuel while they are on vacation, so I stick with educational games that are so fun, kids don't realize they're learning anything.

Here are my top 7 favorite fun educational games for kids ages 6 to 10:

1. Scrabble Slam: Skills practiced: spelling, reading, reasoning, speed. This is our new favorite game. Not only do kids learn how to spell many 4-letter words, you can use the cards to practice spelling words during the week!

2. Bananagrams: Skills practiced: Spelling, logic, independent thinking. Bananagrams is like traditional Scrabble without the board. Like Scrabble Slam, we use the tiles to help practice spelling words. Great for those visual learners!

3. 20 Questions for kids: Skills practiced: Reading, geography, reasoning, math. Can you guess a person, place or thing in less than 20 questions? My son shocks me with the things he retains from school that may be on one of the cards.

4. Imaginiff: Skills practiced: Reading, comprehension, vocabulary, confidence. This is a family get-together favorite. Where else can you imagine your mother being a VW, designer purse or Saint Bernard dog?

5. Blockus: A fun strategy game that promotes healthy levels of thinking and reasoning. A plus to this game, it can be played solo or with an imaginary friend.

6. Apples to Apples: Skills practiced: reading, comprehension, vocabulary, independent thinking. Players are dealt five red apple cards and try to make the closest match possible to a word on the judge's green apple card. In Apples to Apples Junior, if you're holding a quintet consisting of, for example, Winnie the Pooh, Farms, Swimming, Bumble Bees, and The First Day of School, you play one of the five to match Loud. If the judge selects your card as the best match, you keep the green apple card; if you win four you're king of the orchard. One reason I listed it as my sixth choice, it requires 4 players. Of course, my son has no problem using 1 or 2 of his imaginary friends as fill ins.

7. Jumpstart: Skills practiced: computer skills, reasoning, math, reading, puzzle solving. is a fun, safe way for kids to learn many computer skills from typing, math games, finishing challenges, following through on many taks. I put this computer/online game as the seventh favorite as it tends to take up too much computer/screen time.

Don't forget to let their imagination take them away. My son can use a checker board, dice and colored marbles and create his own games in minutes. He used to change the rules to make sure he won, but now he writes them down so we all know how to play Bumpers, or whatever his new game creation is for today.

What games do your children love to play? Do they create their own games too?

Happy Playing.


Lisbeth Tanz said...

Pamela, where were you when my son was little? Great ideas!

Rhonda Neely, CCLC said...

Wish I had this list when mine were little too. Ideas many mom can definitely use!

Pam said...

Thanks ladies. I have to get creative with an only child. He loves games and loves school, so I try to combine the 2 when possible!

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