Teaching can be challenging from time to time, especially when we are talking about holding a student’s attention and keeping it. How can we motivate a child and engage them to learn? How can we spark an interest in the content that we are teaching? And, most importantly, how can we create a love for learning? One way is through the use of learning with games.
I recently wrote a post, Why You Should Use Games in the Classroom, to discuss the benefits of using games in the classroom. I then followed it up with another post, 5 Games for Reviewing Any Content, to provide ideas of games that you could use as a whole group to review material. Today, I want to provide you with some simple game ideas that will create a love of learning. Then, at the end of this post, I have a FREEBIE for you to download!
Increase Learning With Games
There’s no doubt that kids love games. Games help students build their confidence, feel successful, and it just doesn’t feel like school to them. They are fun, engaging, and some can even be challenging. And, let’s be real… which would you rather do to get some extra practice and reinforcement in, games or a worksheet?
There are many types of games that you can use in the classroom without having to purchase anything that will still help increase learning. And, the best part is, it doesn’t require a large amount of time.
1.) Puzzles. Puzzles are often looked at as being a form of entertainment, but they don’t have to be. Often, puzzles require the use of strategies, such as elimination in Sudoku, and problem-solving. Consider completing a puzzle a day or once a week as a warm-up. You can go to AIMS Puzzle Corner for over 100 free interesting mathematical puzzles. (They are listed in order of increasing difficulty!)
2.) Tic-Tac-Toe. This game can be used for nearly any content area. Have students partner up and provide them with a set of problems. The first player answers a problem. If he gets it correct, he can place his X anywhere in the chart he desires. Then it’s player 2’s turn. The play continues until the board is complete.
3.) Card Games. Learning with games has never been easier than with cards, especially in math. Students can use a regular deck of cards to create any number of games such as Go Fish!, War (Top-It), Old Maid, Rummy, Memory, SlapJack, or Spoons. A quick Google search could probably find you more. Or, you could easily create your own set of cards, such as the ones I created in the image above for my students with fractions. (These cards and 5 games are FREE for you in the download below!)
4.) Board Games. Bring in a board game, such as checkers, and have students play like normal. The only difference is, they can’t take any of their moves in the game until they have correctly solved the problem in whatever work you have provided (such as a math problem or a review question).
5.) Dice Games. There are lots of games that we can have our students play in math when it comes to dice. Students can roll the dice and add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers. (You may have to roll a few times). You can even create your own dice using wooden blocks. I have done this many times for fractions. Numbers rolled can be compared, ordered, or whatever your imagination can come up with.
For even more excitement, have students create their own game where they have to include review questions.
Games are a great way to engage students while helping them review content in a short and quick manner. Learning with games has a lot of benefits and is something you definitely want to implement in your classroom.
My next post will include very specific games that you won’t want to miss! And if you’re looking for other great ideas to spark the love of learning in your classroom, check out the other posts listed below.
Check out these other great ideas to spark a love of learning in your upper elementary students!
From left to right:
Spark a Love of Learning with Games | The Owl Teacher
Spark a Love of Social Studies | Tried and True Teaching Tools
3 Ways to Inspire a Love of Fractions | Mix and Math
Just-Right Reading: I Love Myself! | Reading by Heart
5 Ways to Ignite a Love of Math Problem Solving | Think Grow Giggle
Absent Work that Students and Teachers Love | Elementary Inquiry
Loving to Write Informational Texts | Mikey D Teach
Valuing Student Voice to Create a Love of Learning | Wild Child’s Mossy Oak Musings
Developing Grit: Learning to Love a Challenge | Kerry Tracy
How to Build a Love of Geometry | Love Learning