Fond childhood memories are often held close to the heart, whether you went on an exciting family vacation, received the perfect birthday present, or experienced your first kiss on the playground, some memories are more special than others. For many of us grown-up geeks, there’s a variety of special childhood moments that involve sitting around the table at home, with friends at the park, and even in the classroom with our more progressive teachers, playing board games.
Yes, board games play a huge role in our years as miniature humans, both in a social and educational sense. We learn to work together, respectfully play against each other, and maneuver through the rules of the game while still having a blast and building a positive memory to return to once we’re adults finding our way in the real world.
We all know Carcassonne, the tile-placement game where you build your own landscape, but have you heard about the children’s version Hiss? Kids may not be adventuring across the fields of France, but with Hiss they can build their own snakes out of tile cards by matching colors together from tip to tail. This game perfectly introduces our youngest of padawans to the foundations of strategy, a key lesson for their future endeavors, both in and out of the classroom.
First through Third Graders
Once able to match colors, the next logical game to tackle would be something that challenged the students with numbers and problem solving, enter Connect Four. A classic American connection game, Connect Four requires making the right strategic moves early on, teaching young students the value of planning and properly estimating their opponents. Also, the loud crash of plastic against the table when you drop the pieces at the end of a match is incredibly satisfying, and so much fun.
Fourth through Sixth Grade
By middle school, students have usually realized that food, toys, and clothes cost money. Gamewright’s Ka-Ching aims to teach kids about buying and selling property and stock in order to end up with the most money in the bank. Easy to learn and quick to play in about 15 minutes, Ka-Ching includes 66 playing cards and an afternoon of greedy, greedy learning.
Seventh through Eighth Grade
If there’s one thing at which pre-teens will forever be inept, it’s listening. There’s just so much going through their growing minds that it’s difficult to get them to listen and focus on the task at hand. Luckily, there’s Taboo, a game that’s far more useful than simply for creating drama at family gatherings. In Taboo, a player must describe a word or phrase to the group, without speaking any of the words on the card that they drew. This requires strong concentration from both the reader and the listeners, a skill students of this age will appreciate in the years to come.
You know it, you love it, and have probably been playing it since before you can remember. It’s Scrabble, and our teenagers need it now more than ever. High school teachers have been fighting against “yolo,” “lit,” and “phubbing” for far too long, and sitting a couple of teenagers down to a legitimate game of Scrabble could be just the trick.
Are you an educator taking advantage of the teaching abilities of your favorite board games? Or, maybe you’re just realizing the magical learning properties of your beloved childhood games? Let’s talk in the comments below, or find me over on Twitter @bekahbabble!
Featured Image Credit: misskprimary/Flickr
Image Credits: Gamewright, Hasbro