Kids can play an absorbing game for a couple of hours without getting distracted because they are having fun. The important factors to keep them absorbed are:
Lots of laughter and fun
Level of challenge
Chances of winning
Possibility of developing expertise
Any of the kids-learning-games that have the above characteristics is interesting to kids. For the kids the game, the fun and the enjoyment are primary. Games provide great opportunities for cognitive and affective development, more than is visualized by any educational program. The learning a by-product of the game is secondary. However the emotion of enjoyment that accompanies a game, makes learning a certainty. Practice is natural rather than contrived. Retention as a result is deeper and happens naturally.
Learning games are particularly important and necessary
for all kids, but particularly for kids with learning disabilities, and
Schools and formal learning environments do not consider fun and games as important to learning. Anytime that a school has to prepare for an important event, the periods that are jacked by the authorities are the ones involving fun, games and activity. When regular classes are resumed they make up for lost time by canceling these same periods and jamming the day with math, language, science etc.
No matter what practicing educators think and do kids learn faster through games. They remember what they learned through their lifetimes. (Check out the experiential learning instances on the
Succesful examples page.)
Observe kids engaged in games you'll invariably notice a high level of involvement. Kids also exhibit behaviors reflecting complex thinking. Kids playing Chess, Checkers, Ludo, Kaleidoscope blocks, demonstrate mastery of strategic thinking, a characteristic that is complex and relevant to living in the real world.
For instance, one of my favorite kids-learning-game is: "Name, Place, Animal, Thing". It is a 'Noun' game where players race to fill their score sheets with examples that fit categories 'name, place, animal and thing' (obviously).
You can also select different categories other than nouns. This way you can emphasize almost any area of the curriculum and maintain the same level of fun or challenge in the game.
This kids-learning-game fosters more than curricular learning. It fosters: social skills like fairness and turn-taking; performance skills like efficiency and accuracy. It also fosters a sporting spirit as a result of having to deal with success and failure.
Check out many more
learning games for kids
on this great website
Free party games.
The games described on the kids learning page of this website are simple, easy to play and set the right amount of challenge.
The fun factor makes them popular and the social learning outcomes make them ideal to be included in parties as well as in curricular programmes. Try the 'doughtionary'. It provides for both concrete experience and active experimentation with words.
Play these kids-learning-games with your kids and increase the retention of learning to 100%. You'll find the following games in the above links. They are categorized in the box above as Paper-pencil games, Word Games and Acting Games
Practice Nouns: "Name, place, animal, thing (NPAT)"
Increase your vocabulary: "Antakshari"
Learn to Strategize: "Cross and dots"
Learn to spin a story: "Rigmarole"
Learn to act: "Dumb Charade" and "Simon says"
Learn for 100% recall: "Team Pictionary"
Learn life skills: "Cashflow 101"
Also get a monthly e-zine 'Stories for EL' free for stories that you can use to emphasise experiential learning. Stories and their lessons are easily remembered.
They can also be used to communicate a concept effectively. They add the 'aha' or 'Eureka' or 'got it' factor to presentations and lectures. They are great tools to use in debriefs of games, to drive home a crucial point.
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