Sunday June 4, 2023
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Educational board games and file folder games are great learning resources for every student from Kindergarten to Middle and High School! Reusing familiar board games is one of the best ways to have students thinking about how to mesh together current curriculum objectives with some good old-fashioned game play.

Use some of the ideas below from guest blogger Tabitha to get the classroom started, but then challenge the children more by having them make their own educational board game. They can use an old game from home or from a garage sale 25-cent bargain bin. This teaches kids not only how to have fun while learning, but also teaches the value of creative thinking.

Who knows: Perhaps one of your students will create the next award-winning game for kids that ends up being distributed worldwide! Let’s get started!

As the year goes on, I always find I need to step my game up with interesting activities that will keep students learning and on task. One way I have done that this year is by taking regular games that students are already familiar with and giving them an educational “twist.”

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## Multiplication Jenga

I found this totally cool activity over at the Minds in Bloom blog by Rachel Lynette. She has provided multiplication and addition labels that can be affixed to the sides of Jenga blocks.

I printed mine on full sheet sticker paper. I then ran the whole sheet through the laminator and cut them out individually. So far, the labels have held up well despite the handling, stacking, and crashing!

## Twister Measurement Facts

My students needed practice with remembering measurement facts with standard and metric units. So, I stuck velcro dots in the center of each Twister circle.

Then I created questions on index cards, laminated the cards, and also added velcro dots to the backs of the card.

(I’m a Spanish immersion teacher by the way.)

After placing all the cards on the circles, I also created an answer key. I did this by numbering each colored row of circles from 1 to 6 on the index cards.

Then, I created a number- and color-coded answer key.

And now it’s time for some Twister fun! This was placed at a station during math groups.

## Lanyard Team Race

I found some super cheap mini cones at Dollar General and decided to do a sort of group race.

I purchased enough lanyards for everyone in my class (I think I paid 7 or 8 dollars at Amazon with Prime shipping for 20). We were reviewing place value at the time, so I wrote numbers on index cards in four different colors and underlined a specific digit in each number. I laminated and hole-punched the cards and then attached each one to a lanyard (it would have been a smart idea to put those sticker protectors on the holes).

To play the game, I passed out the lanyards to the students randomly.

Whatever color they received was the team they were on (I made sure to write the same exact numbers and underlined digits for each color).

Outside (obviously) the students separated into the four teams. I place a cone about 5 feet in front of each team.

Then I called out a certain place in the number such as tens, thousands, ones, etc. (but in Spanish). The student with that card had to run around the cone and back to his team first to earn a point. The first team to reach 3 points first won.

Students then traded lanyards with someone different and the game started again.

I also did this to practice present tense verb conjugation in Spanish.

I wrote the verb conjugations on the cards and called out different subject pronouns. The student with the correct conjugation on his card had to run around his team’s cone and back to his team to earn a point.

This game could be used to practice so many different skills. And if you have uneven teams, you just give a student two lanyards instead of one. Or skip the lanyards altogether and just hand out cards.

How about some place value cards already remade for you to print and go? This set of cards contains cards from 3, 4, 5, and 6 places, including decimals so you can adapt the cards to fit your students’ needs!

It’s time for fun! Do you have any ideas for turning simple games into educational fun? Please share!

Have a great year, teacher friends!
Tabitha

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