Shake up your next family game night and incorporate a little learning with these smart ideas…
When it’s time to practice spelling words, or math facts, or quiz my kids on vocabulary words, I admit I might do a little grumbling in my head. Those drills are B-O-R-I-N-G and I would rather have fun with my kids than drag them through a set of multiplication flash cards.
They have to learn this stuff though. So, we get smart and turn it into a game.
In case someone at your house needs to review their multiplication facts, (or anything else), here are some painless and fun ways to get it done. Use these ideas, get the whole family involved, and turn family game night into smart family game night!
Method #1: Quick and Easy
Pick a game your child already loves and add a learning twist. Think about the object of the original game, and make it dependent on answering a question, providing a definition, spelling a tricky word, etc.
Here’s an example: In Checkers, the object is to capture all of your opponent’s checkers or position your pieces so that your opponent has no available moves. In the smart version, every time you jump over an opponent’s checker, your opponent asks you a multiplication problem and you have to answer correctly in order to take the checker.
Click here to download your own Family Game Night Template and turn any game into a learning game! (You’ll also get free access to more subscriber-only printable goodness.)
Method #2: Cool and Creative
Work together as a family to think like video game designers and invent an epic new game. Challenge your child to take the basic facts he needs to learn and make them part of a big, action-packed adventure that involves solving a mystery or conquering adversity.
Follow these steps to create your game:
- Decide on a mystery to solve or a challenge to conquer in order to win the game. For example, save your little brother from a cave guarded by a ferocious dragon. In order to do that, you need to send a series of short messages to a wizard asking for help. Messages must include certain words, (from the spelling list), that are spelled correctly.
- Do something to obtain the knowledge you need to start solving your problem. Example: Create cards with a set of words to study before each level. Make up three ways players must study the words before beginning the level.
- Plan a series of different mini-challenges to encounter along the way, to be able to move up a level and get closer to winning the game. Example: Crawl through a treacherous swamp to find a pen and paper to write your first message to the wizard. Use the words you practiced. In order to pass the level, the words must be spelled correctly…
- Create badges or other signs of progress to earn as you move to different levels. How about super speller star-shaped badges, sent to you by the wizard when he receives your messages? Once you get 5 badges, you free your brother from the dragon cave and win the game!
Method 3: Extra Quick and Easy
Buy a game! Really, all games are learning games. They reinforce skills like cooperation, patience, perseverance, reasoning, logic… The list is endless. Here are just a few favorites. (Affiliate links)
- Pop For Sight Words
- Phonics Board Games
- Rory’s Story Cubes
- Tell Tale
- The Storymatic Kids
- Tell Me a Story
- Proverbial Wisdom (Figurative language)
- Tellestrations (You could also use vocabulary words instead of the words on the cards.)
- Math BINGO (Fact fluency)
- Aristotle’s Number (Logic and fact fluency)
- Wrap-Ups (Fact fluency)
- Clumsy Thief (Addition and money)
- Square Up (Visual thinking and problem solving)
- Qwixx (Probability and fact fluency)
- Blokus (Geometry and problem solving)
- Super Genius (Fact fluency)
Have fun, and game on!