AGES: 7 and up

PICTIONARY

  • Increases logic skills
  • Helps Improve creativity
  • Improves memory retention and cognition
  • Helps refine hand-eye coordination

The game Pictionary is a great group activity that can engage children in creative drawing and the development of visualizing ideas.  Alongside this proactivity towards creativity is the practice of logic and problem-solving skills. A great activity for memorization and motor skill development with hand-eye coordination, these aspects about the game create the opportunity to teach children important elements that can benefit their education experience.

When playing Pictionary, logic is used in different ways. First of all it engages the player when you are drawing the prompt handed to you.  You must consider the audience and draw something that can lead to the answer for your team, creating healthy communication skills and logic skills at the same time.  The team members trying to guess the image and decipher what is the image drawn are using the same cognitive abilities, but in reverse.  Getting into the perspective of the player who is drawing necessitates the creative use of logic within the context of the game.  Pictionary helps hand-eye coordination by the act of drawing and focusing on what the drawing is to represent, and it helps improve memory retention and cognition by putting a name or title on the drawing itself and taking the win. 

Educationally speaking, Pictionary is a great method for supplemental teaching as well, bringing it out of the classroom and into the family environment.  You can make your own prompts related to any topic you want to teach or discuss, and as a team each person can draw out the identified prompt.  This can enhance leadership abilities and create a healthy way for teamwork exercises.  Pictionary helps break the ice in a social situation and it can engage children in a social academic experience, growing their confidence and practicing pattern recognition and memory at the same time.

SIMON THE MEMORY LIGHT GAME

  • Increases memory cognition
  • Improves concentration and logic
  • Encourages motor skills
  • Improves hand-eye coordination

Simon the Memory Light Game has been a groovy fixture in family game night since the 70’s. As the name suggests, this game will put your memory skills to the test. Games like Simon the Memory Light Game will help people of all ages train their memory while having fun. This pattern repetition game can especially help young children, as increased memory retention enables them to retain information better in school. Players will have their memory tested by having to learn, remember, and repeat long color patterns that are given by the game. The rounds are timed and players to don’t finish the sequence in time will lose the round.

A benefit of games such as Simon the Memory Light Game is that they utilize and require concentration and logic skills in play. Like many other pattern-repeating games, the player needs to focus on the commands given in order to learn and repeat the sequence. This forces the player to really pay attention to details such as the lights, pace, sounds, and colors of the buttons that will help him or her recall the pattern. Players also utilize logic, reasoning, and problem solving as they analyze the best strategy for playing the game. Sharpening these skills leads to better cognitive performance and quicker decision-making abilities.

The design of the game also helps improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Just like the game Simon Says, players have to move their hands to follow the commands of the lights. As the game progresses, the patterns become longer and more intricate and the speed of the movements will increase. These movements help to strengthen the mind-body connection. While Simon the Memory Light Game has the same basic principle as Simon Says, the upgraded electronic component of this game makes it an exciting alternative for children and adults alike.

UNO THE CARD GAME

  • Refines motor skills
  • Teaches number and color recognition
  • Promotes social interaction
  • Engages children in strategy and problem solving

UNO is a universally popular card game with people of all ages. This classic fan favorite is easy to play and great for bringing together family and friends. Another unexpected perk of UNO is the educational benefits it can offer to children who play the game. Players will utilize important skills such as problem solving, strategy, and recognizing patterns. Practicing these types of skills through play will help children apply them in school and learn how to build on this skill foundation throughout their lives. Young children who play this game are introduced to concepts of fair play and working with others.

Throughout the game, players will need to practice critical thinking and logic in order to decide when to play the game offensively or defensively, depending on the draw of the cards. Players must be able to recognize patterns in the game and use strategy in order to gain an advantage over opponents to win. Following a sequence of colors along with numbers and symbols in a game format is a great way for children to develop memorization, motor skills, and quick decision making. 

Playing games like UNO also helps children develop healthy communication and social skills. The ability to interact with classmates through games such as UNO creates positive self-esteem and greater confidence in school. It gives children many opportunities to develop prosocial skills like taking turns, and winning and losing within appropriate parameters. UNO is much more than a card game where children can learn while having fun with their peers.

LEARNING MATH WITH YAHTZEE

  • Helps improve memory
  • Improves cognitive skills
  • Accessible math for young kids
  • Helps refine logic and strategy

Yahtzee is a game beloved by many, and has shown itself in many different cultures and regions, although sometimes under  different names and rule variations.

The objective of the game is simple on the surface – to score points by rolling five dice to make certain combinations. The dice can be rolled up to three times in a turn to try to make various scoring combinations, and dice must remain in the box. A game consists of thirteen rounds back and forth rolling the dice with the winner being the player that scores the most points. After each round the player chooses which scoring category is to be used for that round. Once a category has been used in the game, it cannot be used again. The scoring categories have varying point values, some of which are fixed values and others for which the score depends on the value of the dice. A Yahtzee is five-of-a-kind and scores 50 points, the highest of any category. 

When young players first start playing, they may need to count the numbers on the dice to note which number they have rolled. However, as they get more used to seeing those dots on the dice, they will be able to easily recognize the patterns of each number, so that they can see at a glance which number they have rolled. Both excellent developmental skills.

Since the game uses five dice at a time. This allows one to start working with larger numbers and adding up multiple groups. Until the player gets comfortable with the addition, they can count the dots in order to tally their scores for several of the categories on the scorecard which require adding up the numbers on some or all dice.

The player can be encouraged to use different strategies when adding up, as their abilities grow.. For example, using their friends of ten, known doubles, etc. The game also provides the player an introduction to multiplication without them even knowing it. When scoring for fives, all answers are multiple of fives. When they learn how to skip count, it helps them add even quicker. For example, if they roll five 5s, they can count it up by going “five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five”, instead of counting all the dots on the dice one by one. This is an excellent way to teach math in a real world situation.

With all of the complex probabilities at play throughout the game, much can be learned by rote and can also be discussed and helped along in the process.

LESSONS WE CAN LEARN FROM MINECRAFT

  • Increased Creativity
  • Improve teamwork
  • It teaches resource management
  • Helps improve problem Solving and logic

If you aren’t familiar with the computer game Minecraft,it would be understandably easy to pass it off as a simple building blocks game at first glance. Once you take a deeper look, however, you will likely be pleasantly surprised to find that it offers many more educational benefits than what you might have initially anticipated. Minecraft requires the use of important skill sets such as teamwork, competence in resource management, and problem solving through logic. Players are encouraged to use creativity in a gaming environment where imagination can be expressed in endless ways. Minecraft is an exciting game to play, but it’s also an exercise in many important life-long skills, which is a win for both parents and children alike.

With an internet connection, the game can be played with different friends all over the world. Gathering materials, blocks, and items builds teamwork and communication skills. For example, building structures in the game requires planning, commitment, and resources that must be acquired for specific items. While progressing through the game, players will start to realize these tasks become easier and more thorough when played with a friend to share and discuss ideas with. The Minecraft world is a blank canvas; it can be created in an endless number of ways and flourishes with imagination. Using creativity and problem solving in play improves cognition and critical thinking that also translates to life outside the game. Active players will start to notice an improvement in writing and presentation skills as well.

Obstacles inevitably arise in the game, such as building in a tricky spot or battling an enemy. Players are often challenged to find solutions in unconventional ways, using only what they have at their disposal. With endless options comes endless opportunities to brainstorm and find creative ways to problem solve. Another unique benefit to playing Minecraft is the exposure to STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education. The game incorporates some basic properties of coding, in a feature called ‘command block’. This feature allows players to create their own set of commands, which will activate or trigger events, according to what he or she wants to accomplish. Each command follows a pattern and this result directly affects gameplay. In short, Minecraft is a game that has much more to offer than what initially meets the eye.  It is an exciting, challenging introduction into block-based gaming that also incorporates many essential educational components, proving that learning truly can be fun.

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