With all the exams scheduled throughout March and April, spring may not be your kids’ favourite time of the year. Long hours studying means these months are often filled with anxiety and nervousness, but there’s really no need for this apprehension. Education is something we want our kids to enjoy, not fear, so it’s our job to make learning fun.
Educational games can be a great way for the whole family to play and learn together throughout the year, and they are a good way to help unleash your child's potential and help him or her prepare for the future.
Memory Games for Kids
Kids’ educational games don’t need to always be subject-specific, and general memory games can really be beneficial in helping your kids learn materials and ace their exams.
The Matching Game
This particular game is simple enough that kids of all ages can play along, and your creative kids will love making the picture cards. Simply take at least 12 equal-sized pieces of paper or card – or you can use more or less if you wish, depending on the age of your kids – and ask your kids to draw colourful pictures on them. These pictures can be of anything, so encourage your kids to use their imagination. The only rule is that there should be two of each drawing. When you’ve got all your cards, place them in a grid on a table, drawing side down.
Take turns flipping over two cards, trying to find a match. To take it up a level, for older kids you could use subject-specific drawings, such as different words (which could help your child practice his or her vocabulary or learn a different language) or mathematics equations.
I Went to the Shop...
This is another memory game that’s both simple and fun for kids and for mum and dad, too! Unlike the matching game, this requires no preparation, so it can be played anytime, anywhere – even on the bus or walking home from school. Begin a sentence with ‘I went to the shop and bought...’, and fill in the blanks yourself. Take turns adding to the shopping list, but be sure to include all previous items before adding an extra item.
There’s no need to stick to the mundane everyday groceries – perhaps your kids bought a pet kangaroo or a spaceship at the shop! There’s really no limit to the possibilities or the length of shopping list, and this fun activity can really help boost brain function.
Exciting Math Games for Kids
Math games played together as a family really are beneficial, and these math games will help your kids learn sums and equations without feeling bored or confused.
A Fun Addition Game
You’ll need either a pack of playing cards for this game, or ask your kids to make their own number cards with their own creative designs. This game can be altered to suit younger children and older children by reducing or increasing the range of cards used in the game. Use ace (one) to 5 for younger children, and ace to 10 for older children.
First, make sure each player has the same number of cards, and make sure to keep all the cards face down in a pile. Each player turns over two cards at a time, and then adds up the values. The player with the highest overall value wins all cards in play. In case of a tie, turn over one more card and add that to the total. At the end of the game, the player with the most cards is declared the winner.
Sudoku games are great for kids of all ages (and adults love doing Sudoku, as well!). This Japanese puzzle game is usually done in a 9x9 grid, which is then subdivided into sections of 3x3. Before you start the game, certain numbers have already been entered into the grid – you need to make sure that each number between 1 and 9 is only used once in each column, once in each row, and once per 3x3 section!
This game teaches strategic thinking, which is vital when looking at different ways to solve a math equation. Once you're confident in the game and its rules, you could even try designing your own Sudoku for kids – though, older children might appreciate more difficult puzzles, and there are plenty of resources where you can find Sudoku games for all ages and abilities.
Do you find your children do better in school when they learn at home as well as in the classroom? Are you a family of game-players?
Share your fun and educational games with other mums in the comment box below and perhaps even get some more ideas for games you can play with your family.