Games are one of our “universal languages,” bringing all ages together. In Time For Family Baseball, Earl Stevens wrote, “We get to know each other better and become closer when we play together. People tend to let go of their reserve.”
Games can bring back favorite family memories; in From Boring To Board Games Elise Griffith asked, “Do you remember Monopoly? I still enjoy acting as banker because it’s the only time I get to play with that amount of money!”
Carol Wanagel expanded on that concept in her wonderful Revelations of a Homeschooling Mom, explaining how her kids “developed astonishing mental skills, remembering the complex, three-dimensional mazes with endless hazards and rewards in hidden corners, planning many levels ahead, keeping a number of parallel factors in mind, calculating how much gold could be spent on potions and still leave enough for the magic sword three levels away.”
It has been argued that it’s almost impossible to play a game without learning something in the process, which truly makes all games educational games!
Homespun Games: Play by Your Own Rules, by Dianne Wilton – Bring out your favorite board game—Pictionary, Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Aggravation! You already have fun playing it. Now it can be the stimulus for an even greater learning experience. Imagine your whole family gathered together around the kitchen table, laughing and sharing as you redesign that game to make it truly yours. You will be creating your own version to reflect your interests and to include the skills that are important to you.
Time For Family Baseball, by Earl Stevens – Our modified game is a wonderful choice for community play because practically everyone is familiar with baseball, and it is physically accessible to all ages and abilities. You need only a bat, a ball, a batting tee for the young and inexperienced, some carpet remnant bases, and an open field.
An Interview Leila Giles and Celeste Land, by Mary Nix – I’ve always loved board games. At the time, my mom was writing an article for the VaHomeschoolers Newsletter on how kids can learn about government, and someone suggested that she include a game. One of the activities for Election Connection was a board game about becoming president, and that inspired me to create my own game.
From Boring To Board Games, by Elise Griffith – When I was a child, I never thought of Monopoly as “educational” … did you? It was simply great fun. Yet games can teach your children valuable skills; Monopoly lays the foundation for budgeting prowess when your children are snapping up properties, accumulating rent for hotels, or just passing “Go” and collecting $200.
Revelations of a Homeschooling Mom, by Carol Wanagel – Interactive games required even more: logic, reading, divergent thinking, accurate spelling, and an understanding of economics, geography, history, politics, sociology and psychology. All of the games inspired animated conversations and frequently were won with pooled information and cooperative efforts.
Do-It-Yourself Group Activities for Teenagers, by Cafi Cohen – We rotated meetings at members’ homes and – depending on the weather – the kids played either indoor games like Monopoly and Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit and Twister or outdoor games like flag football and volleyball. Games needed almost no supervision and very little planning or special equipment.
Resources: Educational Games
Family Pastimes Board games with a focus on cooperative learning.
Gamewright Award-winning games for all ages.
Ampersand Press Educational games focusing on nature and the environment.
Bits and Pieces Wooden puzzles, jigsaw puzzles for all ages, games packages
Oompa Toys: Games High-quality children’s educational games, wooden puzzles, European toys, etc.
Game.com Home of the popular Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley, and Hasbro games.
Wizards of the Coast Role-playing games, trading cards, miniatures sets, etc.
Home Education Magazine’s special back issue packages now include new selections of issues focusing humor and games and puzzles!