Play these academic games this holiday season to keep your kids’ brains on point

During any school break, teachers and parents may be thinking about ways to keep kids learning. Luckily, there are many ways to integrate learning into playtime, especially for elementary school students. Here are a few tips and games to play:

  • Read—Go to the library for new books. Let your kids pick out their favorites and give them designated quiet time throughout the day to read. Have them read to themselves (beginning readers can look at pictures and tell themselves the story). Be a role model and read your own books alongside them. Read books out loud together daily (this is a perfect bedtime activity).
  • Write—Encourage your kids to write in a journal each day. You can write in one together, take turns writing in a journal to each other, or each have your own journals. Remember, drawing pictures and telling the stories also promotes literacy, so encourage your kids (especially young writers) to add a picture with plenty of detail. If your child doesn’t know what to write each day, use prompt questions, such as “What are you grateful for today?” or “What are you most proud of accomplishing this week?”
  • Card Games—There are so many fun card games that integrate academic skills, especially math facts. Some favorites include Memory, Go Fish, and Rummy. Math War is a fun two-player game played with a deck of cards (aces through 10s; aces are given a value of one). In Math War, each player gets half the deck and holds it face down in their hand. Together, they turn over the first card in their hand and must say the sum (or product or difference). If they say the answer correctly first, they get to keep both cards and place them at the bottom of their deck. The game continues until one person gets all the cards.
  • Line of Silence—In this game, players must think of their favorite movie (or book or character, etc.) and how it is spelled. Then in silence, using only non-verbal communication, all players must line up in alphabetical order. Once everyone thinks they are in the correct order, go down the line saying each movie and see how you did!
  • Buzz—This is a fun math facts game. Begin by picking a number to buzz, such as 3. Now players count together, taking turns. When you get to 3, a multiple of 3, or any number with the digit 3, that player must say the word buzz as a place holder. The pattern for the number 3 would go like this: 1, 2, buzz, 4, 5, buzz, 7, 8, buzz, 10, 11, buzz, buzz, 14, buzz, and so on.
  • Rhyme—Beginning at a young age, children learn how to rhyme. Give each other a word then see how many words you can rhyme with it. Take the challenge a step further and create a rhyming poem together.
  • Brainteasers and Riddles—Do you know why four is the magic number? Do you know why Queen Anne likes balls and not bats? Challenge yourself and your kids with some brainteasers. There are many examples available on the web if you can’t remember any, such as this one from Forbes.

What educational games do your kids like to play?


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