Maybe the kiddos aren’t eager to head back into the hallowed halls of learning, but we’re guessing from the commercials that you’re looking forward to it: a lot of them seem to feature that song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” with parents dancing through the aisles at school supply stores. With a few weeks (or maybe days?) left, you’re checking to make sure they’re done with a few odds and ends: have they finished all their summer reading? Have they completed their Math packets? Do they need a refresher on one skill or another?
Learning games help kids brush up their school skills the fun way: fast-paced games and suspenseful competition are way more fun than flash cards and drills! Here are a few of my favorite educational games that we sell.
Scrambled States of America (8+) is a fun way to learn the states. You set up by giving each player a map of the United States, and five blue cards (state cards). Each player lays the five cards out in front of them, and someone flips over a red card (scramble cards). Each of the state cards have the name of the state, a picture of the state, the state capital, and the state nickname. In the scramble cards, there are educational cards like “which state has a capital that has two words,” and some fun ones like “which state has only one eye.” There are also “go the distance cards”; if one of those gets flipped, a state card also gets flipped over. Players need to look at their map and see if they have a state closest to the state that was turned over. On the “go the distance” card, there is a handy dandy ruler to help you measure which state is the closest.
If you are the first player to call out one of your states, you take that state card out of your line-up and send it home. At the end of the game, the person who has the most cards in their home pile wins! This is one of my favorite games out there because it really does not feel like you are learning. I’m 26 years old and I still don’t know every state capital, so this is even a great refresher for me!
Zingo Sight Words (Pre-K+) is a fun and interactive way to practice sight words, which are extremely commonly used words that aren’t necessarily spelled in an intuitive way. Learning them is an essential early reading skill, but can be a bit tedious. This game cuts through the tedium with a little good-natured Bingo-flavored competition! Each player gets a Zingo board, and someone slides the ZInger to display two words. The first player to say the word that is in the Zinger and on the board gets to put the tile on their board. The first player to get three in a row or fill up the card (whichever way you want to play) wins the game. It’s easy to learn, fun to play, and reinforces reading without putting the kids to sleep.
I Sea 10! (6+) is a great way to practice addition. You dump out all the cards, and make sure all the number cards are facing down. Players take turns each flipping one over. Whenever anyone spots some cards that add up to 10, they get to take the cards and create a pile. Watch out though, because if you turn over a shark card, you have to put all your cards back into play!
I love how adaptable this game is: you can start with 10, and then, as your child’s math skills ramp up, you can change the object of the game to 20 or 30. Or, turn it into a game of multiplication instead – flip two cards and add or multiple them. The possibilities are endless!
These are only a few of the educational toys and learning games in our stores and on our website. If you don’t see the one that’s the perfect fit for your little smartie, come in and ask our toy gurus to make a recommendation!