I love to use games for my students to practice their skills. Games bring into play several important concepts from Brain Based Learning. (Pardon the pun!) Plus, they're fun!
FYI - Images are links to Amazon, in case you're interested!
Here are ten games that are easy to use:
1. Around the World This is typically a game to drill basic math facts, but it really can be used in many different ways. The children sit in a circle. One person starts the game by standing behind another child. Those two children compete to be the first to answer a fact. Whoever wins, goes to stand behind the next child. The contests continue around the circle until someone moves all the way "around the world". Math facts on cards work well, but I've also used clocks, cards with money, or fraction cards. I've never tried, but I'm sure it can be played with sight words, too.
2. Twenty questions This game is older than I am, but really gets the kids thinking and asking questions. It's a great time filler. The only rule: all questions must be "yes or no" questions. After a few times through, the kids catch onto generalities such as "Is it an animal?" With my little ones, I try to limit it to general categories, and I have them write down what they've chosen for the others to guess. (Sometimes I'll even give them slips of paper to choose that are related to things we've been learning.)
3. Jeopardy There are so many possibilities with Jeopardy! It does take a little planning, but the kids love it! Here's a link to make your own game!
4. Yahtzee This is a great way to practice those addition skills as well as add the thinking skills! It takes some strategy to play Yahtzee! Beware, it's addicting!
5. Apples to Apples My students could play this all day, and why not? It practices their reading skills as well as thinking skills such as categorizing. The best part: you'll hear lots of giggling!
6. Scrabble Combining spelling, vocabulary, adding, and strategy, it's a win-win-win-win, even if they lose!
7. Dominoes Dominoes are great for practicing math facts! They add the two sides together to find the sum! The best part is when they get the fact correct, they can build with the dominoes. My kids LOVE this!
8. Twenty One If we were in Vegas, they'd call it Black Jack. Yep, it's the same game, without the gambling. Students get two cards, add them together, and decide if they want another card. It's addition and strategy, and it's fun!
9. Dice There are tons of games to be played with dice. I have lots of them! The children can add the sum of two dice, or they can add three (or more) if they're ready! They also can roll two dice and make a two digit number out of it, then roll a second two digit number to add (or subtract). I do these two digit number games often, where the children write the numbers on their whiteboards and add them up. Sometimes we use the base ten blocks to "act it out" as well.
10. Any Board Game With a little tweaking, one can turn any board game into a learning game. Before each turn, the children have to perform some sort of task. It can be a math fact, a vocabulary word, a math challenge, task cards, or just about anything.
Games are a big part of my classroom, as you might have guessed. This is just the beginning. I'd love to hear your ideas for classroom games, too!