While you might think I'm referring to a boxed-curriculum, rest assured, I'm not. I'm talking about lots and lots of boxes! Today's focus is on toys, games, and puzzles. Since it's still in the 30's and snowing outside today, I'll save the toys part for another day and skip straight to the games and puzzles.
|Do your closets look like ours?|
|Or maybe you have a shelf like this?|
We have always been rather creative in our home schooling journey. Sometimes out of neccessity, sometimes our of choice. Games and puzzles help us to learn while having fun. They can also be an incentive to get harder assignments completed in a timely manner.
We still have a laundry basket full of puzzles, even after repeatedly giving some to other families. My Mom has a whole bookshelf full of puzzles, and the girls enjoy doing puzzles at Gram's house, or borrowing one to bring home and do here if they spent all of their visit at the zoo and library.
Games have always played a prominent role in our learning. There are SO MANY great ways to use games to learn. Monopoly is great for math (& social skills, learning character, and economics!) Scattergories is a fun way to work on vocabulary, without stressing about spelling...as long as you get the first letter correct. Yahtzee uses basic addition and multiplication skills, as well as identification and grouping skills. LEGO brand games like Creationary and Heroica allow children to play and learn, to express their imaginations, and to learn to discuss, adjust, and follow rules.
Sometimes you just need a break from the humdrum of your math book. (Yes, we DO use a math curriculum, but daily work in the book can get boring.) 2 years ago we were at the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati and discovered a game called "CIA:CYBEROPS." Each player has a deck of cards and is involved in using basic algebra to advance in the game. You are either a computer programmer or a hacker, and you adjust your card computer's counters by answering the basic algebra question and then using the answer. If your child has mastered the multiplication tables, you can help them along in the game by explaining the algebra, then letting them do the figuring.
Trust me, my description doesn't do it justice, our girls LOVE playing CYBEROPS for math. If you want to know more, visit their website: http://ciacyberops.com
The girls played the game at their booth and had so much fun that Daddy bought them each a deck and counters. Before the convention was over, they had gone back and gotten decks for him and me as well.
There are several games that can help you understand history, like 'Made for Trade,' or 'Risk.' Just don't start either of them near bedtime!
This year we have been studying both US and World Geography. The girls have been taking breaks from drawing maps and playing with a puzzle that Kurt saved from his childhood. It had the US on one side, the world on the other.
However you slice it, games and puzzles can add a lot of fun AND education to your life...you kids might like them too! Don't discount games and puzzles as an occasional thing, use them often! You'l all be glad you did!
To read about how other families use Toys, game, and puzzles to teach creatively, click here, or click on any of the links below.