This post was written by Tom Richmond, a Sales Support Specialist at School Outfitters.
Students of all ages love to play, and what could be better for educators than finding ways to make games into learning opportunities? Teachers and parents across the country are coming up with new, crafty ways to repurpose games for educational environments. These creative solutions are easy on educators’ budgets, and often the students will have so much fun that they won’t even realize they are learning! We put together a list of some of our favorite ideas for games for various age groups that will keep students happily and engaged throughout the school day.
Kristina at Toddler Approved cuts colorful sponges into rectangular strips children use to sort, stack, and build. They can even use them to make the shapes of letters when learning the alphabet. This is a fun, safe way for younger students to learn and have fun at the same time.
Plastic Easter eggs can be repurposed into all kinds of fun matching games to teach word recognition, counting, and arithmetic. Write different parts of word families on opposite sides, match numerals to their written forms, or even have children find and match equivalent sums. This fun activity also comes with the added benefit of causing relatively little noise in the classroom.
Sight Word Games
Instead of simply using flash cards to teach sight words, try printing up extra sets of cards and having the students play go fish with them. Or, print the target words on connect four pieces, like Bern at Mom to 2 Posh Lil’ Divas, and have children read the words aloud before playing their pieces.
Assorted Board Games
All kinds of board games can be repurposed into learning materials with just a little tweaking to the rules. With games like Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders, younger kids can draw cards with letters or words to identify for each space that they move. This also works perfectly for middle school teachers who use task cards in the classroom
Historical Guess Who!
This classic game is perfect for the classroom when outfitted with a new set of faces to choose from. Vanna at A Crafty Teacher made her set with figures from the American Revolution, but this can work well with any historical period.
Combine Like Terms Uno
Crafty teacher Tara from iPads in Middle School Math created fun algebra games for older students. Rather than simply matching colors as in the original Uno, her students play cards with like terms along with colors. She even included an easily printable version.
Test Prep Jenga
Rather than using flash cards or worksheets to review for tests, Adrianne from The Tutor House put questions on Jenga blocks. This way, students have some fun while they prepare for their next exam. It’s especially great for practicing foreign language vocabulary.
These are just a few of our favorite crafty ways to introduce games into the learning environment. We’d love to hear some of your ideas as well!