Let the Games Begin!: How Playing Games Might be Just What the Teacher Ordered
When was the last time you played a game with your child? Or had a friends-and-family game night? Most consider games a fun pastime, but they can provide so much more than just the satisfaction of winning. In fact, games support the educational growth and socialization needs of players of all ages because, ultimately, the act of playing, strategizing, and following a thought process through to completion, is a form of learning.
Games Supporting Education Growth and Benefit Socialization
Looking for fun ways to learn? Here are three types of games and the ways they can benefit your child's educational and social growth.
Board and Card Games
Whether you're bringing out Monopoly, The Game of Life, Clue, Uno, or an old deck of cards, you're getting quality family time with a side of learning.! Through these types of games, players learn about language, life lessons, patience, and goal-setting, and develop the fine motor skills necessary for hand-eye coordination.
These games also require focus and patience from competitors. It's a great way to help children develop their EQ, or emotional quotient, defined by Forbes as "a person’s ability to understand and manage the emotions of themselves and others." Emotional intelligence is a highly favorable leadership skill, and providing children with the opportunity to learn its tenets early will benefit them in the long run. Games also help with relieving stress (unless you have a very competitive game of Monopoly) as well as having fun, developing memory, increasing the ability to quickly make decisions, encouraging creativity, and increasing self-confidence.
If you are looking for a new board game to add to your collection, BoardGameGeek provides game reviews, information, and game updates. Game Night Gods is another resource for lists, reviews, and information on card games, and even game night recipes!
Remember Mother May I?, Capture the Flag, and Simon Says? These are group games that may seem silly and fun, but they're actually team-build exercises. Those who participate in group games are developing the skills to achieve success either individually or collectively. By playing a variety of group games on a regular basis, whether virtually or in-person, children are exposed to skills in a standard round of active play that includes:
- Following instructions
- Effectively communicating
- Trusting each other
- Building confidence
- Learning more about each other
- Learning about their own leadership style
Often these types of games have simple instructions and aren't limited to a certain number of participants. Group-Games.com provides a thorough list of possible group games.
Video games often battle a bad reputation and have even been blamed by some as the catalyst for poor health due to physical inactivity, isolation, and even aggression. But studies show that "a more balanced perspective is needed" and that there is not a definable link to aggression as a sole result of playing video games. In fact, a 2014 American Psychological Association study showed the academic and social benefits of games children play can enhance their grasp on problem-solving skills and creativity, as well as experience the effect of relaxation and enjoyment when playing more simplistic games.
Indeed, video games help players see the game's world in a 3D format, requiring them to further think about objects in relation to space, activities, and functions. This spatial awareness and increased understanding is the same kind of learning that bolsters skills needed for success in STEM courses.
Additionally, video games help with problem-solving, building relationships with other players, relieving stress, developing creativity, learning from mistakes, coping with failure, and building emotional resilience. While single-player video games may have fostered isolation tendencies when the technology was still young, it has evolved to include fast-paced multiplayer options, which promotes opportunities for socialization and all the skills required to work together to accomplish a task. During the COVID-19 pandemic, gamer friends were a popular constant for students in the ever-changing landscape of social distancing to stay safe and healthy.
The Value of Games for Education
Through all of these games, players of all ages, especially K–12 students, are learning valuable lessons beyond the game rules, instructions, and format. They are lessons that translate efficiently to our online education format here at Laurel Springs School.
We invite you to attend a virtual open house, review our admissions process, contact an admissions coordinator, or apply to LSS directly through our website. And we always welcome a conversation about your favorite game.
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