Play is exploration without a concern for the outcome. It is imaginative in that children structure their play to meet their needs and desires.
Educational board games are a powerful learning tool when they are structured with specific academic goals in mind. This can be done by asking guiding questions that promote the desired learning outcomes.
Teachers can use games to teach students a variety of subjects. From the time a student drew a tic-tac-toe grid on a napkin to pass the time while waiting for a restaurant meal or battled it out with friends over a game of Battleship, educators have long found that games engage students and can help them learn.
Educational board games are designed with learning objectives in mind. These differ from traditional board or video games with a primary entertainment focus.
When learning objectives are combined with the fun and engagement of a game, students are more likely to participate in lessons and be successful. Treher (2011) found that students surveyed before and after playing a board game performed better on a test than those whose learning was not supplemented by the activity.
In addition, many learners naturally tend to play games because they are pleasurable and challenging. In this way, educational board games can introduce a lesson in a way that is engaging and helps to overcome students’ resistance to academics.
Whether playing tic-tac-toe on a napkin while waiting at a restaurant or using graph paper to play Battleship – board games are social and engaging. These activities also encourage teamwork and collaboration, fostering the development of interpersonal skills necessary for successful learning.
Educators recognize the potential value of educational board games to support classroom learning goals. They can help students learn important content while promoting student achievement and addressing curriculum frameworks.
In addition, educational board games can be used to teach essential skills. For example, a game such as Check the Fridge teaches children how to read people’s faces and helps them develop a sense of compassion for others.
Games allow teachers to integrate education’s social and experiential aspects more naturally and meaningfully than traditional teaching methods. For example, a simulation game can effectively communicate the complex topic of sustainability. But, educators must understand that educational games are not a replacement for classroom instruction and should be integrated into a curriculum as the new notion of education becomes the norm.
A good educational game is a tricky balance between ensuring a solid academic component and keeping it engaging so students don’t tune out. Unfortunately, many educational games put too much emphasis on the educational part and forget about making it fun.
Board games can help teachers interactively build their students’ vocabulary, social skills (such as taking turns and being a gracious winner or loser), and thinking skills. In addition, they can also foster teamwork and cooperation, which are essential skills in the classroom.
For example, players learn to read people’s faces and decide whose face matches a card that says “Stinky Cheese.” It’s an opportunity for students to develop and practice valuable math skills while still having fun and being entertained!
Another great thing about educational games is that they can be used to teach students about complex topics such as sustainability or climate change. For example, a high school biology teacher in Atherton, California, uses the virtual game to encourage her students to understand global ecosystems while building camaraderie and community in her class.
Board games offer a fresh way to learn and are fun for all ages. While they may not be as complex as some educational games, many offer discoveries and challenges with every play. They’re also easy to set up and take down, appealing to students of all ages.
They’re engaging for kids because they allow them to use their own creativity and problem-solving skills as they interact with others. They can also be a great tool for building social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. Students can practice resolving conflicts and collaborating in ways that promote positive outcomes and accept defeat without feeling discouraged or guilty.
In addition to their academic benefits, educational games can help develop a sense of adventure and courage as players tackle challenging scenarios with their friends. They can test their knowledge and learn how to overcome obstacles in various situations while playing a game. They can even strengthen abstract language skills often delayed in neurodivergent children by playing a game.
Board games are a great way to promote active learning and develop crucial skills. They also help students connect experience to understanding, which allows them to better grasp the world around them.
Educational games are a great way to teach students to think strategically, problem-solve, and plan. They can also help improve their focus and attention span. They can be played alone or with classmates, making them ideal for classroom activities.
A game like Chess can teach students to make logical decisions, develop strategy, and work well under pressure. It can also help them understand the complex relationship between moves, such as trapping an opponent’s king in checkmate.
Dorn (1989) finds that students receptive to learning through games need help in traditional classrooms. They can relate to the game and feel a personal connection, which can motivate them. Other research by Eli (2014) shows that playing board games can also increase the motivation of low-performing students. It can do this by improving their sense of belonging and promoting interpersonal interactions with other players