Summer and winter breaks, even those short fall and winter breaks, can really test a child’s academic retention and your own patience. If you are worried about your child’s achievements at school or are concerned that you will run out of things to do, give your kids a little academic boost with some games.
The most basic concepts you can emphasize in your at-home games are math and language. Your math games might not always involve arithmetic. They may encourage counting, memorizing amounts, estimating numbers or visualizing geometric shapes. Language lessons may come through reading instructions or direction cards, or they may come more creatively through inventing words and ideas to describe items for players to guess. Interacting with your child and encouraging his little mind to think and stretch will give him priceless lessons.
Games give you and your kids some one-on-one time, a valuable commodity when you have a houseful of people. Invite one child or another to help you with your morning crossword puzzle or a quiet sudoku game. Seeing you challenge your own mind will reinforce the importance of learning. It’s not just a chore, but a lifelong joy. It also gives the two of you a quiet moment together that may open the door to conversation.
Games don’t always have to be a formal affair. You can turn nearly any moment at home into a game. For instance, older kids can help put together a grocery list. After the list is together, have each child estimate the total price of the groceries. The winner does not have to help unload the car. See who can build a large pile of raked leaves. The chores around the house have to get done; you might as well turn them into a challenge for everyone.
Don’t underestimate the power of the computer. If you have limited your child’s computer time, the bit of time he is allowed on there will be extra special. Direct your browser to some educational games on child-focused websites. Give each child some quiet time on the computer to explore and to play. He will feel released into a world of technology, while his mind is challenged with math, reading, history, science and other games.
Before your child’s school break, talk with his teacher about games you can play at home. She might have some in the classroom that she can recommend. Your child will love sharing the game with your family. Other teachers, coaches and after school directors may also have ideas of board games. Check out children’s museums, aquariums and science centers for games you can play at home.
- education image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from Fotolia.com