There are a number of fun games that be played with kids which focus on important skills. Some of these games teach strategies in managing money and following a budget, while others teach important thinking skills. They can be used in isolation, at home on a rainy afternoon, or as a complement to instructional units at school.
This is an old stand-by, but it is still a great game to teach money and financial strategies. The object of the game is to purchase as many properties as possible without going bankrupt, while increasing your net worth. When you think about it, that is exactly what we try to do in real life. Math is involved heavily in this game also, as kids are always having to count their money, subtract when they owe a debt, and add in their salary as they go, in order to determine their current financial standing. Because of this, it is a great game to use to get kids to focus on math and economic skills. It is appropriate for ages 8 through adult approximately, but with help, younger kids could play also. The board game is always fun but there is also a computerized version now and an app for mobile devices.
THE GAME OF LIFE
Like Monopoly, this game involves the use of money and economic planning strategies. But more than that, it is also a great game for decision-making. All through the game, kids have to decide which path they will take, and then reap the consequences of their decisions. Players also have a goal to increase their net worth throughout this game, so they are always revamping their strategies based on what happens. They also get to decide whether to go to college or straight into a career, which is good for older kids, since they will be making that decision for real in the near future. The object of this game is to arrive at "retirement" with something to show for it, without having too much debt. The game is available as a classic board game but is also available as a computer game or mobile app.
Another classic game, this one teaches how to think. It involves the skills of "inference" and deductive reasoning, all of which are important on state standardized tests. The game's object is to determine with a degree of certainty who committed the crime and where, and with what weapon. If any part of the accusation is wrong, the player loses. Therefore it is important that they pay attention to detail and deduce correctly. This is a fun game for kids and adults alike and lets kids practice abstract thinking skills based on what they know. It is available as the traditional board game, a travel companion game, or computer game. It is also available as an app through the Google Play and Amazon stores.
For much younger kids, this game is a great counting game. It is very simple to play but fun for elementary students or younger kids. The game is composed of buckets of cherries and a cherry tree, which you spin to see how many cherries you get. Along the way birds can eat your cherries, or other things can happen, but the object is to get as many as possible. While the game is mainly a game of chance, kids still count their cherries along the way, so it is a good basic practice for counting skills.
Another great game which teaches how to manage money, this game involves going through an entire month with a set amount of cash, and seeing how well players are able to manage it. This is an excellent game for teachers to use, in correlation with a unit on budgeting or money management. Players are given cash for the month and get chances to get more cash, but it is focused on paying bills as they are due. The object is to hang onto as much money as possible throughout the month, just like in the real world! This game is available as a classic board game and may be available soon as an app for mobile devices.
These are just five examples of some great classic games we all know, but may not realize what benefit kids can derive from them. They may be used at home or at school, in conjunction with specific instructional units. They teach important essential skills which can help kids with thinking skills and money management, which apply to the real world.
There are many other games which help kids learn while having fun, which may be discussed in a later post.
Elizabeth Wright is a professional blogger that provides information and advice for early childhood education and after school program in Pottstown PA. She writes for The Learning Experience, a leading Day Care Center.