Here at DCM we talk a lot about playful learning and the positive learning outcomes associated with our exhibits and programs. Today, I’d like to specifically focus on the value of games as a learning tool. Games are a great developmental tool for children of all ages. For the youngest learners, games are a fun way to learn how to follow the rules, focus, take turns and practice patience. Building these skills helps with self-regulation, which is the basis of problem solving and creative thinking. Games have developmental benefits that span across all domains; they present your child with opportunities to practice and strengthen important early math and early reading skills such as:
One of my new favorite games for younger children is the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. The overall goal of the game is to fill your log with color coded acorns. This game reinforces color learning as well as matching, sorting, counting and other early math skills. Additional developmental benefits of this game include hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, pre-handwriting skills, strategic thinking, building social skills and practicing turn taking – AND it’s fun and engaging, which encourages children to focus and play to completion. I like this game so much, we now carry it in our Explorer Store here in the Museum.
Dominoes are a great classic game that can either be scaled down for younger children or scaled up to meet the needs of older children. Dominoes are excellent for practicing subitizing, which is an important early math skill. In addition to being a good way to get kids to recognizing numbers quickly, dominoes is also good at honing a child’s ability to spot patterns and make a match. The game also sharpens critical thinking and problem solving skills since older children must decide how to maximize the number of points.
Are you interested in building your game collection, but are not sure where to start? You can try out a number of games here at DCM during family game hour in our SMART Café Tuesday-Friday from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. We are also featuring a number of board games at our Museum Store.
Of course, in addition to being a great developmental tool for children, games are also a great way to bring the entire family together. What are your family’s favorite games? I would love to hear about them!
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