Monday, July 09, 2007

Games

I am running around madly trying to tie up loose ends before I head for the States. Post office, bank, teaching, taking Leiya to see friends, shopping. etc. I've got to get the binding on the Wonky Word quilt (it's not completely quilted even, but I don't think my mom in the States has a working sewing machine.)

So, here is a bit of useless information for those of you without children in the house or visiting.

I've taught English in my home for over 20 years, mostly to elementary school age children. Sometimes the kids arrive early and want to play awhile, sometimes we finish up the lesson 10 or 15 minutes early and have a little extra time. This week, since it is the last week before I leave, I'm giving them the whole hour to play a game and eat cookies (store bought. I'm not baking at this late date.) I must have over 30 games in my closet and I'm always on the lookout for more. I don't even know why sometimes. My kids are out of the house. Tetsu and I don't play games. I have a theory somewhere in the back of my mind that game playing, interacting, using your brain etc. will all be great mental exercise and will of someday be of help when figuring out the problems in life, working with people, even helping communication skills. Whatever reasons I put to it, the kids like to play the games and I like to collect them though I'm not sure how this ties in with English learning...

So, here are three of our favorite games that any of you with kids or grand kids might like to try.

RAT-A-TAT-CAT ------ This is a card game that can be played with quite a few kids at a time and adults seem to like it too. It takes some memory work but it isn't hard to grasp and if there is 10 or 15 minutes, it is a good game to fill up time.

LABYRINTH ------ This is a board game put out by Ravensburger. It can only be played by 4 people, but it is another great thinking game based on mazes and shifting blocks. Like many of Ravensburger's games, the board is different every time you play.

SET ----------- This is an all time favorite card game based on... sets. I'm pretty sure this game has won an award for educational games and often the child grasps the idea before the adult does. It takes a little catching on to play it, but once you know what you are looking for it is very interesting. Some kids can't be bothered to even understand the rules other kids can find the sets in seconds.
You're either going to love this game or you're not going to be able to understand it at all.

All three games are non-verbal games so they are good for non-English speakers or with a mixed group of native speakers and non-English speakers.

Hope this is of help to anyone wondering what to do with their kids this summer! If you know of any great games that your kids like please let me know!

9 comments:

anne bebbington said...

For some reason neither my DH or my kids really sit down to play board or card games together very often at all - we had a family of five stay with us over the Easter before last and they were big games players and my kids thoroughly enjoyed joining in and carried it on for a little while after they left but sadly it dwindled - we have endless board games that seldom get touched - I stopped buying them after a while

anne bebbington said...

Sorry Tanya that should have read 'rarely' not really

atet said...

Like you, I have a ton of games in the house. DH and I used to play when we were dating and really enjoyed it. Now, since we are often on opposite schedules, we never seem to find the time. Thanks for reminding me to dust them off. I've played SET -- it is a ton of fun, and it has won educational game awards!

Nancy said...

We discovered the SET game several years ago and bought it for many people for Christmas that year. They LOVED it! Did you know there is an on-line version? http://www.setgame.com/set/puzzle_frame.htm

The Calico Cat said...

I love games... Especially the ones like SET - sure wish I had someone to play with...

Shelina said...

We have a lot of board games in our closet too. Sometimes when there is a family gathering (birthday celebration) someone will bring a board game and we will enjoy playing it. Then I'll go home and buy another. :) We don't play as much during normal occasions, although I have left a Connect 4 game out, and we have played it just because it is out.

I think games are a good way to teach the language, because you have to explain the rules, and the kids think they are learning the game rather than the language. Plus, you will speak more normally when teaching the game, so they get to learn how the language is applied.

I haven't heard of any of those games, but they sure do sound like fun!

LaurieG said...

Apples to Apples is a great game, which has a Junior edition. It involves reading and thinking about words -- it would probably be excellent for teaching English.

Sarah Nopp said...

That Sets sound interesting- I will go try to find it as a gift for a friend. She introduced me to Apples to Apples and Cranium!
I have jsut read through about 5 of your posts! I agree, those pink blocks your daughter made are gorgeous! Amazing work for a beginner.

Ulla said...

Happy to see you use different games too when you try to give the children better possibilities to learn.The human brain is fantastic and can get a better function by playing or....and the importance to win is also a good ground for joyful goodlearning