Students work so hard for gain during the school year. The break for the summer is a great mental reprieve for kids and families, but those school year gains are hard to hold onto. As a parent I groan a little when the summer reading, summer math, packets, etc. come home. So here is the inside information from the teacher side of it, those summer assignments and resources are an attempt to mitigate the “summer slide”. Summer slide is the loss of skills acquired during the previous school year.
Board games can help with some incidental learning and skill reinforcement. The nice thing with using board games for skill reinforcement is that it does not feel like work to the kids.
There are a few key things to help guide the selections of board games to bring to the table.
1. Keep is easy
If the game or skill is too hard your child will get frustrated. This is a case of less can be more. As a parent or caregiver the goal is reinforcing skills, not new learning.
2. High interest
Fun fact, kids have been known to read a book a level or two harder than what they normally can read, if it is a high interest subject. If the game is high interest there is more motivation to persevere through any reading challenges. This happened with my younger son. In second grade he was a struggling and reluctant reader. We played What do you Meme Family Edition, he was so excited to read the silly cards, he took his time and read each card in his hand carefully. This careful reading leads into the the next tip…
3. Wait time
If a child is playing a game with a skill they are not fully proficient in, all players need to allow for wait time (thinking time). Wait timer allows the child time for processing the task and mentally work it out. It is the most valuable time for developing their skills and supporting their previous learning. When my son was reading the What Do You Meme: Family Edition cards, it was tempting to jump in an help him read the words, but that time to go through the decoding process and succeed was critical. It did mean the game took a little longer, and it was worth every extra minute.
4. Celebrate their success in the task
We all like to be recognized for accomplishments, and kids flourish with praise. One thing I have found very powerful with my students is to let them know that you understand that they had to work hard and persevere through. Cheering them on and complimenting their hard work is a powerful tool to support them.
These are intended to be incidental learning experiences that are light and fun. Kids will be much more receptive and eager to play if they find it fun.
Check out some of our articles with specific game recommendations.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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