5 Benefits of Using Games in Your Lessons!
We both LOVE playing games with kids. When we’re thinking about games, we’re really thinking about learning activities that make things engaging and motivating for kids. We can call them games to kids, but we know that they are playfully disguised learning activities!
When we’re talking about games, it doesn't necessarily mean we’re getting out this elaborate board game and we’re spending loads of time on setup and rules. Instead, think about how you can gamify your activities in a way that is really going to pull your students in.
There are so many benefits to using games in your lessons, or gamifying your activities. Just thinking about the working memory, meta-cognitive planning, application of skills, repetition - you name it, it could be a benefit. When we weave learning activities into our lessons, they really are helping our students in so many ways.
Here are just 5 of the most notable benefits to using games in your lessons:
1. Games improve attention, concentration, and memory.
Whenever we tell students that we’re playing a game, the excitement always increases and kids want to participate. This excitement will almost always lead to better attention and concentration being paid to that day’s lesson.
Through games, we can also help to improve and increase working memory. We spoke with Dr. Erica Warren about this in a past episode. Games like Concentration really can help to develop the working memory quite a bit!
2. Games improve critical thinking.
In most games, kids have to work through and problem solve. Sometimes, a game could have a yes or no pathway. But other times, students will need to do a little more planning. There’s going to be some strategy in there. Even something as simple as a Tic-Tac-Toe game requires strategy. Over the years, we’ve had students that have totally kicked out butts in Tic-Tac-Toe and have shown us strategies that we never knew before.
3. Games help with executive function skills.
Remember, executive functioning is a huge part of learning, but many, many individuals struggle with aspects of it. Using games in your lessons is a great way to help increase your students’ executive function skills. Here’s just one simple example: when playing games, students need to listen to and follow directions. They also need to follow through with specific tasks. This offers great practice for doing those same things in the real world.
4. Games help to build language skills.
While playing games, students need to communicate with one another. They need to use both their expressive and their receptive language skills. For many students with dyslexia, using these tools is such a wonderful benefit of gamifying lessons.
We’re able to weave in the content when we use these learning games. Whatever the particular lesson focus, we are weaving that throughout our learning activity.
5. Games bring out kids’ creativity.
For students who find the classroom challenging, having a game in which they can showcase their creativity is a major benefit. It boosts their motivation and gives them an opportunity to shine. We love that these special students have an outlet for their creativity and an opportunity to share it with others.
For even more on the importance and benefits of gamifying your lessons, check out our latest episode of the Together in Literacy podcast. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to rate, leave a positive review, and subscribe!
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