With the busy Holiday season upon us, its easy to find your students are zoning out. How can you engage them fast when you have nothing else in your lesson plan? That’s easy, turn it into a game. Educational games are motivating, engaging, and they can make a concept come to life like nothing else. Grab my free Gingerbread Man Printable Board Game and use it to review any subject, skill, or just play it for fun.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to make any lesson into a quick and exciting game. You can use these ideas with reading, math, phonics, or content from any subject area. As an added bonus, they require little to no prep or cost.
Make Game Cards
First, you need to decide what topic you want to reinforce. Have a variety of colored index cards available and guide your students in making review cards on the subject. This also works perfectly for sight words, math facts, and vocabulary. The process of creating the cards will help them review the material they are trying to learn. They can later be used for study cards, but game cards are more Game cards also makes a fast and easy way to individualize the lesson for each student. If you have a student for whom this is too difficult or frustrating, that’s ok. Use commercial or teacher made flash cards.
Hit a Target Practice
This is one of my favorite games to play. It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is something satisfying about hitting a target. To play, we spread the game cards out on the floor and use a soft bean bag, small ball or even a piece of paper to throw at our target card. I call out a question or word, and my student must hit the mark. Sometimes we take turns to see who gets the most cards, other times it is just fun to try to hit the target.
This one is great for sorting practice or yes, no answers. Write categories on large cards or paper and put them at one end of the room. They can be attached to buckets or baskets if you have those available, but you don’t need them. Students grab a game card and race to put it by the correct category. This can be done with two teams, or individually by using a timer. Many of my students just like to run and get energy out while learning.
Count Your Points
Rolling dice is an easy way to turn fact review into a game. Roll a die and answer a question. Each player keeps track of the points they roll. Simple, but trying to collect the most points is motivating and sneaks in some math practice too. Keep some standard dice handy. There are also some great dice and game apps you can download so you always have dice, timers, and spinners handy.
Climb the Ladder
Each player or team draws a ladder with ten steps. Players take turns drawing a card and answering the question. If the question is answered correctly, the player rolls a dice. If an even number is rolled, they get to move up one step, If an odd number is rolled they must move down one step. The first player to reach the top is the winner.
Mix it and Fix it
In this game, questions and answers are written on separate cards. For word-building games, each letter of the word or each syllable is written on a separate card. Each team or player is given a set of mixed-up cards that form a word or answer. For example the letters s-h-e-l-l for the word shell. Lay a set of mixed-up cards out for each player or team. The first to “fix” their cards by matching all the questions and answers or unscrambling letters to make the word gets the point.
Board games are easy and fun to make. Let students create a game board and decorate it with a theme of their choice. They can be as simple or elaborate as you have time for. I have sketched a quick one on a piece of paper and had students create elaborate projects.
Have Fun Playing Games
This article first appeared at Tammys Teaching Tools