The 30 Minute Classroom: How to Use Board Games as Learning Tools in your Classroom
The pandemic has completely changed the way students learn. One teacher instructing a class of 60 students is rather monotonous and unproductive. Students want to be engaged and learning has to be a thought-provoking, fun experience with tangible outcomes for them. Teaching has to evolve but for many classrooms making a 360 degree leap to a complete tech-enabled world is close to impossible. It is infrastructure heavy, highly expensive and requires a steep learning curve. However, a simple but effective way to engage students but also revamp unidirectional methods of knowledge delivery is through play! Board games, for example, are cost effective, easy to use and reuse and inclusive tools in education provided you can get your hands on the right ones!
Board games are a fun, engaging and entertaining way to teach important life skills and qualities to all players. There are a wide variety of the kinds of board games that have been specifically designed for students. Board games are a great teaching tool in classrooms which can be given to students at home as well as in school as they can learn a plethora of things from them. They can also be used as teaching aids to provide a fun alternative method of learning. Here are a few ways that board games can be used as a tool for learning in any classroom.
1. Many board games have been created and designed based on different subjects that are taught in school. Students have a fun and creative option to learn and improve their spelling and mathematical skills through board games. There are games that are also based on geography, history, etc. that students can play and learn from at the same time.
2. Games like Scrabble can teach students how to spell, while developing and expanding their vocabularies. A game like Monopoly can teach students how to count, how to add and subtract and about money all at once. Luma World’s Xing is a great tool to teach children about math, multiplication, factors and multiples.
3. Students who may suffer from social anxiety can use board games as a platform to make new friends and work on their social skills. Board games are usually multiplayer games and can be used as common ground to help students to form bonds with other players. A game like Learning Resources Alphabet Island is a great one for kindergarten students to learn the alphabet without getting nervous.
4. Students can also learn how to improve their communication skills through board games. Conversation during the game helps students to articulate their thoughts and ideas in a fun environment.
5. An important revelation of recent years has been the importance of inculcating 21st century skills in young children. Interpersonal skills, critical thinking, decision making or creativity are not skills that can be acquired through academic curriculum but are honed and refined through repeated activities and real-world application. These skills are essential for success irrespective of location or profession. Play introduces kids to a host of these skills and develops them subconsciously through practice.
6. Students can also learn about and improve their problem-solving skills through board games. Most board games require students to have proper planning and thinking ahead to win. Some even require students to perform different tasks to win. This helps students work on their problem-solving skills. Risk is a great example of a game that teaches students this.
7. Interesting facts about different kinds of topics can also be learned through board games. Some board games include storylines that could be included in the school curriculum. Students can play these games and learn important information from the games.
Students can learn many important skills from board games in addition to learning about important topics for school as discussed above. Multiple games have been created that are oriented towards specific subject learning like mathematics, science, geography, spelling, etc. Board games are great in classrooms as a break from long lectures or even as a way to introduce a cumbersome topic.
Although some of them can be played for hours on end, board games can be stopped at any point of time and can be played during the period of one class span. Popular and classic board games can also be reconfigured to meet the needs of the students by adding fun twists. Now, with increased online classes (even at home) board games act as a great way to take a break from screens and bond with friends and family while continuing the learning. In fact some companies like Luma World create games that are focused towards delivering the right balance of academics, life skills and fun! Board games are a perfect inclusion to any classroom (or homeschool) to turn learning into a more fun and engaging experience for students as well as teachers.