Educational games have always been important additions to the classroom. From games that aid in spelling and vocabulary, such as Hangman and Scrabble to games that help students learn how to think critically, like Brain Teasers to some games that help improve memory like those in which you flip cards over and try to remember where the matching card was placed, games have been an integral part of every child's educational experience. As a teacher, it is important to play games with your students to spark their interest for learning and allow your students to have a little fun in the midst of classroom work. Some might say this is not a beneficial practice to engage in with your students, but if the games you play are educational and fun, everyone benefits. These games can also be used as rewards and positive reinforcement for good behavior and good work in class.
Apples to Apples
Apples to Apples is an awesome card game produced by Mattel. This game is deceptively simple and really fun to play with groups of people, whether in class or at a party. With this game, there are two sets of cards: red apple cards and green apple cards. The red apple cards have nouns (person, place, thing, or idea) on them. These nouns are often famous people (like "Mel Gibson"), concepts (like "Feminism"), or extraordinary events (like "My High School Prom"). The green apple cards have adjectives (words that describe a noun) on them. The goal of the game is to match your red apple cards with the green apple card that is drawn. In each round, each player gets five red apple cards and a judge is appointed. That judge draws a green apple card and announces the word. Each player (the judge does not play) puts a red apple card down-face down so the judge cannot see - that pairs well with the word on the green apple card. The judge then decides who put the best word in, and that person gets the green apple card. Whoever has the most green apple cards at the end, wins. This game can get students thinking about word choice in literature and in their own writing, as well as what makes certain pairings sad or funny. Students will also learn new words by being exposed to things they are not necessarily familiar with.
Hink Pink is a great brainteaser game made by Discovery Bay Games. In this game, there are cards that have riddles on them, and students need to think about the answer to the riddles in order to receive points. The answers to the riddles are always two words, and they always rhyme. They also always fall into one of three categories: Hink Pinks are two one-syllable words that rhyme, Hinky Pinkys are two two-syllable words that rhyme, and Hinkity Pinkitys are two three-syllable words that rhyme. If the teacher is calling out the riddles, he or she will tell the students if it is a Hink Pink, Hinky Pinky, or Hinkity Pinkity, then read the riddle. For example, the teacher might say: "Hink Pink: A chocolate connoisseur." Then, the students would answer "Fudge Judge." There are many worksheets and educational activities online that a quick internet search will give you. However, if you buy the game, there is also a timer that can be used with smaller groups. Using the cards alone, though, is a great way to get students involved when you have a few extra minutes at the end of class.