Everyday Games to Improve Your Child’s Learning

Family game night can be an opportunity for you to help your child fine tune a specific area of learning or even develop functional skills. As we all know, childrens’ brains are like sponges and are ready to absorb whatever they come in contact with. Let’s make those opportunities fun and also meaningful. Not to mention, game nights can be used as a tool to start a tradition or simply just bonding time. The matrix below was created by a fellow speech-language pathologist, Becky Mitchum, and it identifies common games which can be used to improve a variety of skills sets including language, reasoning, and cognitive skills.

SKILLS DEFINED

  • Fine Motor (or dexterity): coordination of small muscles, in movements—usually involving the synchronization of hands and fingers—with the eyes. The complex levels of manual dexterity that humans exhibit can be attributed to and demonstrated in tasks controlled by the nervous system.
  • Attention: allow us to focus on one part of what is going on around us while at the same time ignoring, to some degree, other things that are going on at the same time. Attention skills are necessary for us to be able to take information from our senses (like seeing and hearing) and transfer it into our brain for use in thinking, learning, problem solving and memory.
  • Memory: verbal memory refers to the ability to recall information that is encoded in words and includes hearing, reading and any other avenue that involves speech and language. Procedural memory refers to the ability to recall how to do something.
  • Reasoning: what we do when we take information that we are given, compare it to what we already know, and then come up with a conclusion.
  • Visual-Spatial: the ability to mentally manipulate 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional and 4-dimensional figures.
  • Language: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Listening and reading are known as ‘receptive’ skills while speaking and writing are known as ‘productive’ skills.
  • Processing: “tools” a student has at their disposal in order to handle the information they are presented with and expected to do something with.
  • Academic: academic skills are a collection of study habits, learning strategies, and time management tools that help students learn and absorb school lessons.

THE MATRIX

GAMES FINE MOTOR ATTENTION MEMORY REASONING VISUAL-SPATIAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING ACADEMIC
Backgammon X X X
Battleship X X X X X
Bingo X X X
Boggle X X X X X
Checkers X X X X
Chess X X X X X
Chinese Checkers X X X X
Clue X X X X
Connect Four X X X X
Guess Who? X X
Jenga X X X
Life X X X
Mastermind X X X
Memory Game X X X
Monopoly X X X
Outburst X X X
Password X X X X X
Perfection X X X
Pictionary X X X X X X
Racko X X X
Risk X X X X X
Scattergories X X X X X X
Scrabble X X X X X X
Sorry! X X X
Stock Market X X X X
Stratego X X X X X
Tri Bond X X X X X
Tri-Ominoes X X X X
Trivial Pursuit X X X X
Upwords X X X X X X
Yahtzee X X X X

References
Challenging-Our-Minds, Study.com, Lehman Learning, WiseGeek