Ah, the familiar cry: “Mom! I’m bored!” Yet somehow, suggestions of cleaning a bedroom or folding laundry fall on deaf ears, and the whining takes on a fevered pitch. Next time your child has “nothing to do,” try one of these games — all of which are actually learning and educational activities in disguise.
It’s not math, even though it does involve numbers. But it is a game of logic, and it is educational. You can stop by you local 99-cent store and pick up a book of puzzles, or you can just go online to print out puzzles. If your child has never played Sudoku, start with [these free printables from Super Teacher Worksheets]. http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/sudoku.html They’ll teach your child the basics and move through progressively more difficult levels. If your child is already a Sudoku fan, you can find plenty of online printable puzzles via Google.
Scrabble makes an excellent junior version of the popular game, which is perfect for beginning spellers. Yes, this means you’ll have to play, too, but you might actually enjoy yourself. And by about fourth grade, kids are ready to move up to the real version of the game. A typical two-player game takes about 45 minutes — use the timer if you need to limit thinking time.
Another fantastic game for beginning spellers, and it’s still challenging for older players, too. To even the playing field, you can require players over age 8 or so to only make words of 5 letters or more, or find other rules that work for your family. This is an easy game to learn, so your child will be able to teach his friends and play with them, too.
A handheld video game player doesn’t have to be a waste of time. Leapster games all teach essential school skills — from phonics to multiplication — and kids love them. The handheld itself costs about $50, and individual games are around $15, but they make fantastic birthday and holiday gifts. And your kids will use the handheld for years and learn the whole time.
This online game site claims kids from kindergarten through eighth grade will enjoy the activities and interactive games offered. Although your 13-year-old may find many of the activities a little babyish, elementary school students will absolutely enjoy playing the wide variety of free games offered. And you’ll love the fact that you can choose games by grade level and skill set.
Whether your child likes electronic entertainment or old fashioned board games, you can find fun, educational ways to play. Enjoy!