Wednesday, March 14

Big Ol' Game (Joss Stone)

When school gets to be too much, we put it away and spend a day playing board games.  Games are a great way to reinforce what you’re teaching, as well as teach social and life skills.  There are so many options, no matter the age level, and most importantly, the kids won’t realize they’re learning!

Some of the social skills involved in board games include : communication, turn taking, sharing, waiting, encouragement, and healthy competition.  It’s a good way to learn that your luck can change in a roll of the dice, so don’t ever give up and just keep trying your best, because your next turn might be your lucky move!

In part one of Learning through Play, we discussed the character and life skills that children learn while playing games.  It's much more than just rolling the dice and moving a piece around the board!  We also talked about a few of our favorite games.  What are your family's favorite games?

Today, we're looking at some of our favorite printable games, and the best way to store everything.  After all, travelling doesn't lend itself well to bringing along several board games, and every inch of space in the back of the car counts!

What about these printable games?
My hands-down favorite place to find printable games is Ellen McHenry's Basement.  Her games are appropriate for middle schoolers and up, and really reinforce the concepts that we are teaching through FUN.  If you haven't met is the time!
Some of the FREE games you'll find there include :

While that's our favorite place to snag new games, you can also find them at places like Educents.  These tend more toward the elementary school genre, for which we are no longer picking up materials.  

Some games we've picked up there include :

So how do we store / travel with all of these?
Printable games can be tricky to store.  The boards themselves are flimsy, but then you have all of those extra cards and playing pieces to keep up with, too.  Two tricks that have worked for us are :
  • Roll up the boards / papers and place down into a cardboard tube.  This was our first mode of storage, until we began having trouble with keeping pieces on the boards during play....because they'd been rolled up for so long, they kept wanting to roll up, and ejecting dice and playing pieces!
  • That brought us to our second idea, and the one that's stuck for three years now.  We took an old mailing box and flattened it out...punched two holes in the top, and then punched two holes in the side of every single game board we had.  
    • Using yarn, we tied them all together, but loosely enough to be able to flip the 'pages.'  
    • We put the cards and pieces in separate sandwich bags, and then all of those went into a gallon sized bag.  
    • The boards slide nicely under the suitcases, and we only need to find room for our game piece bag, to bring along eight games when travelling!
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