Games are excellent tools to use for teaching your children. They strengthen focus, memory skills, executive functioning skills, analytic and problem-solving skills, and even socialization skills. The hands-on, active learning opportunity it provides is also beneficial.  And games don’t even have to be considered “educational games” to get many of these benefits.

As I shared in my last post, I attended a workshop by  Janice Vreeland on making educational games many years ago. (After thoroughly searching, I have been unable to locate her. I believe she has discontinued her business. Her ideas are so good, I think they should continue to be shared.) I wanted to share a few more game options that are easy to make and fun for your children.

As promised, today’s blog will feature more homemade games for learning. (click here to see the first blog on making games)  Contains some affiliate links.

Wrap-ups

Wraps-ups are wonderful tools for reviewing and practicing skills learned. You can buy a set of multiplication and division wrap-ups for $19.99 on Amazon, or you could easily make the same thing for much less using file folders, a hole punch, clear contact paper, a marker, and strong string.

     

Wrap-ups work great for reviewing math problems, items that follow a sequence such as the alphabet, days of the week, or months of the year, or for matching items. Look online (Amazon) for more ideas for wrap-ups and then make your own!

You simply cut a piece of a file folder into the shape you want it (rectangles work well). Then you list the items to match or put in a sequence along the sides of the page using a permanent marker.  Then cover the wrap-up with contact paper to make it stronger. Using a hole-punch, punch a hole in the top for the string and some half-circles along the side next to the items listed (this is so the string has a place to rest as the child wraps it around the wrap-up).  Tie an extra-long string in the hole on top and begin wrapping! You can also make an answer key by tracing the string with a  permanent marker on the back after completion. Then when the child completes the wrap-up they can see if their string matches the lines you made on the back.

Basketball Spelling (or it can be used to review other skills or knowledge as well)

This game was one of our favorites and it’s so simple, you’ll love how easy it is to make and use. Using a file folder folded open, draw a basketball court on the inside of the folder using a permanent marker. You can cover this with contact paper to make it stronger, or leave it as is. Add stickers and use a colored folder to make it look even better! Find a penny or a basketball shaped eraser to use as the basketball for the game.

This game is a two-player game. It works best to have a parent as the referee and reader of the spelling words. The parent reads the word to be spelled for the first player. (Using each player’s current spelling list for the week is a great option.) They  may use a sheet of paper if needed to practice writing the word until they are confident to spell it out loud. If the word is spelled correctly, the player then moves the basketball one section in the court from the middle circle towards their basket. Then they get another word to spell. If they continue to spell their words correctly, they continue to move towards their basket. Play ends for that player when they spell a word incorrectly, or if they reach the basket and score.  The play then goes to the next player and continues in the same manner.

This game would work well for practicing other skills such as math or science questions also.

Bingo

Bingo is a fun game for all ages that can be used for many different learning opportunities! And it’s easy to make.

These pictures are of preposition bingo and character-building bingo. Be creative, you can use bingo to help review anything you want your child to know well such as sight words, math facts, science vocabulary, and more.

         

Use a manila folder or cardstock to cut out boards for each player. Index cards are perfect for the information to be written on that is called out to the players during the game. Make 35 cards using index cards with the different sight words or whatever information you’re studying written on them.  Using excel you can make a 5 x 5 grid with the information for each bingo board. You’ll want to make up 5 or 6 different boards with a mix of the words from the 35 cards (not all the words should be on each board).  Print, cut out, and glue onto the manila folder boards to provide stability. The caller flips the index cards and reads them out loud. Pennies or small pieces of paper can be used for your game markers for players to cover their respective spaces as the caller calls out the information.  Go till the first person gets five spaces in a row covered.

Climb the Mountain

This game is played like Racko and works great for anything that is in a progression like the alphabet, days of the week, books of the Bible, etc.

To make this game, you’ll take a file folder and draw a mountain on the inside in the middle and two strips of seven blocks on each side (see picture). You’ll also need a deck of 40 cards (index cards cut in half work well for this). Write one item per card with the items to be ordered in the game.  (Letters of the alphabet, books for the Bible, etc.)

To play the game, each player is dealt seven cards. Each player puts their cards on their seven blocks in the order they were dealt starting from the bottom and going to the top. The rest of the cards are laid face down near the board to form a draw pile. The first player draws the top card and may exchange it for any card on his ladder, discarding the card from his ladder face up on the discard pile. If he doesn’t want the card drawn, he discards it on the discard pile.  The next player may choose the top card from the discard pile or take a new card from the draw pile and do the same.  Play continues until someone wins by getting a progression.

I hope you’ll try some of these fun and easy-to-make games! Please share below if you have other homemade game ideas that you’ve tried.