Games. Why do we love to play games? Whether it is a board game, a physical game, a video game, played in a group, or by yourself, games just make things more fun! But does it go beyond that? Are there actual benefits to playing games? Of course, there are!
Educational– Let’s face it, playing games makes learning more fun! Take any subject and turn it into a game and you have instant reinforcement of what they are learning. Many times lightbulb moments come on during these times!
Retention– A well known Chinese proverb says, “Tell Me and I Forget. Show Me and I Remember. Involve Me and I Understand.” When we are fully engaged in our learning, we remember.
Brain Development– When we play games we are using skills our brains needs to grow and develop. Many skills are used during gameplay such as logic and reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving, strategy, cognitive skills, memory and spatial reasoning. In addition, games can also increase communication and verbal skills. Wow! Who knew how much games can help the brain grow?
Collaboration– Games allow students to collaborate with others. This can help create trust, team building, and cooperation skills. Friendships and bonding moments are created during these times!
Decrease Stress– Okay besides the fact that games are simply fun, they also help reduce stress! When we are enjoying something our body produces endorphins. Endorphins can help with stress and depression. I can’t tell you how many times that I have had experience that hard laughter during a game. You know the one that makes your belly hurt so bad and you can barely breathe but you just can’t stop laughing? Good times!
Life Lessons- So this one is sometimes a hard one for students to grasp, but it is an important one. Often, and more than we care to admit, we don’t always win in life. I’m sure you have students like I do that can’t stand losing. They cry and maybe even throw a small tantrum especially if they are playing with a sibling. It drives me nuts but I don’t think that means games shouldn’t be played because of it. Instead, there are lessons to be learned when we lose a game. Turn those unfortunate times into a teaching moment.
Now that we know the big benefits of playing games, I thought I would share a some of my favorite resources for games! One can never have too many options!
TCW Resources– Otherwise known as Three Cranky Women or should we say, creative women? Published by Kjos, these games are always a sure hit with students! If you ever go to conferences, you may have even been lucky enough to play one of their games with Charlene or seen her present! She is so fun!
Keys to Imagination– Michelle Sisler and Sally Ritchie collaborated together and made Whirligig games available on the site! I think I have most all of the Whirligig games. Many can be played one on one as well as groups. Also to join the Keys to Imagination team is Karen Koch from Music Educator Marketplace. The marketplace has various games from many creative teachers.
Moving on to digital game resources…
TpT Music Crew– this is a group of 30 fantastic music teachers, of which I am honored to be a part of, who create all sorts of digital music resources including games.
Susan Paradis– Susan’s site is always a favorite to visit for game resources.
Pianimation– Though Jennifer Fink is no longer active on her blog, her fun games are still available to download.
And then if you are interested in game subscriptions…
Teach Piano Today has a game club where you receive 4 games a month. The games are sent to your email inbox each month.
Vibrant Music Teaching has a brand new subscription service that includes 5 new games a month. All the games are hosted on the website. You just log in and find the game you want. I love how Nicola has organized the website to make planning super easy.
There are so many options out there. I’ve had the pleasure to experience first-hand, games from all of these creators! They are wonderful!
Tell me, do you like to play games with your students?
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