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The world of tomorrow is built on the foundations of today.

Christa is a genius with science and technology, understanding she needs to learn the basics before moving on to the hard stuff. Through careful attention to her studies, Christa can do wonderful things by developing her brain. Knowing how to work with numbers, she makes sure that everything adds up to success. Reading and comprehension helps her learn about new opportunities, share ideas, and understand the world around her. Gaming in almost every aspect is about learning. It starts with the rules. You need comprehension to interpret the rules from the page to the table. Games help build skills in any domain from matching colors and counting for the simpler introduction games all the way up to higher end math like resource management and even larger strategy for war games. Role playing games specifically have been known to encourage higher level reading skills. A lot of the sourcebooks for role playing games and some board games have historical settings that include accurate information about the time period, teaching aspects of the culture at the time like trade and resource management. Whether you're focusing on the basics or higher level brain functioning skills, games are a fun window to learning, where your classroom can be set in any place or time. Math From a very young age, most of us are exposed to games that help us learn the foundations of math. Learning to count is the first step in learning to measure our world. Identifying shapes leads us to a deeper perception of space and design. Mastering basic arithmetic creates building blocks of understanding how math is present in every aspect of our lives. Luckily, nearly all tabletop games inherently allow you to hone those math skills. If you keep score in a game, you’re practicing arithmetic. As the banker in Monopoly, a lot of older siblings got a lesson in embezzlement, too, but that’s a different article. The greatest benefit of utilizing games to practice math skills is the application. Games allow you to apply the ever-increasing complex concept of numbers, shapes, and equations in ways that not only make sense but personalizes those concepts. The ability to see theory in action makes math less intimidating and more intriguing. For beginners, traditional games like Uno and Dominoes supply endless opportunities to practice basic counting and arithmetic. With it’s big, colorful cards, Uno helps in identifying numbers, counting, and pattern recognition. Dominoes teaches identifying numbers by pips, requiring the player to count the pips in order to know what number they have to play. Again, this game also heavily involves pattern recognition, as well as spatial awareness. All of the official Uno and Dominoes variations aside, these are ideal games to customize to your needs, meaning you can alter rules easily without breaking the game (making it unplayable).

  • Each number card you lay in Uno, you must add, subtract, or multiply the previous number laid.

  • Learn sequential numbers by having players lay out cards in a row, in order from 0-9. Mix colors or allow one color at a time, utilizing wild cards to change the color in the middle of a sequence. Once a sequence has been completed, gather the cards and start a new row, with the next person who has a 0 or wild card determining the color.

  • Create individual trains or shapes with Dominoes using a set total pip value. For example: If the total pip value allowed is 200, players must create something using the amount of dominoes required to reach, but not exceed 200 points.

  • War with Dominoes can be played by each player flipping one domino at a time, yelling out the total number of pips. When they match, players flip 3 dominoes and the highest total of the three wins.

Building on the basics and beyond, there are many games that integrate math skills of all levels in ways that utilize math as a game mechanic or method of playing the game. This allows the fun of the game and the interaction to be the focus. Players actively building skills in an environment that appeals to them helps to remove the stress that can accompany learning challenges.Here’s a small example of games and the skills they improve:

  • King of Tokyo

    • Basic Addition and Subtraction

    • Resource Management

  • Marvel Legendary

    • Advanced Addition and Subtraction

    • Complex Calculations and Sequencing

  • Prime Climb

    • Advanced Arithmetic

    • Color Coding System

  • Mutant Meeple

    • Spatial Reasoning

    • Logic and Puzzle Solving

Reading and Writing When we ask our fellow gamers how this hobby has improved their lives, the most common story we hear is how role playing games got them to read. When they were required to read in school, they struggled to pay attention or connect to the material. When they discovered role playing games, a new world opened up to them, literally, in the form of a role playing book. These books are designed to engage players in a world filled with adventure and mystery, all with a rich backstory complete with people, places, animals, and items. Descriptions are detailed, including everything from what the clothing looks like for the time period, what kind of materials or technology are available, maps illuminating the world and your place in it. These books nurture a love of reading that inspires confidence in the classroom. When beginning a role playing game campaign, players are often encouraged to create their own character’s origin story and how they fit in with the party. This creative writing exercise immerses the player in their character, using statistics and context to deepen their connection to the story. Players learn the importance of taking notes while the story develops, as some sessions may be weeks apart. They also learn from each other. Players are exposed to different writing styles or interpretations of text that work to increase their writing abilities. For those not into the role playing scene, there is no shortage of board and card games that teach reading skills. From the classics like Scrabble and Boggle to more modern games like Codenames and Rory’s Story Cubes, games teach us not only new words but how to use those words. Tell a story in Once Upon a Time, define words in Balderdash, build words in Bananagrams, listen to clues and use deductive reasoning in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. Learning more about words and how to express them increases confidence in communication, opening more opportunities to grow in life.

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