Incorporating games into your classroom is a great way to make learning fun. Most students (and really, all of us) learn best when instruction is engaging, interesting, and fun. One way to bring this fun and engagement to your class is to incorporate games into your classroom and curriculum.
There are many, many options for games out there that you can use, from interactive digital games to go with your classroom Smartboard to student-created review board games. Below are four options that I find to be particularly fun and effective games in my classroom.
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Incorporating Games Into Your Classroom
Game Option One: Bingo
Bingo has been around in one form or another for many years. It is simple and fun. It also lends itself well to classroom use as many different things can replace the traditional numbers on a bingo card. Using bingo as a review game, as a vocabulary matching game, or even as a choice board can be fun.
One of my favourite ways to use bingo is in my Back-to-School Bingo game. This interactive bingo game is FREE and a great way to help students quickly get to know their classmates and teachers while moving around the classroom and talking to each other. Perfect for that first day or first week of class, beginning your year with a game like this helps set the tone right off the bat that your class can be a fun and engaging place.
You could also purchase this bingo game and make it a regular event that your students look forward to with prizes. Students could take turns being the caller and the checker. Use bingo games as a fun way to incorporate games into your classroom.
Game Option Two: Digital Escape Rooms
Digital escape rooms are a popular and trendy pastime. In these activities, people work together to solve a series of questions, problems, and riddles to escape from a locked room. While your classroom door will not be literally locked, digital escape rooms lend themselves well to student engagement and learning as well as other curricular goals like teamwork and critical thinking.
Though excellent games for the classroom, digital escape rooms can be time-consuming to create on your own. Instead of taking the time to design and build them yourself, I have created a selection of themed digital escape rooms for you to use in your classroom.
Digital escape rooms are a perfect activity to help build community with cooperative learning and engage students in social-emotional learning for 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. These digital escape rooms should take your students about 30 minutes to 60 minutes to complete from start to finish. Find all digital escape room resources on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.
Game Option Three: Online Review Games
Students love online review games like Kahoot, Blooket, Gimkit, and Quizlet. I have linked several online resources in this article about digital classroom tools. This blog post from the website Ditch That Textbook has a really good outline of some of these tools.
Game Option Four: Board Games
If your school is in a season where many students will be absent for school-related reasons (plays, sports, teams, etc.,) consider hosting a board games afternoon with your students. The Cult of Pedagogy blog calls these days “Lame Duck School Days”. Call it social-emotional learning and let students have fun with their peers. This is a great way to help students build relationships, have fun, and for you to get things done around your classroom.
I recommend having students switch games every 20 – 30 minutes so that they don’t get bored. You could also have students work towards this option as a whole class reward. I have provided Amazon links for these games, but also check out garage sales and thrift stores for board games.
- Decks of Cards
- Exploding Kittens
- Monopoly Deal
- Scattergories Card Game
- Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
- Trash Pandas
- Games don’t have to be full-out, organized games like the examples above. Reading strategies like popcorn reading or activities where student groups compete for the first or best answer can be fun and engaging games too.
- Prizes can be fun. A jar filled with stickers or stamps (even for older students), or a few points of extra credit are popular options with students. That being said, students will almost always enjoy the games just as much without prizes.
While not every class period can be a game – sometimes we all have to buckle down and cover material that is hard work, incorporating games into your classroom periodically can help set a fun tone for your class and make students more willing to work hard and engage even when you are not playing games.