Have you ever thought of playing board games with your classroom? Believe it or not there are many board games that are easy and fun to play with the entire classroom. There are also board games that are great to be played during centers (in smaller groups). Here are the list of games I love to play with the entire class, or in small groups. Would you like some of these games in your classroom? I can help you get them for free! Email me ([email protected]) and I will help you get some great board games (possibly for free!) for your classroom!
Board Games for the Classroom
CloverLeap This game is fantastic for helping students learn to form sentences correctly. I also list it below as a great game for centers but you can modify it easily to play with the entire class. To do this I put a magnet on each of the clovers and create the game on a magnetic board. Students learn that to form a sentence, the order you put the clover in as subject/pronoun, verb, adjective, noun/object. The clovers come in different colors – so a good sentence is white, blue, yellow, red – (all subject/pronouns are white, verbs are blue, adjectives yellow, and nouns red). Students can rearrange the sentences during free time or you can have a race – have 2 students come up and compose a sentence and then read the sentence to the class and vote who has the silliest sentence. There are endless possibilities.
CloverLeap meets the following core curriculum standards:
- Literature – Craft & Structure Grade Levels K and 1st
- Informational Text –Key Ideas & Details Grade Level K
- Foundational Skills –Print Concepts Grade Levels K and 1st
Foundational Skills – Phonics & Word Recognition Grade Level K
- Speaking and listening –Comprehension & Collaboration Grade Levels K and 1st
Language – Conventions of Standard English Grade Levels K and 1st
Sumology-(2nd-4th grade and beyond) This is like Scrabble for math! Children build equations like a crossword puzzle. Put magnets on the back of the numbers and students can build on the board throughout the day or they can build while they wait in line, etc.
Sumologymeets the following core curriculum standards:
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction-Grade Level 2nd
- Add and subtract within 20. Grade Level 2nd
- Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division. Grade Level 3rd
- Understand properties of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division. Grade Level 3rd
- Multiply and divide within 100. Grade Level 3rd
- Solve problems involving the four operations, and identify and explain patterns in arithmetic. Grade Level 3rd
- Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems. Grade Level 4th
- Mathematical Practice
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Grade Level 3rd, 4th
- Model with mathematics. Grade Level 3rd, 4th
- Look for and make use of structure. Grade Level 3rd, 4th
Pig Tales – (K-4) – This game is great for kids creative writing prompts! Choose a few pictures and have the students write a story using those pictures. You can also make a class story. Each child gets a picture and has to add a sentence to the story. (This is also a great game for a girly sleepover, I have never heard so many giggles in my life!)
Pig Tales meets the following core curriculum standards:
- Key Ideas & Details Grade Level 1st
- Integration of Knowledge and Ideas Grade Levels 1st, 2nd
- Foundational Skills
- Phonological Awareness Grade Level 1st
- Speaking and Listening
- Comprehension & Collaboration Grade Levels 1st, 2nd
- Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas Grade Levels 1st, 2nd
- Conventions of Standard English Grade Levels 1st, 2nd
- Knowledge of Language Grade Level 2nd
- Vocabulary Acquisition and Use Grade Levels 1st, 2nd
Word bits (2nd grade+) – This game is great for vocabulary development and use. You can use it during times of transition. Roll the dice and have the students think of and write down the words that match the category. You can randomly give a reward for anyone who came up with an answer. In Word Bits, words begin as one to four letter bits rolled on the letter dice. Pick a category card and make a word using those word bits that fit the category. Everyone plays at once, so be the first to call out your word to win the card. This game promotes quick thinking while building spelling and vocabulary skills.
Word bits meets the following core curriculum standards:
- Acquisition and Use. Grade Levels 3rd, 4th
Kilter (2nd-5th) – This is a game of balance! You can have the game sitting out for students to try during the day/or add to in times of transition. How many blocks can they add throughout the day before something falls? What time during the day does the first block fall? Can you get through the entire day? This game is an introduction to levers and predicting outcomes. Each player tries to safely distribute weighted cubes onto the precariously balanced seesaw. If it tilts, your turn is over – and you have to take any pieces that fall! This game also teaches patience – reinforcing when to resist that impulse to press your luck too far!
Kilte meets the following core curriculum standards
- Mathematical Practice
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Grade Levels 3rd, 4th, 5th
- Look for and make use of structure. Grade Levels 3rd, 4th, 5th
- Inquiry – Making Observations –Students learn that scientific investigations involve trying to answer questions by making observations or trying things out, rather than just asking an adult. Children are naturally curious about nearly everything—butterflies and clouds, and why the Moon seems to follow them at night. The essence of this standard is to channel students’ natural curiosity about the world, so that they become better questioners, observers, and thinkers, laying the groundwork for increasing understanding and abilities in science inquiry in the years to come. Grade Levels K, 1st
- Application – Solving Problems
- In earlier grades, students learned to use simple tools and materials to solve problems in creative ways. In grades 2-3 students develop the ability to design a solution to a simple problem, using an elementary version of the technological design process. They also increase their abilities to use tools and materials to design and build something that solves a problem. Students can apply these abilities in their daily lives. Grade Levels 2nd, 3rd
- Physical Science – Force and Motion
- Push-Pull and Position
- Students learn how to describe the position and motion of objects and the effects of forces on objects. Students start by describing the position of one object with respect to another object (e.g., in front, behind, above, and below) and then describe motion as a change in position. Forces are introduced as pushes and pulls that can change the motion of objects, and students learn through observation that various forces act through contact while others act from a distance (without touching the object). These basic concepts about forces and motion provide a foundation for learning to quantify motion in later years. Grade Levels K and 1st
- Force Makes Things Move
- In prior grades students learned to use appropriate words to describe the position and motion of objects and the effects of forces on objects. In grades 2-3 students learn that forces work not only to push and pull objects, but also affect objects when they are dropped or thrown. Whenever the motion of an object changes, there is a force involved. Greater forces on a given object result in greater changes of motion. In addition to being able to describe how forces change the motion of objects, students are expected to measure the position of objects using measuring instruments such as rulers. Students can also measure time to the nearest minute. Emphasis should be on comparisons of forces and motions rather than on calculation so that students develop conceptual understanding of how forces make things move. Grade Levels 2nd and 3rd
Take your Pick: Qrazy QuandriesAny age) When getting students to line up at the end of the day, or waiting in line at the bathroom, ask them a Qrazy Quandry and have them whisper you the answer before they leave/while you wait. Take Your Pick between two tough choices! Would you prefer to wake up with floppy dog ears or a fuzzy bunny tail?
LetsChat– (Any age) You can use these questions to help spark conversation or as another game to keep students quietly thinking while waiting. You could play a game of “telephone” with the students using these questions and hear the giggles! Similarly, these questions are great to be used as writing prompts.
Those are a few ways to integrate educational board games into your classroom. Be on the look out for ways to integrate board games into small group time/centers! If you want to know how you can get free board games for your classroom, please message me ([email protected]) and I will help you!
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Madreen Karle is a master first grade reading teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience. She taught reading in a special needs and English as a Second Language classroom. After retiring she wrote a reading program to help others learn how to teach reading. She is a trusted educator and author of 5 books to help teach children to read and write. In addition to her books, she is a mentor for 3 websites that give reading teacher tips (Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading, Mrs. Karle’s Reading Patch, and Mrs. Karle’s Handwriting Patch). Through her teaching she learned that confidence was the key to learning to read. A child who is not confident at reading does not like to read and struggles to read. Mrs. Karle created “sunshine moments” to help teach children how to grow their confidence and learn to read.
Meeghan Karle Mousaw (Madreen’s daughter) has her Master’s in Special Education. She has 8 years experience teaching children to read online. In addition, she developed a curriculum to teach children handwriting called The Handwriting Patch. With the Handwriting Patch learning is fun because children learn to draw and learn handwriting at the same time. In 2019 The Handwriting Patch curriculum became an amazon best seller the first year it was released, helping thousands of kids learn handwriting with a unique, fun method. She is mom to 6 kids, each with differently learning abilities and struggles.
The Reading Patch was established by the creators of Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading. Together they have been featured on the NBC media outlets and Parents Magazine online. Over the last 8 years in their online platform, Madreen and Meeghan have worked tirelessly with teachers, homeschoolers and parents looking to help children learn to read to become a trusted authority in teaching children to read and advocating early literacy skills. They often partner with other educational experts to deliver the most current information to the Reading Patch community.