Sometimes all it takes is a game to help kids learn easier.
All work and no play isn’t always the best way to help your child learn. Wouldn’t it be nice to just play for a while, especially when science says it’s one of the best ways to retain information?
Having fun with others is just one of the ways your child and even you learn and remember things. Give it a try with a fun, educational board game and you’ll be surprised at just how much your child remembers afterwards. You’re creating memories and your kids don’t even realize how much their minds are growing.
Laughter Enhances Memory
Playing games tends to make people laugh and relax. Studies have even shown that humor activates the brain’s release of dopamine, which has been linked to long term memory retention. Your kids may be just enjoying a fun game, but while they’re laughing, they’re learning math, science, language, social skills and more.
Dopamine Helps Boost Long Term Memory
Many studies have been done on the effects of dopamine on memory. It’s considered a reward chemical since it makes you feel good. It’s released when you’re happy or proud of yourself. Dopamine helps modulate the hippocampus, which is a vital part of long term memory. By creating happy memories with play, you’re helping boost your child’s long term memory retention as well.
Memories Are Linked To Strong Emotions
According to this article in Brain World, some studies have estimated as much as 95% of reactions are motivated more by emotion, including memory. Stronger emotions equal stronger memories. It’s why we often remember our strongest positive and negative moments best. The same applies to children. A teacher asking them to memorize facts isn’t going to trigger an emotional response. A fun game played with their friends or family creates a stronger, positive memory, leading to a higher rate of retention. Add some play to learning and you’ll create lasting memories full of educational value.
Play More And Learn More
Take the time to break out some educational board games with your children. It’s not only fun for everyone involved, but it also boosts memory. Learning doesn’t have to be dull. Let children play more and they learn even more.
Image: Ashton Bingham
Helping your kids develop a love of learning is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. What better way to do that than with an activity that kids naturally love, like play?
We are all blessed from birth with the ability to learn from play. Think about the creativity of your toddler who discovers the pure awesomeness of finger painting with jam and peanut butter (rather than eating it.) Or their curiosity in seeing what happens when trying to flush (name the object) down the toilet? We can see the love of learning happening every day with these little ones, so how do we keep that going as our children approach school age?
We begin first by setting the example. Kids emulate the things they love, especially the behavior of their parents. Remember the first time your little one used a word reserved only for mommy and daddy? They follow where we lead.
Your first step is review the activities YOU do every day that demonstrates your continued love of learning:
Do you share your admiration for others that are still learning?Second, we create the environment for learning for our kiddos. Many things we do each day can be turned into play and learning moment with just a little bit of thought on our part:
With just a bit of thought, even the most boring activities we do can be turned into a play moment that provides the opportunity to learn.
About the Author
Patty Pearcy is President and CEO of SimplyFun LLC, a direct sales company whose mission is to build smarter kids and stronger families through the amazing power of play. Prior to SimplyFun, Patty spent 25 years in senior operations management and financial leadership roles for several multinational companies.
The Summer Slide. There are many ways to tackle it to ensure your kids are prepped for the upcoming school year. SimplyFun Playologist Julie Harrison shares her tried and true method for getting her kids ready for the classroom.
Q. How old are your children and what grades will they be entering this school year?
A. My girls are ages seven (almost eight), going into 3rd grade, and age six, going into 1st grade.
Q. What types of play do you and your children engage in over the summer?
A. Our days typically start with art or imaginative play. We have been playing outside at the park or the pool and we play games in the late afternoon/evening to connect as a family.
Q. Is there a specific time in the summer that you begin focusing more on school readiness? If so, when?
A. I think it’s important to focus on school readiness throughout the whole summer in order to prevent the summer slide. I want my kids to go back to school without having to relearn what they learned last year and focus on building their education.
Q. What does your school readiness regimen include?
A. Reading every day is extremely important. We also use math workbooks and television programs that focus on geography on a regular basis. The summer is a great time to check out local museums to learn more about art, history and science, too!
Q. What SimplyFun games have you used in your school readiness program for your children?
A. I love SimplyFun games to enhance learning opportunities. Letter Slide, Clover Leap and Spell Trek are our favorites for language. Math Room, Whirly’s World and Hook ‘Em are the favorites for math. We’ve played Let’s Drive and Let’s Jet to learn more about geography, and Mirror Mansion to learn about the science of reflection. We also have fun with Bee Alert and Tar Trackers to sharpen memory skills.
Q. What are the results you have experienced by using SimplyFun games and play in general to help your children prepare for back to school?
A. My kids have really developed their social skills, especially winning and losing, by playing SimplyFun games. The games also reinforce the education that they’ve had and build on it in a fun way! Most importantly, though, is that we are connecting as a family on a daily basis.
Q. What is some advice you would give to other parents who are committed to preventing the summer slide and prepping for back to school?
A. My advice would be to enjoy the summer months and use SimplyFun games to “sneak” in some learning opportunities while developing better relationships with your kids.
Q. Are there any specific SimplyFun games that you recommend?
A. SimplyFun has fantastic games geared for different ages and levels of education. There are so many to choose from, whether it be math (Digger’s Garden Match, Math Room or Math’d Potatoes), language (Pass the Rooby Roo, Spell Trek or Get 4 & Score), science (Dinosaur Challenge, Kilter or Mirror Mansion) or geography (Global Ranking, Let’s Drive or Let’s Jet). Some great strategy games would include Bypass, Chess on the Loose and Trifusion. Summer is full of get-togethers and we like to play Eye to Eye, Qualities and Perspectives with the other adults.
Q. Any other information you would like to share?
A. In today’s society, I think it’s extremely important to connect with your kids on a daily basis and make sure that they don’t grow up staring at screens. I think that screens can take away from traditional play and forming relationships with others.
One Thanksgiving holiday while visiting family, I watched my dad and brother-in-law play Kilter with my kids and their cousins. It was such a delight watching them laugh and form better bonds while playing the game! The connections that are formed through game play are amazing, and important.
Do you have a method for preventing the summer slide? Share it in the comments below.
SimplyFun Playologist Julie Harrison lives in Redondo Beach, CA with her husband, Andrew and two daughters, Courtney and Amanda. When she’s not helping other families connect with SimplyFun games, she and her family enjoy playing, dancing and swimming.
It’s that time again! Summer is winding down, and you and your children are getting ready for the new school year. Your children’s summer may have included play dates, camp, and maybe a family vacation. Regardless of the type of summer activities your children experienced, transitioning back to school requires a dramatic shift in interests, focus, routines, and schedules.
It’s also beneficial to help your child review previous academic skills and foster interest in learning new skills while maintaining the fun of summer. One simple way is to play a wide variety of games a few weeks before school starts. Board and card games provide a fun way to re-introduce structured interaction, higher level thinking, and academic skills.
There are many reasons that games are useful in this way.
Playing both old and new games lets parents observe their child to see what skills have been retained and which ones may have suffered during the “summer slide.” Parents don’t have to become a teacher to help their child refresh skills. They can help their kids relearn skills by playing games that are related to the weak areas. Game play is an enjoyable way to reintroduce or reinforce learning. Make time for a game a day!
Playing games does not mean eliminating other types of play for the rest of the summer. Children still need time for open, fluid play with their siblings and friends. This type of play holds great value for developing independence, leadership, creative thinking, and functional problem solving. Encourage all types of play and add in structured skill-based games to help the transition to school.
About the Author
Dr. Toni Linder is a leader in the field of early childhood development and early childhood special education. She works with children of diverse backgrounds and ability levels, including children that are gifted and talented, who have disabilities or come from backgrounds of poverty, and those from multicultural backgrounds.
Exploring the world in fun ways is a mission in our home. Like all explorers, we require tools. And no, I’m not talking about maps, a compass or a computer. Our tools are games. When we play, we explore, we learn, and we have fun doing it! Here are some of the games in our exploration “tool box.”
How do you explore the world through play with board games at your house? Share your answer in the comments below, then check out even more games to add to your toolbox at simplyfun.com.
Michelle Sorrells has been a SimplyFun Playologist since March 2016. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her husband and two children, Zachary and Loralei. Their favorite pastime adventures are going to the movie theater and taking annual trips to Disney World. The Sorrells are also avid fans of “pajama days” where they stay home and play games, watch TV and rest, all while never getting changed out of our PJs.