10 Benefits of Classroom Games for Kids (And Teachers Too)

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, incorporating classroom games has become a cornerstone for educators seeking to enhance the learning experience. The fusion of fun and education has yielded a myriad of benefits, not only for students but for teachers as well. Let's delve into the diverse advantages that classroom games offer, exploring how they foster motivation, student attentiveness, problem-solving skills, language development, self-esteem, and much more.

What Are the Benefits of Games in the Classroom?

Classroom games have transcended being mere diversions; they've become integral tools for educators. The amalgamation of play and learning is a powerful duo that transforms seemingly mundane concepts into engaging adventures. As we navigate through the various benefits, it's evident that games in the classroom are a catalyst for positive change.

1. More Motivation

Research consistently highlights that playing games in the classroom significantly boosts overall motivation among students. The allure of a playful learning environment makes students more eager to participate, pay attention, and actively engage in classroom activities. Notably, a 2011 study conducted in the United Kingdom emphasized that the motivational impact is most potent when the learning itself becomes a playful part of the activity, rather than a mere side note.

2. Student Attentiveness

Contrary to the misconception that games might distract students, they, in fact, sharpen attentiveness. Games often require quick thinking and sustained focus, which, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, enhances students' ability to shape their attentiveness and trains their brains on effective learning. Moreover, employing diverse instructional approaches, including game-based learning, enables students to encounter content in varied ways, making it easier for them to maintain focus even after the game concludes.

3. Problem-Solving

One of the standout benefits of incorporating games into the classroom is the cultivation of problem-solving skills. Studies, such as the one conducted by Taiwanese researchers on digital game-based learning, reveal that students who engage in simulation games showcasing problem-solving components exhibit stronger skills in this area compared to peers taught through traditional methods. The positive impact on problem-solving is further emphasized in a study from the University of Manchester, solidifying the notion that gameplay in education fosters advanced mathematical thinking.

4. Language Development

Language development is a natural byproduct of exposing students to games in the classroom. Even games not explicitly focused on language can significantly enhance students' linguistic skills, as evidenced by a study from the University of Connecticut. The immersive nature of gameplay creates an environment where language is encountered and absorbed, contributing to a powerful vocabulary-building experience for students in K-12.

5. Self-Esteem Boosting

Contrary to stereotypes surrounding digital gaming, harnessing the love for video games in the classroom can be a powerful tool for boosting students' self-esteem. A study in Australia found that incorporating video games into lessons, especially games like Minecraft seamlessly integrated into the curriculum, positively impacted students' sense of pride and emotional connectedness to their peers. It's essential to note that these effects were more pronounced in boys than in girls.

6. Increased Class Cooperation

Games have a unique ability to encourage teamwork and cooperation among students. Research conducted at Nottingham Trent University underscores how games in the classroom facilitate learning about teamwork, turn-taking, respect, and fair play. This cooperative aspect is crucial, especially considering that studies show children as young as 3 enjoy working in teams, but effective collaboration isn't always a given.

7. Memory Workout

While we often associate brain games with older individuals, the benefits extend to children as well. Several studies reveal that video games, in particular, contribute to the development of children's memories, and these benefits can last well into adulthood. The interactive and engaging nature of games serves as a mental workout, enhancing memory retention and recall.

8. Reaching Them on Their Level

Today's students are digital natives, accustomed to a gamified experience in almost every aspect of their lives. Classroom games bridge the gap between traditional teaching methods and the digital world in which students live. Research indicates that games in the classroom help educators relate to digital natives in a language they understand, creating a more effective and relatable learning experience.

9. Kids Want to Learn

Simplistic as it may sound, the research consistently supports the idea that presenting lessons as games makes students more receptive to learning concepts. Studies dating as far back as 1992 affirm that restructuring a lesson into a game format sparks heightened interest and receptivity among students.

10. Learning From Mistakes

Games in the classroom aren't just about learning concepts; they're about learning from mistakes. As highlighted by Stanford researchers, students learn the valuable skill of abandoning a game gracefully, even in the face of failure. This dual benefit of problem-solving development and emotional resilience adds a significant layer to the social and emotional aspects of learning.

Classroom Games for Students

Having explored the overarching benefits of incorporating games into the classroom, let's delve into some specific game ideas across various subjects.

Math Games

         What’s Remaining? – Long Division Board Game

         How Much Does It Measure? Match-Up Activity (Length, Mass, and Capacity)

         Place Value Bingo Game

Writing Games

         Parts of Speech Bowling

         Prepositions Dominoes

         Building Sundaes — Nouns

Reading Games

         Out of the Book Reading Game for 4th grade

         Sweet Sight Words Board Game

         Syllables Treasure Hunt Google Interactive

Social-Emotional Learning Games

         Let’s Be Grateful Dice Game (Free download)

         Resilience Board Game

         Growth Mindset Game

Health & Fitness Games

         Incorporate a little daily exercise in the classroom to help your students get their wiggles out with these fun active games!

This diverse selection of games caters to different subjects, ensuring that educators have a versatile toolkit for making learning both enjoyable and effective.

In conclusion, the integration of classroom games transcends the notion of mere entertainment. It's a strategic and research-backed approach to enhancing the learning experience for both students and teachers. As we navigate the digital age, understanding the benefits of games in the classroom becomes paramount for educators dedicated to fostering a dynamic and engaging learning environment.