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Games for Fun and Learning


Games for Fun and Learning


Photo by Terri Mauro

Studying and mastering difficult concepts can be hard work for kids with learning disabilities, but you can also reinforce those skills when you're having fun. Playing games gives you some nice together-time with your kids, and they may not even notice they're learning something in the process. Here are some ideas to try:

Math War. The card game "War" gets a mathematical twist: Instead of putting down one card each and having the cards go to whoever puts down the highest one, have each player put down two cards, and let the one with the highest sum win. Adapt this to whatever math skill your child is working on -- it can just as easily be the highest difference, product or quotient. Alternatively, each player can put down one card and the hand can go to whoever adds them up the fastest.

Favorite board games. Those familiar boxed games you have in your closet or family room can be great for reinforcing difficult concepts:
• Battleship -- finding coordinates on graphs or maps
• Candyland -- identifying colors
• UNO -- matching colors and numbers
• Scrabble -- spelling and vocabulary
• Monopoly -- money (make your child the banker)
• Yahtzee -- addition and counting
• Clue -- story problems

Specialty games. Look for educational games that focus on the specific skills your child is struggling with, including:
A Fist Full of Coins -- memory and expressive language skills
Alert Go Fish and Bingo -- sensory self-regulation
"WH" Bingo -- who, what, when, where and why concepts
• Moneywise Kids -- saving money and making change Compare Prices
• Name That State -- state capitals and facts Compare Prices
• Smath -- math version of Scrabble Compare Prices

Dice games. Roll the dice and give points according to -- depending on your child's mathematical needs -- the highest number, total, difference, product or quotient. Roll more dice to increase difficulty. Have your child add up the scores as you go along.

Flash card races. If you have more than one child working on similar skills, show flash cards and award points to whoever gets the answer first. With just one child, set the timer for a certain period of time and see how many he or she can get correct in that amount of time. Keep a record of the largest amount and try each day to beat it. Alternatively, keep the number of cards the same and try to decrease the amount of time it takes to answer them.

When you play with your child, what do you do? Take our poll and join the discussion.

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