Fun and Games! Growing Dendrites {Strategy 4}

Welcome to another edition of the book study friends! I enjoy this book because it is a great reminder of what I am already doing well and it is also forcing me to take a look at ways I can improve my teaching to include more best practice strategies!

We all know that research supports the use of educational games to enhance learning. The FUN FACTOR that games provide can't be beat! Maybe you have been thinking about making your learning activities more game-based, but are wondering where to start or how to fit them into your already busy day. If so, this linky for the book study may give you lots of new ideas to put into action!

Thank you to the amazing Katie King at Queen of the First Grade Jungle who is hosting this chapter from Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites by Marcia Tate. Read on to see the games my class just LOVES and to get some more suggestions from the book!

Why is using games in the classroom a best practice strategy? 

This quote from the book pretty much sums it up:

Games are not only perfect for raising the level of feel good-amines in the brain, but also, in the correct amounts, games can increase cognition and working memory. (Jensen, 2007)

Fun and Games in Our Room

This game of Blink is a favorite in our classroom. It is great for identifying attributes like shape, amount and color. Since it is a race-to-be-the-first-out game, it is also helping some of my students with visual discrimination and processing speed.

 My class really enjoys dice games in math.
I picked up these nifty little dice-in-dice at Lakeshore. 

A game that was recommended in the book is similar to what we play with I Have, Who Has! 
My kiddos think this place value set is so much fun! 
They have to be good listeners and thinkers during this type of activity!

Our district purchased Bridges in Mathematics this year. What I like about it is the that it includes many games. The program works instruction for the game and game playing time right into the lessons. 

My class likes to play card games for math practice too.
 It was a pain to take out the cards we didn't need, so I made a set just for our math activities. 
This set includes a zero which is important in math.

In case you missed it, you can find the card set here.
 It is a FREEBIE over at Primary Powers! 

You may be thinking that adding more games to your classroom will mean lots of extra work or spending some cash, but there are many games that can be played with things you already have like a deck of cards, index cards, or a Nerf ball. 

Here are some other easy suggestions from the book:

  • Toss a ball. The student that catches it must answer a review question.  They receive 1 point for catching the ball and two points for a correct response.
  • Create a vocabulary and definition game of memory on index cards. 
  • Play Charades and act out vocabulary words.
  • Play Pictionary and draw vocabulary concepts instead.
How can you work in time for games?

With so much to teach, it is easy to run out of time to work in a game. This used to happen to me all of the time! But now, I schedule a block of time on Fun Fridays for our game rotations. It is one way I can be sure that game time is a top priority!

So all in all, I think I am on the right track with incorporating games into math, but I'd like to start doing the same in other subjects too.

What are you doing well with for this strategy?
 What might you like to improve?

Don't forget about the importance of games just for fun during inside recess time. They are great for learning how to be a good sport and how to work cooperatively. 

The top pick in my room is Mouse Trap!
 But... my students don't actually play the game, they just build the contraption and watch the steely marble go, just like I did when I was seven!!!

Now head on over to see what everyone else is sharing! 
Just click {here} to read or link up!


  1. I'm a big fan of using games in the classroom! Those "dice in dice" are suuuuper cool! I've never seen those before! Thanks for your great ideas!

    The Classroom Game Nook Blog

  2. The students love these colorful dice. The one inside is very tiny so they think it is "cute"! Thanks for stopping by Rachael! You always have so many great game ideas on your blog! Thanks for sharing those too!


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