Hey teacher! If you are anything like me you want to keep your classroom engaging and exciting when it comes to centers, transition times, independent work and every other time in between. Also if you are like me you struggle to find games that your students really enjoy. All too many times I have ordered games only to find that the pieces are too small, they all get lost, the game is too complicated or the students can’t play it by themselves. When I attended the SDE Conference in Las Vegas I hit the jackpot with games. I was wondering around the exhibit hall when I saw Smart Games USA. There were a lot of teachers gathered around and they were all laughing and having fun. I had to go check out what they were doing! Not long after I had arrived I found that I was also laughing and enjoying myself. I knew that these games were going to be a hit in my classroom so I grabbed 3 of them. I want to share with you one of them that my students have been using often. They LOVE them also!
Games for the classroom : Color Code
Color code is an amazing game for students. They really need to think when they are playing this game. What I love about this game is although it says it is for 1 player often times I will have 2 students working together to solve the puzzles. There are 100 puzzle challenges in this game and when they are in the beginner stages my students can do them on their own. When it gets tough they will often ask classmates for help. I love that t his game fosters relationships within my classroom. An awesome bonus!
What does the game consist of?
Another awesome aspect of these games is that they are so easy to start playing. There are no small pieces to get lost, next to nothing to assemble and they area ready to play straight ouf of the box. I am all about saving time and these games help me do that. Within the Color Code box you will find:
- Instructions with 4 levels of play
- Puzzle Pieces that are big enough for little hands
- A puzzle board that is colorful
The instruction booklet is made of sturdy paper so I don’t worry about the students ripping it. We dicsuss how to play games of course, but it is always helpful to have items that will last! I also love that it is spiral bound, making it easy for my students to turn the pages and find the puzzle they are looking for.
In the box there are also very sturdy puzzle pieces. They are big enough for little hands to manipulate. Often times games aren’t meant for the classroom and they break easily. These games are meant to last. The orange block that you place the pieces on is colorful and eye catching which is another plus with this game.
What are the benefits of this game?
In case you did not know I teach Transitional Kindergarten. My students come to me at 4 1/2 years old and they all turn 5 by December 31st. So these games can be played by younger students. There are also a lot of benefits that this game has to offer for your classroom. On the side of the games you can see all the various skills that your students are using. I love that it is clear and easy to read. It makes it so easy to explain to parents or administration that your students really can learn through play!
Do the students really like the game?
Well, I know that my students like the game! They ask to play it often. One of my students always asks to play and he has really worked up his skill level! I find that sometimes there are students who lack self confidence. They are unsure of their abilities, they see students “smarter” than they are, the lack motivation…and so they stop trying. Introducing games to all your students allows them to be on a level playing field. What kid doesn’t like to play games? With the tiered system of puzzle selection kids can find a puzzle they can master. The grows their self confidence which allows them to excel in other areas of their education.
What is so great about this game is that students can pick their puzzle, or you can pick a puzzle for them. Often times the teacher/student relationship takes awhile to catch on since teachers have large class sizes and are trying to meet the needs of all the students. It is so easy to sit down a couple minutes with a student and encourage them on a puzzle the may struggle with. Here are a few puzzles that your students will see in the game:
Although the puzzle might be a more challenging one, the focus will stay and the students will be engaged. I found that when my students play the games, they also always have a smile on their face!
Games in the classroom: yes or no?
I am a firm believer that we as educators need to meet the needs of our students. Some students can learn with a paper and pencil but there are students who need hands on activities to learn. EVERY STUDENT deserves to have fun at school. Every child deserves to feel smart and excited when they enter the classroom. Smart Games USA has made it so that students can learn in a way that is hands on, playful, engaging and exciting. All the games have been a hit within my classroom and I think that you should get some as well!