Monthly Archives: April 2009

Educational Games: We’re Not Just “Passing Go,” Anymore.

Gone are the days when Monopoly, Go Fish and Candy Land exhausted the list of engaging children’s games. Today, educational games abound, and it’s a good thing they do!

Educational games– especially those specifically targeted at a certain skill– can greatly boost a child’s understanding of academic topics, promote critical thinking, and foster problem-solving skills. From learning science concepts and mastering multiplication to gleaning tidbits about cultures and historical events, children pick up a treasure trove of information from games…all while having a blast.

But with so many games available today (particularly through the Internet), it’s important that parents and teachers understand their role in learning. Here are some tips to keep in mind about educational games:

Important buying considerations for parents and teachers:

  • Does the game fit YOUR child? To help you decide, most games list an age/grade level on the package. That’s the first clue, but you also need to consider your child’s maturity and mental capacity. Ask yourself: Does this game provide enough challenges without being too frustrating?

Tips for toddlers from 0 to 12 months:

  • While children this age are too young for traditional “games,” there are plenty of educational toys that engage the minds of wee ones. Opt for toys that play music, make a noise in response to an action, and introduce letters, shapes, numbers and colors. Toys with mirrors, where babies can “play” with their reflections are developmentally ideal, as well. The more interactive, the better!

Guidelines for children from 1 to 3 years:

  • This is a good time to introduce colors, numbers and letters. Look for educational games and toys that play the alphabet or chime letters, numbers and colors in response to hitting a key or pushing a button. Buy crayons, and reinforce your child’s new skills by writing and drawing together, while you point out the different colors. Practicing letters and numbers in the bathtub with special tub crayons can be a lot of fun, too!  Simple games like Memory can be great fun beginning around age 3, as well.

Tips for children from 3 to 5 years (preschool and kindergarten students):

  • At this age, appropriate electronic games and educational video games can be appropriate, if used with parental supervision. Websites that offer free interactive games and activities can also be enriching. At this age, however, it is crucial for parents and teachers to directly supervise all Internet activities.

Children from 6 to 12 years (grade school students):

For children at this age, reading, writing and math skills are paramount. Buying complex games–such as spelling and quizzing games targeted at these skills– can encourage your child to master these disciplines.

Make it fun!

Finally, make sure the game is enjoyable for your children! If they don’t enjoy playing it, it isn’t going to be an effective learning tool. Involve them in selecting games and play them together at first to familiarize them with the features and goals. Let them know that learning can– and should– be fun!

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Write for Us

daytimerWrite on something you feel passionate about! We are looking for good articles about education to publish on our website and newsletter. Although we will consider any topic, the following themes are of special interest:

  • Test taking skills
  • Useful tips and tricks
  • Product reviews from real world experience
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Hands-on activities
  • Classroom management
  • Classroom decoration
  • Community news and projects
  • Educational parenting tips
  • Touching classroom stories/teacher inspiration

The article should be geared towards parents and/or educators of children anywhere from early childhood through high school. All articles should be approximately 500 words. It is best to avoid using slang or idioms that might not be understood by all readers. Be careful when referring to dates or events in the future, as there could be elapsed time between submission and publishing.

Please send all article submissions to The e-mail should also contain a brief description of your background, as well as your complete contact information. If your article is chosen, we will contact you before going to print. Besides being published and the almost certain personal fame that will most likely result, all writers will receive a School Box Gift Card for any article published.

This is going to be an on-going opportunity—so submit something whenever inspiration strikes (or whenever you need a new bulletin board set and don’t want to shell out the cash for it).

The tremendously fascinating legal-speak: Submission does not obligate The School Box to use or publish any submitted entry. All articles are subject to editorial changes. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Entrant certifies that any submitted writing is an original, unpublished work that will not infringe on the privacy or intellectual property rights of any third party. Entrant grants to The School Box worldwide, nonexclusive, royalty-free license to edit, publish and republish at any time Entrant’s submitted writing, in any and all media for any lawful purpose without further permission, notice or compensation.

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Welcome to our Newsletter!

Are you suffering from info overload? In today’s world of e-mail, Twitter, texts and Google, you can practically drown in the amount of information flooding cyberspace. So, how do you– in the midst of your crazy, busy, too-much-to-do life– sort through it all?

Enter: The School Box’s new online newsletter and blog. Our goal is to present relevant, pithy information on all things related to education. We want to be a source you can trust for innovative learning ideas, fresh classroom tips and parenting inspiration. In essence, we want to throw you a life preserver in the tide of cyberspace!

Even better, we want to give you a voice. You have good ideas, and we want to hear them. And then we want to publish them. And then we want to reward you for sharing. If you submit an article on parenting or education that ends up being published on one of our sites or in our print publications, we’ll give you a School Box giftcard: just a small pat on the back for your great thoughts. All you have to do is click “Write for us!” at the top of this page to learn more. (Please pass this along to anyone you know who may be interested, as well!)

Check back often! We’ll be adding fresh content weekly.

Elizabeth Cossick, M.Ed.
Managing Editor

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