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We can all agree, that classics are amazing tools for higher education.
Yet, if I asked you what a classic is, what would you answer with? Most would respond that some books could be considered classics (though the measuring stick to determine which books are classics and which are not, varies widely from person to person). Others, might mention works of art, and select music. Again what determines which work is a considered a classic and which is not is widely disputed.
My favorite definition of what makes a classic is this. A classic is ANTHYTHING that you can go back to over and over again and learn from each time. This broader definition of what is considered a classic allows for you to include much more in your list of classics. And I am not just talking about books, music, and art.
Let’s start with people. Are there people in your life that you learn from each time you are in their presence? How about Movies? Are there movies that you went to and your whole paradigm changed for the better, that made you think in new and powerful ways, and that caused you to want to be something more than you are?
On this same note, I would also contend that games, yes games, can be classics too. This is especially true with the rising generation. There is power in educating through entertainment. Lessons and information that would otherwise be tedious and quickly forgotten are naturally accepted and remembered when delivered in a fun and entertaining way.
Here are some of my Favorite “Classic” Fun and Educational Games that if you don’t own you totally should:
In The Game of Politics, you start by picking a Character/Profession and a Political Party. Then the race begins. Utilizing Campaign, Campaign Funds, and Debate cards your goal is to obtain the coveted VOTE cards needed to win your place as the next president of the United States.
Through playing this fun fast-paced game, you become familiar with the strategies used by politicians during the campaign trail in order to get elected while using the terms thrown around by the media to describe these campaign tactics. Thanks to the trivia based debate aspect of the game you come to learn more about American History, Geography, Political Science, Foreign Policy and Pop culture. And perhaps the most important lesson is that at the end of the day no matter your profession or political party you are just a person playing the game to the best of your ability.
In Agricola you play a Medieval Farmer and his wife. Your objective is to create a productive farm (with fields for Wheat & Vegetables, as well as Pastures for livestock). However, this is easier said than done. Each turn you can only do as much as you have family members to claim needed resources or actions. You can decide to add to your home to make room to grow your family (which would give you more actions per turn but also necessitate the need for more food to feed your family each harvest) There are only 16 set turns to fill your farm card in front of you with your home, farm, and pastures and see who is the most productive.
With Settlers of Catan, your goal or objective is to expand your holding and roads. However to do so you need resources. You quickly learn the necessity of resource management. For while some of the needed resources turn out to be plentiful others are scarce. This requires you to think outside the box with your strategy for how you what to expand and to negotiate with the other players to trade for what you need.
Both Ticket to Ride and Ricks are great games for Geography. In Ticket to Ride each player collects train cards which enable them to claim train routes between various cities in North America. The longer the train routes, the higher the point. Extra points go to the player’s who are able to fulfill their secret destination ticks and a bonus goes to the player with the Longest continuous train. In playing this game, you become very familiar with the geography of north America’s major cities in a fun way.
Risk is a game of war and world domination, but as you seek to conquer the world you become familiar with the world map. You become very familiar with where countries are in relation to other countries, and which countries hold the most strategic value.
Both of these games are awesome for spelling and vocabulary. Where Scrabble has a board where once played your tokens are set and you try to come up with the highest scoring words (utilizing specific letters and board spaces), Bananagrams (Which I prefer the double set for you then have more letters to create words with) is more fluid requiring you to come up with more words and word variations to use up all your letter tokens to win.
In addition to the obvious lessons that can be learned from each of these games, they each also teach both tactical and strategic planning since you don’t just have to worry about your moves, choices, cards etc… you also have to be constantly aware of (and make adjustments thanks to) the moves, counter moves, choices and cards that your opponents are playing. All of which are helpful skills that can be applied in many aspects of life like in business for example.
Here are some more games that are great for their strategic, tactical, and critical thinking base which as I have stated above are important life skills to possess.
When you make learning fun the lessons you are trying to teach are more likely to stay with your child. So if you aren’t utilizing games in your home to teach your children I recommend you start soon!
What are your favorite games? I am always on the lookout for more!
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