Critical Thinking Math Games

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Every family plays games (and if you don’t, hopefully we can convince you to start! Maybe you prefer board games to cards, or games of chance to physical sports.

It doesn’t matter what you play; in every instance, the case can be made that you are building highly valuable math skills.

Talking to your kids about why they’re doing what they’re doing is valuable for many reasons.

This kind of discussion helps kids to uncover the many different purposes for the many different kinds of decisions that get made in a game, where they begin to understand that there are often far more possibilities than they might have otherwise found on their own.On this list are puzzle games that help students solve problems and think ahead, story-based games that help students understand and unpack local and global issues, and strategy games that get students to manage time and resources.Bottom line: Instantly engaging and super accessible to learners of many ages and abilities, Crayon Physics Deluxe fuses conceptual science learning with a brand of playful problem solving that demands creativity.But if I do this, then you’ll do this other thing, and then this will be the result….” Use this technique to help your child consider what might happen beyond the move they are making now, to plan ahead, and create new strategies for successful game playing.Because planning for outcomes is a huge part of thinking critically and solving problems!Sometimes, when you make a move in a game, it’s totally expected - it’s what every other player would have done in the same situation.Other times, you make a decision to do something different, maybe unexpected, because you think it will pay off in the end.As adults, when we think through a complex issue that requires us to take action, we not only consider the possible outcomes in the short term, but also the long term. So, if everyone agrees to a little rule-bending, then why not?Kids are often short-term thinkers, but we need to teach them that the long view can be quite valuable, and “playing the long game”, with patience and thoughtfulness, is a skill that needs to be carefully nurtured. In a previous blog, we talked about how games teach us how to follow the rules, for the sake of fairness, and having a game that is actually playable. (In our experience, every family has their own “house rules” for Monopoly, and lots of other games too!And since you’re spending time playing math games, it would make sense to try to wring out as much thinking and learning from them as you can.Here are some ways that you can foster learning and build stronger thinking skills, as you play!

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