The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.
Many teachers are familiar with Maria Montessori and the Montessori Method. As an early pioneer in education research, she observed children from around the world and developed theories and understandings on how children learn. Through these observations, she found universal patterns of development in children across different cultures. Based on these observations and her work with children in the early 1900’s, she taught others how to teach children through hands-on learning and creative play.
Virtually every classroom incorporates game-play in a variety of ways. How many of you remember playing Heads Up, 7 Up? What about Around the World? I’m sure you can think of many others.
The purposeful selection of games serves an essential purpose in classrooms. Games promote the idea that learning is fun, enable teachers to reinforce concepts, and is a way to involve all students in the learning process with wisely chosen activities.
A quick search of the TeachersFirst website provides an extensive list of free learning games. For this blog, I’m focusing on one of my favorite game-playing and creation tools, Baamboozle (TeachersFirst review). Baamboozle has a built-in library of thousands of games ready to play in all subjects. Also, this easy game creation tool allows you to make and customize games in no time.
To play any game in Baamboozle, choose the number of teams, options range from 2-4 teams. When a team provides the correct answer, the points go to their team automatically. Include other features such as “Power-Ups.” Power-Ups pop-up as a separate box when a question is selected. They add an additional layer of fun to the game. Power-ups allow teams to earn extra points, lose points, or other game-changers. Baamboozle automatically keeps score. Display on an interactive whiteboard (or with a projector) for all players to participate and view the game’s progress.
Another great feature offered by this tool is the ability to view any game in Study Mode. Use Study Mode to view each question as a flashcard. Share the link to any activity with your students to use to review concepts.
If Baamboozle’s ready-made games don’t suit your needs, make your own. It is as simple as creating an account and going to the My Games section. Give your game a title and description and begin adding questions and answers. Vary the difficulty of questions and assign points according to the challenge. After you publish the game, provide the link to your students.
Looking back to Maria Montessori’s theories of child learning, one of the best ways to use Baamboozle is to let students create games. Allow elementary-aged and older students to use the tools in Baamboozle to create learning games for their peers, providing an opportunity to share and reinforce learning.
We are fortunate to have many different options for creating and finding games to teach any concept. Baamboozle offers an easy way to play games with teams and to use as a study tool. Have you tried Baamboozle? What do you think? If you have another favorite game-creation tool, we would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments.