Entertainment can be essential to education. Numerous studies have proved that when people, especially youngsters, are having fun they are more likely to retain information without necessarily even realizing it. Hence, educational games can be excellent teaching tools as long as they are designed to be age-appropriate and engaging. The “Are You Ready for 1st Grade? Game Show,” developed by Lakeshore, is an educational game that meets all the desired standards.
Lakeshore is a company dedicated to producing top-quality educational toys. Their products aim to help children learn through entertainment and engagement and the “Are You Ready for 1st Grade? Game Show” set is certainly an excellent way for children to have fun and learn at the same time.
“Are You Ready for 1st Grade?” is one of six such “game show” sets that are available through the Lakeshore website (www.lakeshorelearning.com) or at Lakeshore Learning Stores nationwide. These games target kids in kindergarten to fifth grade and the content included in each set is entirely based on the curriculum that is appropriate for each specific age group. All the questions were designed by teachers.
“Are You Ready for 1st Grade?” has an interesting design. Each set includes 198 playing cards, a game stand, a discard tray, play money, reward coupons and a score tracker to record the results of every game. The game is modeled after televised game shows and it is designed to make children feel like contestants. Every time a question about math or language is answered correctly the children are awarded pretend cash, a reward coupon, and a prize. Questions are worth $1, $2, $3, or $5 based on the difficulty of the questions. So, $1 questions are easier than $5 questions.
Parents or caregivers are instructed to divide the game cards into three stacks: language cards are blue, math cards are purple, and challenge cards are green. On the game stand, $1 cards are placed on the top row, $2 cards are placed on the middle row, and $3 cards are placed on the bottom row while one $5 “challenge card” is placed on the right side of each row. Caregivers play the part of the game show host while the child is the contestant. Children/contestants are asked to select a card from any row on the game stand. Then the host shows the card to the child and reads it aloud. A pencil and paper should be provided in case the child needs to write something down in order to “think out” the answer.
If the child answers the question correctly they are given the amount of play money shown on the card and then the card is placed in the “Correct” compartment of the display tray. On the score tracker, the host must mark down that the child got the question right. If the child got the question wrong they are not awarded any money and the card is placed in the “Incorrect” compartment of the discard tray and the host must log the answer as wrong on the score tracker. The game is played until all the cards in the game stand have been answered, including the challenge cards. At the end of the game children can trade in the pretend money they won for a reward coupon. Caregivers are able to choose the prize their child will win by writing it down on the “reward coupons” provided in the box set.
Yet what really sets this game apart is that it is interactive and can help pinpoint precisely what areas the child needs improvement in. By entering the game results at www.lakeshorelearning.com/areyouready (using the score tracker as a guide) Lakeshore will provide an instant online assessment that pinpoints any areas where the child may need additional help. Furthermore, FREE printable activities that focus on those exact skills will be provided plus product recommendations to build skills even further. An online feature such as this truly takes the game to the next level.
This game is fun and engaging. While playing all 198 cards can be a bit much in one session, caregivers can opt to play with as few as nine cards (one for each slot) if they don’t want the child to get bored or fidgety. However, for those children who like to play long games using the full deck is an option. The fact that caregivers can choose the reward on the “reward coupon” enables them to provide effective reward incentives that will make their children want to learn. Best of all, this gives caregivers the option to reward children with something material, like a toy, or something emotional, like a hug.
There are very few disadvantages to this game, except that there is a limited number of answer keys and reward coupons provided. Hence, caregivers should make photo-copies of these sheets of paper while they are still blank; that way the game can still be played even after the original papers have been filled. Another potential issue is that children might eventually learn how to memorize the answers instead of really understanding the concepts behind the questions. To combat this, caregivers should use the cards as a guide and think up their own questions to ask the children in order to ensure that the youngsters have really learned how to understand the questions. This method will help to discourage rote learning where children can correctly respond to questions without knowing the principles behind each answer. Additionally, whenever a child gets a question incorrect during the game the host should take a moment to reveal and explain the right answer.
Overall, as long as the person in the role of “host” makes a true effort to take heed from the academic basis of the questions, this game is a wonderful way for children to learn new lessons. It is certainly worth the $29.99 price.
I give “Are You Ready for 1st Grade Game Show” 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.
To get $10 off any Are You Ready? Game Show®, enter code 9141 at checkout or click here for a store coupon! The offer expires on July 31, 2014.