Fun games for your young students
Children playing in a classroom

Even if many publishing houses offer attractive and well-designed programs, they are not enough to keep children motivated. With a heavy educational program, evaluations and report cards, it's hard to find the time for inspiring projects! Luckily, there are many educational games on the market that can  work perfectly with your planning – whether you’re in class or teaching remotely.

Here are some suggestions to make your class more entertaining - after all, your students are children, and as teachers, you all have an inner child! (Please note that these games are offered in French only.)

For the preschool children

For phonological awareness, the Au royaume des sons platform is a gold mine. While the school needs to purchase an annual license to have access, the license comes with an account for the teacher and one for each student. In class, you can play the game as a whole group on the smartboard or in teams on tablets. In this game, a witch stole all the letters and sounds from a kingdom and the children must face challenges to help the kingdom's inhabitants find their reading skills. After each successful level (each associated to a specific notion, such as syllable counting, initial sound, and so on), the children can personalize an area of the castle.

The board games created by Placote are all based on the development of language, relationship and cognitive skills. The game "La planète des émotions" specifically is a favourite for understanding empathy and helping children to understand other people's emotions. All the games from this company are true educational gems. Placote now offers games for all ages, including 12 and up.

For the first cycle (grades 1 and 2)

The publishing house L'envolée offers a large selection of board games for children who are learning how to read. The game "La course aux sons 2" helps them practise the most difficult sounds, such as "b" and "d", "é" and "è", etc. This game, just like many others from this publishing house, is also offered in a digital version for smartboards. Another great game from the same publishing house is "Fusiononssons", which teaches sound fusion and sound identification. The goal of the game is to help a sweet penguin find the right sounds in several boards.

Keep reading for more ideas for young children - some games from the next category can easily be adapted to their level.

For older children (grades 3 to 6)

The AlloProf platform offers a array of free educational games for all grades, but are most suited for older children. Some can even be adapted for the high school level. These virtual games can be great activities during  computer class or a workshop, or as additional learning if you have access to a computer or a tablet in class. They can also be used at home. The player can create an account to keep track of his progress and go back to the game at a later time.

For math, specifically arithmetic, "Fin lapin 3" and "MétéorMath 2" are two musts for multiplication tables and mathematical operations. Both these games allow you to configure what the student will work on. You can also gradually increase the difficulty level while respecting the learning curve and having fun! The game "La Foire" is great for reviewing geometry notions starting in grade 4 (triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, angles, polygons and polyhedrons). Students can navigate between the different kiosks at the pirate fair and accumulate coupons for each win. 

Back on the AlloProf site, "Le Grimoire" helps students practice reading comprehension in an interactive form. Finally, Conjugo and Magimots are great games to practise the week's lessons, as the teacher can choose what the game will teach the students. Conjugo is for verb conjugation, whereas Magimots is for vocabulary. They are both easy to use and children can play with them on their own.

On another topic - but still in French - the "Bescherelle" board game is generally well loved by students. A word of caution: they will not be excited when they first see it! After all, the Bescherelle is rarely their favourite tool; however, once you take the time to show them how to play, they will be sold! The teacher can even use the question cards from the game to create an online quiz for virtual classes. It's a great investment!

In conclusion, there are several accessible and easy ways to make teaching more playful without impacting education. Whether you’re teaching in class or remotely, there are lots of options for teachers to get in the game!

Ariane Lefebvre holds a degree in early childhood and primary education from UQÀM and is passionate about her career as a kindergarten teacher. Children’s literature and fostering a welcoming environment both hold a very important place in her heart. She is also currently completing her advanced graduate diploma in Educational Institution Management.

Ariane Lefebvre is a paid Sonnet spokesperson.

* Sonnet is not associated with any of the tools or platforms described in this blog post.
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