Games to Jump-Start the School Year

As our children go back to school, parents are usually inundated with suggestions on study skills and strategies to aid our children in becoming better students. I am going to challenge the status quo with my suggestions of how to increase learning skills from our first meeting.

Let me begin with a quick introduction. My name is Julie Adams Flaherty. I am a cognitive skills learning expert with 5 children. All of my children have what learning experts call issues. We have dealt with ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, hearing loss, blindness, high intelligence, and emotional issues. I have spent the last 20 plus years crisscrossing the country, working with over a thousand children with learning issues of every sort, helping them learn how to build learning skills to become successful learners. As we get to know each other, I am going to show you how you can use the same techniques in your own home to build the learning skills in your children to create life-long learners. Let the games begin!

To begin our list of games, I want to introduce you to a game called Blink. It has been called the world’s fastest game for good reason. Blink is a card game played with 2-4 players per deck of cards. If you have more players, add another deck. All cards are dealt out to the players with two cards placed in the middle to form discard piles.

Players can only hold three cards at a time. On the count of three (one, two, three!), the two cards that make up the discard pile are turned over. Players simultaneously race to play cards from their hand, face up, to either of the discard piles. To play a card it must match one characteristic (color, shape, numeric value) of the card in the discard pile on which it is played. For example; if there is a ‘star’ card on top of the discard pile, the players can play a card with stars on it on top of that card. That would be a matching shape. When a player lays a matching card in the discard pile, that player must name the match. For example; if the match is red, the player must say “red”. If the match is star, the player must say “star”. Players must play only one card at a time.

As cards are played, players must refill their hand by taking cards from their own draw pile. Players may not have more than three cards in their hand at any given time! The Win: The game continues until one player is out of cards and yells, “BLINK!”

The cognitive skills that can be strengthened by playing this game: This game is great for logic and reasoning, strategy, numerical concepts, processing speed, sensory motor integration, visual processing, short-term memory, and problem solving. By playing this game for ten minutes once a week, for eight to ten weeks, you and your child should see some improvement in all of the skills listed above.

About the Author

Julie Adams Flaherty

Julie is a mother of 5, all of whom are gifted with assorted learning issues. She is the founder and creator of The BrainGame Bus; the nation's premier mobile classroom. She is the author of MindGames: Taking games out of the closet; making your kids smarter.

Click HERE to connect with Julie on Facebook

Click HERE to email Julie with your questions

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