There is no doubt in my mind that, as the Internet continues to play a larger role in education, a growing number of online sites will host free math games, most of which are challenging, exciting, fun, and age-appropriate. That’s all well and good.
But above all else, children crave time spent with their parents. Because learning is a social process, children learn best through fun games and activities that involve interaction with other people.
Stanley Greenspan, M.D., a clinical professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at George Washington University School of Medicine and author of many influential parenting books, says playing games with parents helps children develop the social skills necessary for getting along with others and is core to their healthy development.
“When you play games with your children”, Greenspan says, “you’re not only connecting and engaging, you’re exchanging back- and-forth emotional signals, which are helping the child regulate mood and behavior, learning to read social signals and learning to communicate. Each of these abilities contributes to a child’s sense of security.”
Seize this opportunity to teach them your values, and indulge them with your own undivided attention. Try a math game with your kids. A price cannot be put on the quality of the time you will have spent with your children. They will have fun while learning, and they will remember those times with greater fondness than the times they spent playing the educational computer game.
And lastly but of great importance, among the obvious benefits of sitting down and playing a good game with your children is the opportunity that games provide to apply and solidify the mathematical reasoning and calculating skills your children are learning in school. When children play on-line or video games, parents may know how the child scores, but do they know where they made mistakes and why? Playing games with your child offers you, as a parent, a greater opportunity to know what your child’s strengths and weaknesses in mathematics are.