• Dr. Monica Cavender

Work vs. Play

Updated: Mar 13, 2020

Many workbooks are filled with pages and pages of problems to solve. Then it is checked and marked as to which are errors. UGH! Doesn't sound very motivating. Think of how you would feel at work with piles of paperwork for someone to review, only to tell you what you didn’t do well. Not fun! Think is ironic that both workbooks and worksheets have the word “work” in them?

In the process of playing a game, children are often experiencing many more problems to solve than on a worksheet and have the opportunity to explain their approach! Bonus! Deeper thinking! Yay! When we listen to children and respect their thinking, it is pretty cool because they very often have really great ideas!

As adults, we can learn to think about basic facts differently from maybe the way we learned about facts, as well as hear misconceptions in our own understanding or maybe the understandings of the child. Imagine the opportunity to talk about your own ideas about doing things at your workplace. You would feel respected and valued for your own thoughts. Encourage your child to share strategies and why they think it works. In each game at Zach's Backpack, guiding discussion prompts are provided. You might find them helpful, as they are tailored to each game context.

By playing the games found at Zach's Backpack, families have fun, free opportunities to play with the mathematical thinking. One of the best things about games is that they offer meaningful practice in a way where kids actually want to do math. If math "isn't their thing" don't label it as a math game, just invite them to sit a play a game with you. It is likely they will love just the opportunity to hang out together.

Games, by their very nature, are fun. It’s not too hard to entice a child to play a game. Games at Zach's Backpack offer important and engaging practice in a way that just worksheets can’t. Plus, all family members can join in on the fun. It doesn't have to be a working time, it can be "easy" math. Sometimes, that "easy" practice is especially beneficial in building confidence!

As you join in these games at Zach's Backpack you will begin to perceive your child’s strengths and weaknesses in math and know what he/she will need to practice. Then go to Zach's Backpack and pick a game! Any game at Zach's Backpack can be modified to meet the needs of your child. There are also lots to choose from in mathematical operations to choose from within the website. Don’t hesitate to go back to a game if you know your child needs practice a particular skill. Repeat play of the games is a great idea! It’s a ton of hidden practice of basic facts as well.

Enjoy the play! Share it with a friend!

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