Overcoming Social Science Deficiency with Fun and Educational Geography Board Games
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects are emphasized in high school curriculum to the detriment of the social sciences. This trend is moving into the elementary grades as well. The result, according to Ed school professor Fernando Reimers, is “schools have been emptied of their civic purpose…preventing children from developing a purpose bigger than themselves.”
Studies of young adult knowledge of world and national geography back up this assessment. A survey of young adults between the ages of 18-24 shows a startling lack of context. Of those interviewed, 50 percent could not locate New York state, 63 percent couldn’t find Iraq on a map and over 70 percent believed English was the native language for a majority of the world’s population.
Parents and caregivers can change the trend without hiring tutors or relying on the schools. Geography board games provide a fun means of teaching children about the world they will inherit. This learning stimulates future curiosity, so children themselves can address the deficiency. Help your children grow a civic consciousness by bringing one or more of the following geography games into your home!
Name That State
National geography is a great place to start during the pre-adolescent years. This game teaches the states, capitals and locations of the most popular landmarks. The spinner directs a player to a state, and the capital must be named to continue the turn. With a correct answer, the player rolls the dice to move their piece around the board. Some spaces require players to draw a card. A hint is given in the form of a landmark.
This selection combines language riddles, challenges, and visual teasers that reward children for their accumulated knowledge of the states. Even adults will enjoy the learning challenges of this game rated for children eight years and up.
For a combination of national geography, economics, history and even some basic math skills, this game is a great choice. Children seven and up will learn about landmarks, resources, capitals, compass directions, distance and historical background of the states. It’s designed to stimulate learning versus simply rewarding those with an already sufficient knowledge, so adults will enjoy Great States as well.
Where in the World
Children eight and up will enjoy this combination of six different games with six experience levels of play. They’ll visit all 196 countries and learn such facts as location and continent, native languages and religions, literacy rate, imports and exports, and monetary denominations. Even adults with a decent background in geography will enjoy the challenges of this world tour.
This is a two-in-one game that grows with your child. The first level is rated for children seven and up. They build a world map by puzzle pieces for oceans and continents. Level two is designed for children 12 and up and is played simultaneously. The difficulty is increased with addition of questions about demographics, land area and other facts.
Board games help children learn while keeping them entertained. Adults will learn too! Spur your child’s civic curiosity the easy way with educational games.
Michelle Larsen writes for education blogs where you can find out more about geography degrees. Several schools offer GIS degrees including University of Southern California and University of California Riverside.