- Some retro games you could use in your classroom include Four Square, Guess Who, and Pictionary.
- Games can be recommended to parents or friends who are wanting to add some fun to summer learning.
- Games that teachers loved as kids will spark excitement in the teacher that can transfer to student engagement.
Retro Games: Four Square
Do you remember the power of going out onto the playground and being the first person to grab the four square ball? My students looked at me with a blank stare when I asked them if they knew how to play, so my co-teacher and I used our Social Studies standards of learning and rules, and took to the playground for this exciting game.
You could use this game to practice communication skills, social-emotional skills, and hand-eye coordination, as well as work on gross motor development. Building relationships with students is also a hugely important piece of playing games in the classroom. There is buy-in when the teacher is an active player in the game and not just the referee.
A quick Google search will help you find the official rules of Four Square, but here are the basics you need to know:
There are four squares drawn on the playground or outdoor space. You use one playground ball and the server starts in their square. You serve the ball into another person’s square. They need to hit the ball into another square before it gets out or bounces more than once. If it gets out, the person that hit the ball into the square advances. Some players may use royalty names, others use number 1-4; either way, you move into the next spot, and the waiting player would move into space as game play continues.
Building relationships with students is also a hugely important piece of playing games in the classroom. There is buy-in when the teacher is an active player in the game and not just the referee. Click To Tweet
Retro Games: Guess Who?
This popular retro game could be used with its official game rules for elementary students to practice skills such as turn-taking, using descriptive language, and asking and answering questions while listening to others.
Guess Who? boards are also great if you take out the cards and use them in your classroom to practice content. For example, you could put in elements from the Periodic Table with pictures of commonly used items from that element.[scroll down to keep reading]
Retro Games: Pictionary
Pictionary was invented in 1985, which makes it one of the younger games in this post. There are so many ways you can use this game in your classroom or at home with your family. This game lends itself to drawing skills, visual-spatial skills, wordplay, reading, and vocabulary.
A document camera or whiteboard extension could easily transition this game to a digital classroom environment. I “picture” myself using this game to practice setting, characters, and objects from a novel study or guided reading group.
Let’s connect! I want to know what some of your all-time favorite games were as a young child! How you could use these games in your classroom or in a learning environment? Use #playyay and #teachbetter on Twitter!
About BreAnn Fennell
Mrs. BreAnn Fennell is a first-grade and second-grade looping teacher in Ashland, Ohio. She has worked in both public and private settings and is passionate about providing exciting learning environments for students. Mrs. Fennell is a published author of children’s books including Play? Yay! and Choose Your Cheer. She is a mom to two energetic boys and a defender of play!