I've realized that more than anything, playing a wide range of games (card, board, video) and solving puzzles throughout my youth gave me more practice with number sense than anything I did in school. The crucial skills are pretty easy to see when you're looking for them: counting, classifying and grouping numbers, estimating, thinking quickly, dealing with money, spatial relations, problem solving, creating systems to make success easier, and finding out that there's more than one way to do things. I'm being purposely vague here, because I think these skills are present to some extent in so many things that it would be difficult to make a definitive list.
What I mean to do with this notion is to:
- Revisit and review games both old and new and point out their educational value, and suggest ways to extend and adapt them for the classroom (not necessarily a new idea for me, but there will be a renewed focus on this)
- Create more new games that teach these skills in both obvious and subtle ways
- Suggest games that would be valuable for parents to do with with young children at home.
So be prepared for a lot of discussion of games and puzzles in the near future. For now, here's some great resources that inspire me and should do the same for you:
Educational Games Research