One thing I remember as a kid was the lengths my mom went through to make learning fun. I have Dyslexia although we didn’t find out until I reached adulthood. One reason I think it went undiscovered for so long was because my mom always found fun ways to help me learn. I didn’t understand concepts in the way most kids in the class did. My mom found games to help me learn concepts so that I didn’t have to memorize answers.
I remember as a very little girl, around 4 she bought this big green box that had some sort of characters on it. Inside the box were puppets, books, and this pencil that I could grip with my whole hand that buzzed and the eraser lit up whenever I got the answers right. That is how I learned how to read. I remember going into kindergarten and being bored to tears because kids were learning how to spell their names and I could read 3rd-grade level chapter books. I specifically remember a time I told my teacher that I didn’t belong in kindergarten and asking to go to the bathroom. There was a second-grade class a few classrooms away and I stood at the door and watched as the kids were learning. I wanted so badly to be in that classroom with regular sized pencils and notebooks. I watched the teacher write questions on the chalkboard and the kids write their answers in their notebooks. I’m not sure how long I was gone but it was long enough for my teacher to get worried about me and step out of the classroom to look for me.
I was eventually placed in advanced classes I attended a couple of hours of the day which helped me tremendously because I was being challenged. Some of the things I did and learned in those classes are still with me to this day. Before I was placed in those classes my mom found as many ways as she could to challenge me and help me learn in ways that were not only exciting to me but made sense to me. Over the years I realized I didn’t learn things in the same way my peers did. I often needed things to be broken down or explained in a different way. I’m so glad my mom found ways to do that for me because it helped me learn and later helped me find my own ways to make sense of things. Now as a mom, it’s helped me with my own daughter.
My oldest daughter is Dyslexic and has more severe issues than I struggled with. I’ve scoured the app store on my phone many times to find games that would help her learn in the way I remember as a kid. There are some great games out there but I just wasn’t able to find games with the depth and value of the ones I remember as a kid had. So I got online and did a search for educational elementary school games from the 90s. I can’t believe how nostalgic it was to not only find but play some of those games! Reader Rabbit is one I remember very well from my kindergarten days. As I got older Math Blaster and Outnumbered helped me tremendously because math concepts and word problems were the hardest for me to understand. Later on, games like The Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego introduced logic and reasoning in a way that was incredibly entertaining.
Couple these games with School House Rock and that’s the foundation of how I got through my elementary school years. My third-grade teacher Mrs. Griffin broke multiplication down so that I could understand what the point was and my mom had me watch School House Rock so that I could memorize the multiplication table once I understood how it worked. They say play is the language of children so it only makes sense to use games to help them learn! The thing I like most is this helps them learn how to apply concepts not just memorizing information so they can pass a multiple choice test.
I wanted to share these games with you so that your own children can be transported back in time and play the games with cheesy graphics but incredibly designed to help them learn in a fun way. Click here to bookmark the games for yourself.
What educational games do you remember playing as a kid? Did you find this useful? Will you check out the games so your kids can play? Feel free to share in the comments!
I’m always paying attention to things in my parenting life to be able to share. I’d like to know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to read about. If you’re looking for encouragement, inspiration, or ideas to deal with challenges please let me know in the comments.