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Repurpose Popular Board Games for Training

While everyone is out shopping for gifts and toys for the holidays, I thought this a good time to resurface the answers to Angela’s Hannon’s Linked-IN question, “has anyone used board games in a creative way to train on content?” Not surprisingly, she received a slew of creative answers. So, if you find yourself wandering through the game aisle at a toy store, invite yourself to think creatively about how you might use some of those playful games as learning activities.

Board Games for Learning

These suggestions from fellow group members might get your thoughts flowing:

  • Monopoly – used to teach about money management, investment, poverty, inequality, etc.
  • Who’s the Boss board game … it’s a negotiation/deal-making game great for salespeople and other uses as well. (Suggested by Wayne Bennett)
  • I SPY – for session openers. Ask players to “spy” an item that symbolizes something they hope to learn about in the upcoming session.
  • Game of Life – tweaked for staff to understand budgeting from the standpoint of our clients. (Suggested by Tabatha Dorman)
  • Cranium – for team building. This game involves players singing, acting, drawing, and modeling using play-doh, spelling, logic puzzles, and maths puzzles. To play, break into teams of 4-6. Feel free to hand-pick the prompt cards you want to use. Each team takes turns selecting a card. The facilitator announces the type of activity (e.g. drawing or logic puzzle) and the team selects a member of their group to do the task. To enhance the game you can also make some of the activities ‘All Player’ so all the teams compete at once and the winner is the team who gets the right answer first. Play for as long as you like. The debrief is around different members of the team having different talents/skills/experiences and not everyone is good at everything. Then discuss how they operate as a team and divide responsibilities, playing to strengths and developing each other in new skills). (Suggested by Matthew Moxon)
  • Wits & Wagers – for discussing decision-making processes. This is a crazy trivia game where you bid on the best answer…not always your own. Discuss how you make big decisions in your organization? By listening to the pseudo-experts who tap first, by doing what the boss says, or by trusting your instinct? (Suggested by Francois Lavallee)
  • Snakes and Ladders – for process training. The ladders represent the correct ways and snakes when it is an incorrect choice. (Suggested by DanThy Nguyen)
  • Candyland – for content reinforcement. I use a stack of colored construction paper and index cards with one or two colored squares drawn on them (mimicking the cards in the real game). I arrange the paper in a pattern on the floor (making a life-sized game-board) and split the group up into teams. Each team designates a pawn to draw cards and to walk around the floor game board if their team answers a question correctly. Then you as the instructor can create whatever questions you want (e.g. “name three ways to do XYZ,” or “how might you handle ABC?”), or have each team develop questions to ask the other team about the material covered. It’s a lot of fun and gets people up and moving after lunch or at the end of the day. (Suggested by Tracey Connolly)
  • Bananagrams  – for learning reinforcement. Challenge teams to build their “bananagram” with content-relevant keywords.

Aside from these, there are of course, many computer-based and TV-game show types of games. But, Angela asked for Board Games, and our community answered.

Do you have a favorite board game? Let’s add it to the list!

Read more…

Other Learning Games for Specific Content.

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