Using the game of Clue as a learning tool
As we were completing homework last night, my son asked me if we could play a game of Clue when he finished. I reluctantly agreed (reluctantly because I know homework can be a slow process, and did not want to be playing too late). Happily, homework was done quickly without much fussing. (No fussing to finish the homework, but there was fussing during the game set-up with his sisters about who would be Colonel Mustard. But I digress). Once set-up, we had about 30 minutes to play the game.
After we finished the game and were putting the game away, I started to think about how each of the children were playing the game. The youngest is 5, she uses the cards for early reading skills. The characters are named by the color of the clothes they wear. So, she knows the lady in red is Miss Scarlett. She also uses the room and weapons card pictures to clues to help read the card.
The older children are more competitive and they were trying to solve the puzzle – who, what and where? With each person’s turn they were intently marking off the rooms, weapons and people. They also listened to side conversations and whispers to see if they could get any top secret information that would give them the last clue they needed to solve the mystery.
At first, we just think Clue is a fun game. The game requires simple deductive reasoning skills, the types of deductions we make every day. As my children play the game, they are sharpening their basic logic skills.
For example, if your car does not start when you are ready to leave for work, you will start a process to determine why the car will not start. You may consider if your car has gasoline? Does your car have a dead battery? These types of questions help “solve” the mystery of why your car will not start. They are making deductions, to help you come to a final conclusion. These are advanced skills, but the same simple deductive skills taught in the game of Clue.
Deductive reasoning, the type of logic used in the game of Clue, is applied to many tasks we complete every day without even realizing the process we completed. Encouraging your children to be strong deductive thinkers will help them through the many challenges of life.
What other children’s games provide life skills (without your child realizing it)?
- Monopoly – money management
- Scrabble – spelling and vocabulary
- Apples to Apples – comparison/contrast
- Battleship – strategy and logical thinking
What games do you like to play with your children? How do you think they improve your child’s skills?
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