Most teachers of gifted students are differentiation experts, so there is not often extra time in class for games. Sometimes, game days are great rewards for hard-working, gifted students. It is also useful to have games on hand when an assembly or a fire drill cuts class time in half, flu season or bad weather means only half the class showed up.
When lesson plans are altered due to an unexpected change in plans, board games are a great way to keep gifted students’ brains busy and keep them working together.
Board Games for Large Groups of Gifted Students
It is great when a whole enrichment class can work together to play and learn. Some games lend themselves to more people than the box indicates; often it is just a matter of ditching the game board and using the questions (Trivial Pursuit) or playing on teams.
Apples to Apples
This Mattel game encourages students to use critical thinking as they compare and evaluate which word best fits into a given category. There is a junior version for elementary students; the regular version is fine for gifted secondary students. The game offers definitions for words, and the whole class can play at once. The game is also time flexible and offers multiple playing options.
This game is perfect for the whole class; it encourages fluent thinking and vocabulary connections. Catch Phrase Junior is perfect for elementary students; the regular version is an appropriate challenge for middle school and junior high students. The game is passed around as students sit in a circle. They have to fill in a phrase by reading the machine, which also keeps score of the game.
The Worst Case Scenario Game
University Games offers a trivia style game that is perfect for the whole class. Out of the box, it is appropriate for secondary students, but teachers need to filter the questions for elementary students. The game could be played in teams, quiz bowl style.
Games for Pairs or Small Groups of Gifted Students
Small classes (under 8 students) might be able to get multiple sets of games, and this gives students a chance to play and bond together.
If enough sets are available, chess is the classic game for gifted students of all ages. The game involves strategy, risk-taking, and patience. For students who are new to the game or if there is a serious time constraint, there are different versions of chess, such as No Stress Chess by Winning Moves, to help explain the rules and make the game more simple.
For classes that do not have enough money for real chess sets, printable chess sets and pieces are available for free.
Cranium is the company to go to for games for gifted kids. Cadoo is extremely popular and allows small groups of kids a chance to draw, act, show off some knowledge, and sculpt with clay. It is a time flexible game because students can play as long as they want to play. It is best played in small groups because there is such a variety of activities that everyone wants a chance to play. It is perfect for all ages of students who can read.
Even teachers can get in on the fun of game days. Gifted students love playing games with their teachers, and the increased sense of classroom community is worth the time.
If you want to know more about gifted students, read our article: The Evolution of Gifted Education