Gaming in the library has become common place in many school and public libraries; however, there are several instances where gaming is still considered “fun” and not part of a learning atmosphere. If you’re in a school library setting that requires a lesson plan for every activity, you’re in luck! Each year in the U.S. a holiday rolls around the week of Thanksgiving: National Game & Puzzle Week. The purpose of the holiday is to promote socially interactive games such as board games and puzzles. I would also add breakout games and team-building activities to the list.
National Game & Puzzle Celebrations
At school libraries, the week of Thanksgiving is typically one or two school days, making this a great opportunity to take advantage of National Game & Puzzle Week. We set up games on tables with a variety of card games and board games. Some students have previously asked for “hard” coloring pages or blank paper to play Hangman or Tic-Tac-Toe, so we are adding trays of paper games to our arsenal. This year, I will be filming teachers sharing stories of their favorite childhood games to add to our website and Facebook pages.
Getting Parents Involved
To involve parents, we send home a letter explaining our celebration. We ask that parents share stories of their favorite games they played as children. My co-teacher and I both share some stories with our students about playing games growing up. I like to share about my three-month-long game of Monopoly with my niece and nephew every day after school. Many students return from break and share stories that they heard. This makes a great conversation starter at Thanksgiving dinner!
Celebrating at Public Libraries
Many public libraries are also getting in on the fun of celebrating National Game & Puzzle Month. Check out Denver Public Library’s links to online games for their patrons. Chicago Public Library encourages patrons (in a 2014 post) to visit the library to check out their stash of board games. This would also make a great collaboration effort between school and public libraries. Many households no longer own board games, so they could utilize the public library’s collection!
Whether you are celebrating the whole week or just a few days, get your students involved in National Game & Puzzle Week. It’s a great way to build social skills, encourage teamwork, and share your love of gaming with your students.
Author: Ashley Cooksey
Library Media Specialist in Arkansas. Self-proclaimed geek. Lover of nature and music. Always learning.