Remember how much fun it was slogging through boring homework assignments night after night?
How about getting “I can’t sleep” excited every Sunday about the return to the dull hours of a new school week?
Or the last day of school before the holiday breaks and the buckets of tears over the inability to sit through the tedium of each day in the classroom?
Yeah, we don’t remember that either…
What we do remember quite fondly were the teachers who made the learning interesting, relevant, and most of all, fun.
The ones who used hands-on experiences so that we discovered, instead of droned on in lectures. The teachers who would take plain facts and figures and present them in ways that we could relate to and take interest in.
In place of copying boring definitions from the dictionary, they’d make vocabulary word lists into a crossword puzzle or word searches, or turn spelling words into a jumble of letters that had to be unscrambled. Words, definitions, even letters, were play toys as well as teaching aids.
There’s solid educational psychology behind making learning fun, and solid benefits behind using tools like a word scramble to help your child learn.
Those are the very areas we’re going to be discussing today:
We all benefit from enjoyable learning opportunities and practice. And there are scientific reasons why.
According to science and educational specialists, fun, interesting, stress-free learning actually increases levels of endorphin, adrenaline, and dopamine. These are the same “feel good chemicals” released by the brain when we spend time with friends, or watch a comedy show.
And the laughter and excitement of an enjoyable time also increases our oxygen intake, making us more alert, awake, and ready for new experiences. Our attention span lengthens and focus increases.
Other studies have shown that “stress, boredom, confusion, low motivation, and anxiety can individually, and more profoundly in combination, interfere with learning”.
That’s the fault of the amygdala, our “caveman brain” that decides whether there are any threats in our immediate area. It’s responsible for our “fight, flight, or freeze” instinctive responses. Intruder? Fight! Tiger? Flight! Boring lessons? Freeze!
Fun, relevant learning activities like word games, word puzzles, Scrabble, and even just using letter tiles to practice spelling shut down the amygdala and our caveman brain goes quiet. That leaves the rest of the brain free to learn.
When we’re anxious, stressed, or in “freeze” mode, our brains release cortisol, the “stress chemical”. High levels of cortisol impair the part of the brain in charge of memory and information processing, the hippocampus.
If the hippocampus can’t do its job properly, we don’t process new information correctly. Even if we are alert and ready, we may not comprehend the lesson like we should. Under stress, the brain can’t learn.
And if the memory-maker is on the fritz, we won’t remember anything like we normally would, making all that time and effort and teaching useless.
Attention, memory, focus ͢— all good reasons to include a daily word game into your child’s routine. Now, let’s look at some others.
A daily word scramble game or two can do wonders for your child’s learning and language skills. Specifically, a word scramble game or puzzle can help in the following eight ways:
Your child learns spelling rules and patterns in school. Playing word games, specifically word scramble games, helps to reinforce those rules and patterns. You have to know the spelling rules, after all, to put the scrambled letters into the right order to solve the words.
The more words a child is exposed to, uses, and comes to “know”, the more extensive their vocabulary becomes.
A child may have no clue what that new word is in their word game, and their natural curiosity will cause them to find out what it is. They may ask you, or a teacher, or just take it upon themselves to look it up in the dictionary, adding that word to their store of knowledge.
When they are racing against a timer, trying to find that last scoring word or certain number of points before time runs out, the scramble to solve the letters in that last scrambled word is a fun challenge.
That challenge leads to your child’s thought processing speed increasing. Their brain literally speeds up and can solve problems faster and easier, in the word scramble game and in Life
Between picking up the pace at which the brain processes information and figuring out the letters interact with one another in a real-world setting, a word scramble game develops problem-solving skills.
Scrambled words ask your child to think a bit outside the box. That’s something that a word search or list of spelling words just doesn’t do. And that out-of-the-box thinking boosts the ability to think outside other boxes, an important life skill.
Your working memory is the ability to hold onto new information so we can use it in some way. Let’s use a games night scenario to demonstrate:
Without strong working memory skills, your child wouldn’t have recognized the possible words those letters could make.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again”. That old chestnut is never more true than when trying to get all the unscrambled words in a puzzle or game figured out.
Word games can be challenging, and none more so than scrambled word games. It takes persistence and patience to stick it out and solve that word scramble down to the last letter. Both are traits and skills that again, carry a child far from a simple game and into life.
There’s a certain sense of satisfaction in getting the most points, in watching word length grow with each new level, in not having to rely on wildcards, and in just getting all the letters in the right place, in the right order.
And that satisfaction, that sense of accomplishment, does wonders for the player’s self-esteem.
With the advent of online and downloadable word scramble apps, you and your child don’t have to wait until you are home to break out the Scrabble board or dictionary. You can play a word scramble wherever you are, whenever you have a few moments to spare.
Traveling? Play a few rounds of your favorite word scramble. Waiting on dinner or for dad to finish at the office? Enjoy a few levels of putting letters together.
With a cell phone, tablet, or laptop, you can take the word scramble fun with you anywhere, any time.
We’ve noted that word scramble games can be challenging. Sometimes, they can be a little too challenging for your child, depending on their skills and their opponents.
They are basically a jumble solver, taking the letters you type in from your word scramble puzzle or game, and doing the unscrambling for you.
They aren’t cheating, because you still have to know which words your word scramble game needs, or where to put your Scrabble letters for scoring high points. Think of them as the ultimate wildcards, helping you with the toughest sets of letters.
Helping your child use these word scramble finder tools is easy and rewarding. Your child still reaps the benefits from playing their favorite word scramble game.
The word scramble finder tool takes some of the frustration and stress away. And may just level the playing field against dear old Dad.
We have developed a Word Scramble that is easy to use, and gives you all the possible combinations for your letters. Give it a try today.