Smartboards are becoming increasingly popular in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms, but these technological tools can also be quite beneficial in preschool classrooms as well. Smartboards allow students to interact with lessons, which can make learning more engaging and effective.
This can be especially true for preschoolers who love learning by doing and want to see real-life examples of what they are learning about. There are many ways you can use an interactive whiteboard in a preschool classroom; from letting students manipulate shapes, improving their fine motor coordination by tracing objects, viewing videos and images that connect with a lesson, and much more.
Another beneficial way to use interactive whiteboards in a preschool classroom is through the use of Smartboard games. Smartboard games are available to match various subject areas and offer an engaging way to help students learn essential skills.
During my time working with preschoolers, I found that using our Smartboard for educational games was quite effective. Not only did my students look forward to the block in our schedule when we would play games, but I noticed an improvement in the skills we practiced through the games I carefully selected.
If you’re interested in learning more about how interactive whiteboards can benefit your preschool students and want to discover some top games you can try out with them, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll share:
- What interactive whiteboards are
- How interactive whiteboards work
- 5 benefits of using interactive whiteboards in a preschool classroom
- 11 top Smartboard games for preschoolers you can try with your students
What is an Interactive Whiteboard in a Classroom?
Interactive whiteboards are technology tools that engage students and get them deeply involved in learning. As you may be able to guess from their name, interactive whiteboards allow students and teachers to interact with the technology.
This means that you can use a special pen (and often your finger) to make annotations and write text over the screen, move objects around, play games, and more. Unlike traditional chalkboards or dry-erase boards, you can create pre-plan different texts and images to share with your students and annotate directly over each slide.
You can also save slides to revisit learning from a previous day without having to re-write everything on the board.
Since interactive whiteboards hook up to a computer, they can also be used to share websites, images, and videos from your computer screen.
As with other technological tools, such as laptops, tablets or cell phones, setting clear rules for using the interactive whiteboard and remaining on task during lessons is essential. Even preschoolers can engage purposefully in learning and will benefit from clear expectations and a strict, yet friendly, teacher.
Just as you would want a cell phone policy in place if your students were to use cell phones in the classroom, you will need a policy for use of the Smartboard. You can learn more about being strict with students here and cell phone policies at school here.
How does an Interactive Whiteboard Work?
The best interactive whiteboards allow you to make annotations and manipulate items on the screen using the special pen or even your finger. They connect to a computer and project the image displayed on the screen.
Once connected with the computer, you can use the whiteboard to open programs and documents on the computer, highlight text, move objects around, write text and draw items, and more.
These capabilities make interactive whiteboards an invaluable tool for learning and deliver many benefits for instruction. We’ll explore some of these benefits as they relate to preschool classrooms in the next section.
5 Benefits of Interactive Whiteboards in the Preschool Classroom
Technology can be a powerful tool in education. In upper grades, for example, using cell phones during instruction can be quite beneficial. You can learn more about students using cell phones in class here.
Since most preschoolers won’t have their own cell phones, interactive whiteboards are one way you can introduce more technology into your classroom.
There are many benefits associated with using interactive whiteboards in a preschool classroom. If you don’t already have an interactive whiteboard, once you purchase one for your students, you’ll be amazed to discover these benefits. Besides, have a look at my article which reviews the best interactive whiteboards. Click here!
1. Increased Engagement
With the interactivity component, students can be more involved and engaged in the learning process. Especially for young preschoolers, being able to manipulate items on the board or practice a skill, such as writing, can be much more engaging than doing the same thing with a pencil and paper.
2. Makes Learning Fun
When engagement is increased, learning becomes more fun and exciting for students. Teachers can plan interactive lessons and games that will help students stay enthusiastic about learning. This can help them gain more knowledge and learn skills that they otherwise may not have.
3. Meets Different Student Learning Styles
Not all students learn the same way. Some may be visual learners, while others are audio or kinesthetic learners. Interactive whiteboards can make it easier for teachers to meet all of the different learning styles in their classroom through sharing videos, writing down information, letting students practice different skills, and more.
4. Simplifies Lesson Planning and Review
Since you can save the various slides, notes, and images you share with your students, interactive whiteboards can also make the process of lesson planning and reviewing past instruction easier. You can pull up past slides to add to new lessons or reference them when reviewing material with students.
5. More Eco Friendly
Interactive whiteboards are also a friendlier option for the environment. Chalk and dry-erase markers only last so long before they need to be replaced. With an interactive whiteboard, you won’t be going through these materials and creating as much waste.
In addition to these boards being more environmentally friendly, this also means that they can be friendlier for your budget as well. Since you won’t be using up these materials, you won’t need to spend money to purchase replacements either.
11 Smartboard Games for Preschoolers
Ready to learn about some of the best Smartboard games for preschoolers? I’ve put together a list of my 11 favorite games that you and your students are sure to enjoy.
- Clifford Interactive Audio Concentration →
- ABC Hungry with Cookie Monster →
- Counting Pizza Party →
- Alphabet Balloon Pop →
- Spot the Difference →
- Food Group Sorting →
- Beaker Bonanza →
- Teddy Numbers →
- Pairs →
- Shape Monsters →
- Whiteboard Widgets →
In addition to being fun and engaging for students, each of these games is also educational and can add value to your instruction.
1. Clifford Interactive Audio Concentration
Preschoolers will have fun practicing long vowel sounds with this audio concentration game. Clicking on a card will reveal a word, and students need to work to match words that have the same long vowel sound. The audio feature can help students to sound out the word and hear the middle vowel sound.
Best for: Phonics and long vowel practice
2. ABC Hungry with Cookie Monster
Students can work on the letter identification skills with this fun game. They need to pop the bubbles that match the letter for each round. When they pop a correct bubble, a cookie shaped as the letter drops into Cookie Monster’s mouth.
Best for: Letter recognition
3. Counting Pizza Party
This counting game will be exciting to preschoolers since they’ll get to make their own silly pizza. The game specifies a number of each topping type that students will need to add to the pizza to complete it for a customer’s order. After making the pizza, a bell will ring and students can listen to the toppings being counted.
Best for: Building number sense and counting skills
4. Alphabet Balloon Pop
If you’re working on letter recognition, the Alphabet Balloon Pop game is perfect for practicing the letters B, G, and E. Students will need to pop any of the balloons that match the target letter. Popping the correct balloons helps the character Floyd enjoy a fun hot air balloon ride.
Best for: Learning letters B, G, and E
5. Spot the Difference
In this game, students can work on improving their observational skills. They will need to closely examine two pictures that are very similar and find five differences between the pictures.
Best for: Building observational skills, discussing similarities and differences
6. Food Group Sorting
This interactive game is perfect for teaching students about food groups and practicing sorting items. The game includes a large visual of a plate sectioned off into the various food groups and different images of foods for students to drag to the corresponding section of the plate.
Best for: Learning about food groups and sorting objects
7. Beaker Bonanza
In Beaker Bonanza, students need to select which beaker shows the least amount of liquid, the middle amount of liquid, and the greatest amount of liquid. When they make a correct selection, the bear slurps down the liquid, and if they are incorrect the beaker bounces back so they can try again.
Best for: Comparing and ordering quantities
8. Teddy Numbers
Preschoolers will love counting out cupcakes to feed to the teddy bear in this counting game. You can choose to have students practice numbers up to 5, numbers up to 10, or numbers up to 15 depending on their level and needs. The game can also be played with number words for students who are ready for the extra challenge.
Best for: Counting and number recognition up to 15
Pairs is a matching game that is included in the Notebook 10 activities for Smartboards. You can edit the game using your own images to connect it to any content your students are learning about. For example, after talking about farm animals, you could put pictures of different farm animals on the cards for students to match. You could also make a more challenging math game by having preschoolers match the two equations with the same sum (1 + 4 and 2 + 3, for example).
Best for: Any subject areas
10. Shape Monsters
In this fun game, preschoolers can learn their 2-dimensional shapes. The game features four hungry monsters of different shapes (square, circle, triangle, and rectangle), and students must feed the assigned shape to the correct monster. If they choose the right monster to feed the shape to, the monster eats it and names the shape. If they choose the wrong monster, the shape comes back out for them to try again.
Best for: Math
11. Whiteboard Widgets
Whiteboard widgets allow students to annotate over an image. You can use them in a variety of ways with your students to engage them in the learning process. Find an image related to something you are learning about and give students directions to annotate over it. For example, you may ask students to color a shape purple, circle the character that looks happy, or cross off the item that doesn’t belong with the others.
Best for: Any subject matter
- The growing use of interactive white boards in schools
- 6 benefits of interactive whiteboards in the primary classroom
- 15 interactive board books for toddlers and babies
Final Thoughts on Smartboard Games for Preschoolers
Wow! There really are a lot of great Smartboard games out there for preschool students. Can’t you imagine how excited and engaged your students will be when you try one or more of these games out with them? Are you ready to start seeing the benefits of using a Smartboard and playing some of these games with your preschoolers?