This post is part of our interview series where we talk to the inventors, developers, and publishers behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with Lucille Lucy, the creator of Play ‘n Learn Games games. Lucille began developing games while she was a teacher, so we really enjoyed hearing her perspective on the educational value of games.
Mom’s Choice Awards®: Your background is in teaching. What prompted you to start inventing games?
Lucille Lucy: There are two major aspects in a child’s life that stand out in my mind: success in school and positive family relationships. As a teacher, I recognized the need to assist children with reading and math in ways beyond what is offered through a standard school curriculum. The success I found in using games to help my students learn was overwhelming, even with students having special needs. As a parent, I also recognized the lack of family unity in our world of technology. For instance, being in a restaurant, seeing a family of six, including parents, each totally absorbed in the devices they were holding without a single word being spoken to each other.
By developing games, I want to help children learn and reinforce basic skills as well as encourage parents and children to interact with one another forming positive family relationships. Playing my games gives parents a good opportunity to praise children when they do something correctly, instilling positive attitudes, confidence and building self-esteem. In just ten minutes, playing a game allows parents and child a time to relax and provide an opportunity to talk, laugh, share stories and create wonderful memories.
MCA: Your game Challenge is one of two of your games that have won a Mom’s Choice Award®. How does that game fit in to the mission of Play ‘n Learn Games?
LL: My mission is two-fold: to help children learn and reinforce their reading and math skills, while at the same time promoting positive family relationships and providing happy memories. Challenge is a card game that brings the family together and addresses five math concepts. Children will learn and reinforce number recognition, number value, addition, subtraction and multiplication simply by having fun playing a game.
MCA: Though your games are educational, they’re also really fun. How important is it for you to balance those two aspects in your games?
LL: In my teaching career I have seen many ways of presenting educational concepts. The most successful, and the easiest way for children to learn, is while having fun. Using my games as a teaching technique was by far the most beneficial way I found to strengthen students skills in reading and math. They enjoyed playing the games and did not even realize they were learning. In fact, my students would often ask when it would be their turn to play the games again.
The fun factor of games is extremely important. All children need to know is that my games are fun to play with family and friends. The rest will take care of itself because playing is learning.
MCA: You’ve mentioned that Challenge can be played remotely via Skype. How does that work?
LL: Yes, Challenge can be played in real time by several players from different locations as long as each player has his or her own deck of cards. Using Skype or Face Time, this game is ideal for military families, working parents who travel away from home, and grandparents who live a distance from their grandchildren. This provides an opportunity for them to enjoy each other’s company by sharing stories, talking and laughing while having fun playing a game which helps children learn or reinforce number recognition and value, addition, subtraction or multiplication.
MCA: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Before we go, we’ve got to ask: What’s next for Play ‘n Learn Games?
LL: Play ‘n Learn Games will be producing a total of 50 games. I have four board games in the beginning stages of production. These games are designed to help children in the following areas: recognition and value of coins, counting of coins, recognition of lower case letters, and hearing as well as identifying letter sounds. When all the games are available they will be in an academic sequential order for teaching math and reading which can supplement any reading and math curriculum in schools or home schooling.