About games in education and development


Ready to play?

When children play, they learn: they solve problems, cooperate or try to outsmart the other, think about strategies and face all the emotions surrounding winning and losing. The superpower of games is that children learn while letting their curiosity run wild and having fun.

This does not only apply to children, by the way, but teenagers, youngsters and adults also get excited by a game. And if that enthusiasm can combine with learning, it’s win-win!

Are you looking for a different way of learning, for playful forms of work that stimulate and challenge the curiosity of your child, pupils and students?

Then you’re in the right place. I’m Marion, I’m a teacher, mother, blogger and games geek. A combination of interests and practical experience that made for this website. On this website, Pen & Pion / Kenniscentrum Spel*, you will find everything about the power of games in teaching, parenting and education.

*Pen&Pion = Pen & Pawn
*Kenniscentrum Spel = Knowledgecentre Games


Discovering the world through play

That’s what children do from birth. Who hasn’t played Peekaboo with her/his baby? Of course, you do it for fun and the bond you build with it. But at the same time, your child is practising motor skills and visual tracking. We humans, mammals, are made to learn through play.

Yet play gets less and less space as we grow up. Instead of a game, books, worksheets and iPads appear on the table: the serious work starts.

But is it really true that we should separate serious and games?

I don’t think so. Even stronger: I am sure. Because: serious = head and play = heart and emotion. The more you feel involved in a topic, the more you empathise, the better that content will stick..

Moreover, the world is changing faster and faster and it is our job to teach children to navigate that changing world. You can increasingly look up knowledge. But how do you know if that knowledge is correct? How critical are you of your sources? In a game, you practice that when you have to judge your fellow players. Do you believe their fancy talk or are you cautious?

New skill unlocked!

Another skill that the 21st century demands is that of flexibility and quickly adapting to new rules and challenges.In the society of the future, there are jobs we do not yet know. Technology moves fast and can make your job obsolete just like that, requiring you to learn new knowledge and skills, skills (again).

A game in miniature is such a changing environment. You have your moves figured out, but there are two more players in front of you who can change the whole game. How do you react to that? How flexible are you?

In gifted education, games are often used to practice these kinds of executive functions.

Will you read the rules of the game?

Children and young people who love games soon have a larger and more complex collection than the one in the cupboard at school. Want to keep up with your students a bit in that? Then look in the menu at choose. Here you will find an overview of interesting games for your gifted education groeps, but also for example in language and maths lessons.

If you then purchase such a game, I think it’s cool if you do so via the buy-button. By doing so, you support my work for this website.

My son played the game Werewolves back in primary school. The other day he came home from his tutoring hour in second secondary And he had played it again! Obviously a hit that game. Nice bit of suspense and you can keep a larger group entertained for a while. But there are so many more games on the market now! Browse through this website for inspiration.

Schools are looking for ways to use games. There are many possibilities. Do you only do it in a mentor hour? Or if it rains heavily during playtime? Or can you also use it as part of the lesson. I choose the latter, of course!

Ons this page, I talk about the different schools where I was allowed to observe. They each use games in their own way. You will also find some quick rules on this page, which will show you (and your pupils) at a glance how to set up and play the game. This page is still under development and will be constantly updated. And if you are looking for arguments to use more games in education, please look under the heading Research & Literature. On this page, I collect (scientific) articles on games in education / care / work.


Looking for inspiration? Designing your own game idea? Visit a games fair? There is a great offer around board games. Pull out your diary and have a look at what’s on offer on the plans page.

I wish you lots of gaming fun!

About me

I’m Marion and I love board games. Born somewhere in the seventies, as a child I mainly played monopoly and goose board. Later, all kinds of card games were added. I can still remember rainy holidays when, crammed at the table of a small caravan, we played Canasta endlessly and fanatically.

During my studies, the games went with me, but took a bit of a back seat. Although, they moved outside and were for larger groups. In fact, I joined a children’s activities committee run by students. We organised holiday weeks for children from families who could not easily afford a holiday. Throughout my studies, I was playing outdoor games full-time for a fortnight every holiday. Under the guise of ‘fun for the kids’, I played a lot myself.