Children are learning all the time, even when they are just playing. So it is worthwhile to engage them in games that encourage the development of creativity, logical thinking and language skills.
Here is a list of games with some developmental value that you can play with children.
1. License Plate Mathematics
This is a simple game. As you drive, randomly pick either the car in of you or behind you and ask your child to add up the numbers on its license plate. You can make it more exciting by making it a competition to see who can do it faster.
2. I Spy With My Little Eye
This classic game can easily keep you and your children engaged for a couple of hours. You can start off with descriptive call outs like “I spy with my little eye something red“, then progress to call outs that require intellectual processing like “I spy with my little eye something you can cook for dinner” or “I spy with my little eye something that uses electricity to work“.
You read that right. You may be wondering how this could be of any educational value. Education at any age extends beyond mathematics and English, especially for children! Topics like physics, chemistry and biology are all sciences that will need introduction at some point of time. Jenga is an excellent game to teach some basic concepts about physics and balance!
Build a child’s self-confidence with charades. Since this game involves acting out words or phrases, you might want to start out in small groups of people that your child is familiar with. During this game, it is extremely important to not laugh at the child and to always use positive reinforcement and always be encouraging. This game encourages the development of quick recollection and creativity.
5. Rock, Scissors, Paper
This simple game teaches the child logical consequences. The child will also learn to read physical cues. You can also put the child in charge of keeping score while playing speed rounds.
However, please do not call it hangman or use a hangman diagram when playing with children! Be creative and use any diagram that interests the child, like a smiley face! This game has immense value in teaching spelling and word recognition. In the initial stages, you could allow the child to make reference to her/his books to pick words, then progress to using memory to recall words and their spelling.
Just about any game has some educational value. For example, the Angry Bird game application is an excellent way to create an intuitive understanding of how passive energy can be transformed into kinetic energy! Think about the teaching and learning opportunities in every day activities and take advantage of these as they arise.
Quick Tip! Never water down content or over simplify information when children ask questions.
When a child asks you a question about the world around it, provide the scientific explanation. As far as possible, parents should avoid giving fairy tale responses to children. Children will be exposed to lots of fairy tales in stories and television shows anyway. The problem with giving fairy tale explanations to real world questions are that they do not allow further questioning or understanding of the world and science. This actually stifles a child’s learning in the long run. For example, if you tell a child that rainbows are formed by magic, the conversation and learning ends there. However, if you tell a child that rainbows are formed by reflection, refraction and dispersion of sunlight, that impresses upon the child that there is a whole lot to learn about the world around it and thus encourages the child to keep asking questions to learn.
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