With the holidays so close I thought this would be a good time for a couple of posts on games!
Games are a huge part of our family and education. We have never forced the learning experience, but our children have faired well so far in educational development. I truly believe this is largely in part to the games we have played. It is well published that reading to your child helps them learn to read and be excited about reading. Less is said about games but I think it is equally important and certainly played a big part in our early readers. Both our girls were reading chapter books before they started Kindergarten. Often people asked how I did it! And I always said I didn’t ‘do’ anything. But we did play a lot of games!
Now, we probably have more games than your average family I admit. A quick count this morning, just on the shelves, reached more than 150!
This review, Part 1, will be of our favourite preschool games to play together.
There are lots of games for younger children designed to help them work on skills alone, but I am looking at games you play together. Even with a game they play alone I personally feel that it’s really important to be close by while they play. Sometimes a game can be frustrating and it’s important to be there to support them and ensure the experience is a positive one. I don’t mean do it for them! But observe and take note of how they are doing. It is important that the game is one in which the child can achieve success. If it seems too difficult for them, put it away for a while.
Here are just a few of our favourite preschool games, and what we learned from them.
Prickly Pile-up by House of Marbles
This was great for coordination and, surprisingly, imagination. Once we’d played a few rounds of stacking, the hedgehogs usually had a little adventure.
At a young age they could maybe only stack 2 high. We still play this now to see who can get the highest stack! I LOVE games that just keep on giving!
Our version was from Usborne, a Farmyard Tales game. We played this so much in the preschool years. But it never grows old! We play it occasionally now for old times sake!
The boards are double sided. One side has pictures and words and the other side has just letters. I really appreciate games that grow.
Even before you think your child is reading they can match the pictures. And because they are seeing the word under the picture, it’s not long before they are recognizing the word too. They are hearing the beginning sound as they say it and associating it with the word below, learning sounds by association!
There are many letter bingo games available, but I also think the quality of the game adds to the enjoyment. This one is well made with lovely illustrations, tied in to the Usborne stories. A great opportunity to read some books that will tie in and then they will recognize the characters too!
Our version was “What’s that Sound?” by Discovery Toys, but there are lots of versions of this game. Sitting quietly and listening is a skill kids need to learn and this was a big hit in our house.
We had a number of Discovery Toys games. Mainly because a friend became a consultant for them! You know how that goes! But I was really glad we found them. Some were not worth the money, but some got a lot of use.
Another one we played with extensively is ‘Playful Patterns’. Fine motor skills, shape recognition, color recognition and imagination. Again, it still comes out occasionally!
Listening skills meets gross motor skills meets color and shape recognition! Lots of fun too!
Orchard games make amazing, affordable games! They might be our favourite game company. We brought a few with us from the UK but they are widely available in Canada now.
Our favourites are;
Tummy Ache. You pick ingredients out of the box to try and make a healthy meal, but watch out for some disgusting courses!
The Shopping Game. Take cards from each others shopping bags to collect the ingredients for your recipe.
It seems this one is no long made, but there are a couple of others with the same principle.
Crazy Chefs and Lunchbox
Insey Winsey Spider. Not my favourite, but the kids loved it. Shape and number recognition with a fun twist. If you spin the rain cloud you are washed back down to the beginning!
There are many many more games made by orchard toys and their website is worth a look. http://www.orchardtoys.com I’m pretty sure any of their games woud be excellent.
Just playing together is a great opportunity to have fun while teaching through play!
Now…family game nights really took off in early elementary for us and our favourites follow!