As a teacher, I always tried to incorporate games into the classroom whenever possible. If I had to plan morning work for the week, then I would lay out copies of games that focused on content that I wanted the students to practice or review instead of placing a worksheet on their desk. I just feel there is so much to be gained from playing a game.
- Playing games are fun!
- Players practice following the rules of the game and keeping everyone accountable for that.
- Games give us a chance to practice good sportsmanship and learning how to handle winning and losing.
- Games are an engaging and hands-on way to practice various skills such as math facts or letter recognition (depending what you want to work on as a teacher)
- Games work on problem solving skills and social skills.
- Games are fun (did I mention that already)
The past few months I have been intentional about picking out games to have out during our toy rotations. Here are some of the games I have pulling out and which ones the girls are loving!
This game is an easy to learn, fun to play game to practice letter recognition and sounds, number recognition, 1:1 counting, color recognition, and 2D shape recognition.
Riley (4 years old) has really been enjoying card games. We started with Go Fish which she really enjoyed. From there we tried Crazy 8's where she is crazy good at that game. We tried Old Maid, but she wasn’t a fan of that game. It’s challenging for Riley to hold the cards so we do play open hands where we lay our cards out on the table. I know they make card holders and we will need to get some of those, but for now this works. Since Riley has been enjoying card games, I also created a couple card games to work on some skills we are learning and reviewing during homeschool such as letter and number recognition and 1:1 counting. You can find these preschool skills games here.
Games that get you up and moving
Olivia (2 years old) is active and doesn’t want to sit around too long for a game. The best games for her are the active, gross motor games such as Monkey Around by Peaceable Kingdoms. This game has you pick cards and tells you to do different actions such as balance the banana on your head, give another monkey a hug, spin in a circle, etc. When you complete an action, you add that card to the banana tree. There are five spaces on the tree. Once you fill up all the spaces, game over and start again!
Olivia also likes Seek-a-Boo! which is a search and find memory game. You can spread the Seek-a-Boo cards out around the room and call out different cards to find. This game is very adaptable and customizable. When Olivia was first learning the game, I would place all the memory cards face up so she could see all the pictures. I would call out the pictures and have her stand on them or do different actions to get to that picture such as hop, run, crawl, etc. As Olivia learned the game, I started to set the game up with the pictures upside down, so that Olivia now had to start incorporating the memory part of the game. There are different categories so I will sometimes stick with one category or mix and match categories.
Since Olivia is just starting to understand how game play works-following game rules and taking turns, we also like to play Haba’s First Orchard game. This game focuses on color recognition. You roll a color die and pick the matching color fruit from the tree to place in the basket. The goal is to pick all the fruit from the trees in the orchard before the raven gets to the orchard gate. This game can get pretty exciting when the Raven is rolled often as you race to pick all the fruit before the raven arrives.
Another great game for 2 year olds is Haba’s Off to Bed. I really like the Haba games for this age group and there are quite a few of them. In this game, you try to get the three friends to bed with a bed, pillow, blanket, and stuffed animal before they use up all their excuses to get out of bed such as potty, drink of water, story, or need to brush their teeth. This game is usually always a close game.
Hoppy Hoppy Happy Hunt and The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game by Educational Insights are great games to introduce game play, taking turns, what it means to lose a turn or steal from another play, and how to win or lose. These games also work on color recognition and have a fun fine motor skill component.
Games such as Hi-Ho Cheerio or Chutes and Ladders are classic and always fun to pull out. Other games that have been pulled out often are matching games, memory games, and puzzle games. Olivia enjoys Farmyard Heads and Tails by Orchard Toys which is where you match the heads and tails of different farmyard animals. Riley has enjoyed Mermaid Tide by Peaceable Kingdoms where she races to put together 3 mermaid puzzles before all the seashells are washed up onshore. This game is a visual discrimination game as well as works on fine motor skills.
During this last toy rotation when I brought out the grocery store toys, I also brought out the Shopping List game by Orchard toys where players race to find all the items on their list to fill their shopping cart. This is a matching and memory game that is a lot of fun. The girls always want the shopping list with the donuts on them. Yum! So many good games to play and not enough time, but I am always on the hunt for more games to play with my girls. What are some games you and your kids enjoy playing?