Choosing appropriate games for kindergarten kids ensures everyone feels included and motivated, without getting overwhelmed. Many competitive games prove too stressful for young children. Consider fun games in which no one loses or where players have many chances and options. The best games for kindergarten kids keep them active and challenged, while not making them wait long periods to have a turn. Limit games to 10 or 15 minutes to keep the pace lively.
Several types of games typify appropriate activities for kindergarten children. Line games, involving two groups facing one another, include everything from Red Rover to tug of war. Circle games may have children sitting down, as in Duck, Duck, Goose, or standing, as in Spud. Tag games, in which one or more children are “it” and chase the other children, have many permutations and engage most kindergarteners.
Most games for kindergarten children feature few rules and lots of action. Consider classics such as Hide and Seek, Hot Potato, Freeze Tag, Red Light, Green Light and relay races. These games keep every child moving and motivated; they also do not demand following complex rules.
Fun games may involve special equipment, such as chalk for hopscotch, jacks, marbles, bouncy balls for dodge ball, water balloons, paper airplanes, hula hoops and jump ropes. However, some favorite kindergarten games, such as hand-clapping rhymes, Simon Says, Follow the Leader, I Spy, Charades and finger rhymes like Itsy Bitsy Spider require nothing and can be played anywhere.
Kindergarten games are not about determining a winner. The object of the game should involve participation and enjoyment, rather than showcasing high levels of a particular skill. Involve children in fun activities and cooperative games that have them working together to beat the clock or to accomplish a feat, such as building a tower of blocks.
Many kindergarten children get overstimulated by too many active or competitive games. Vary the rhythm, structure and time length of games to ensure happy participants. Try a structured game, such as the Farmer in the Dell or the Hokey Pokey, followed by a more free-form activity, such as running through the sprinkler or playing tag.
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