Learning games for preschool-age children can help them to develop the skills that they need for school and for life. The games that you choose can run from the store-bought games like Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders, classic games like I Spy, or make-believe games that involve turning the living room carpet into “lava” and telling your child he can only step on the pillows.
For children, toys are not merely a tool to pass the time away. They present special opportunities for learning. They can help students gain both physical and mental abilities. Additionally, by playing games with your child, you are developing strong ties with her, which can help her to grow into a good person.
Learning games act as tool to help your child get from point A to point B. For example, in the game Hi Ho Cherry O, children must count the cherries in their baskets, which helps to improve counting skills. The hands-on nature of games reinforces learning concepts in a new way, which may lead to better memory retention. Since children don’t always realize that they’re learning when they play a game, they may be more likely to continue to play, continuing their learning as well.
Games should work toward developing the major developmental milestones for the age group–physical, social, intellectual and emotional. Most games incorporate more than one of these concepts into a single game. For example, a game of Duck, Duck, Goose allows children to practice physical coordination, but it also helps them to learn to play as part of the group, remembering to give each person a turn. Preschool learning games can include board games, computer or video games, active games and quiet games.
Preschool age children have notoriously short attention spans, so you may not be able to play games long. Some games may only last 10 or 15 minutes before the child starts to lose interest. The more often the child has a turn, the more likely he is to stay interested. Still, you may want to over plan when it comes to games. That way, you’ll always have a new activity to turn to if your initial choice doesn’t pan out.
If the game that you choose is too difficult, your child may become frustrated, but if it is too easy, she may become bored. It’s smart to find games that will challenge her and allow her to feel successful at the same time. If you notice that she’s becoming frustrated at her inability to master the game’s techniques, you may want to take that game away for a few months and let her try it after she’s had a chance to grow.
- preschooler image by Lisa Eastman from Fotolia.com