Games serve an important developmental function for your child, whether he is 9 months or 9 years old. Naturally, the types of games that he’ll play will evolve over the years, but it never hurts to have a few game ideas in your head. Not only will games help your child to learn and to keep him entertained, they can also give you some well-needed time alone.
Educational experts are in agreement–children learn best through play. Games can teach the alphabet, colors or counting. They can also help to reinforce any knowledge gained at school. Choosing games that focus on learning can improve your child’s skills from a young age.
Very young children have a short attention span and may only be able to play a game for a few minutes. As children get older, they’ll be able to focus more easily. In some cases, they will be able to play games that span over several days, weeks or months. Consider your child’s age when selecting games to play. If you are not sure how long a game might take, you can choose ones that allow you to stop in the middle of the game.
A game that is too complex for your child’s ability level will only serve to make her more frustrated, especially if she is playing with a child who is already at a higher ability level. Though it can be difficult at first to determine which games your child should play, it’s best to select age-appropriate games. For example, if your child hasn’t yet mastered the art of kicking a ball, it’s not a good idea to sign him up for soccer.
The benefits of games for infants and children go beyond the learning benefits. Many games–particularly outdoor games–allow children to develop their physical skills and get some exercise, helping to fight the battle against obesity. Additionally, games provide social interaction, either with other children your child’s age or as a way to bond with the family.
With very young children, you’ll want to select simple games, like Peek-A-Boo or Ring-Around-The-Rosie. As children get older, you have more options available to you. Sports can teach team work and improve physical fitness. Board games are great for rainy days and often have a learning element to them. You may worry that video games are bad for your child, but these games can also have a learning element and are fine in moderation.
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