Most children love to play games, whether on a free afternoon, during recess or at the end of the school day. Although some children will pick up on how to play more complicated games quickly, some will have trouble grasping the easy ones. If you’re working with a group of children, it’s best to keep the games simple and to go over the instructions slowly and thoroughly.
Easy games come in several shapes and sizes. Some classic board games are designed for the youngest children, such as Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land. If you are working in a classroom with children and find yourself with some extra time at the end of the day, you can play indoor group games with them such as 7-Up or Whisper Down the Lane. Easy games also include classic outdoor games such as hide-and-seek or tag and all its variations.
Keep the size of the group in mind when picking a game to play. It will be more difficult to demonstrate how to play Candy Land to a class of 20 students than it will be to two or three children. The smaller the group, the easier the game will be to play, unless it is an outdoor game such as tag, which doesn’t work very well with fewer than five people.
Going Over the Directions
Go over the directions with children before starting the game. If you are playing a board game with printed directions, read them over to yourself and then paraphrase them so that the children can understand. You may want to play a practice round to make sure everyone gets it. For games without printed directions or games you are making up, be very clear when you instruct the children. Keep your sentences short, and use words you know they understand.
If the Children Don’t Get It
You have explained the directions and tried a practice round, and the children are still not quite getting the rules of the game. It may be that the game is not easy at all or that it is too advanced for them. Note where the children are going off-track, and feel free to tweak the rules a bit so that they are playing their own version of the game.
Scores and Prizes
Older children may enjoy keeping score when playing a board game or outdoor game, but scoring may make things too complicated for younger children. Keep things simple by putting away the score pad, and let the children play without worrying about who is winning or losing. At the end of the game, give everyone a small prize for playing, especially if they all played nicely and did not argue during the proceedings.
- old games image by Mark Aplet from Fotolia.com