Growing Kids go to Kindergarten: September Tip:
“Play board games with your child such as Chutes & Ladders, Candy Land, Hi Ho Cherry-O and Guess Who?”
These tips for families were developed by South Burlington elementary school principals, kindergarten teachers and early childhood educators. The tips stress the importance of play-based learning, fostering independence, and math and literacy exposure in the years prior to Kindergarten. To see the full list of tips and read the “Growing Kids go to Kindergarten” statement, please visit www.growingkidssouthburlington.blogspot.com
Board games help children develop social skills such as taking turns, following rules, waiting, communicating with words, cooperating, sharing, and winning and losing gracefully. It is a wonderful way to spend time together as a family. Children as young as two may be ready to play simple board games with the help of an adult, and the enjoyment of games can last a lifetime.
Game playing is not only a meaningful way to spend time with others. It also helps children develop important academic skills. Games that require a child to move a game piece while counting will help that child develop one-to-one correspondence, a skill that assists them in counting, sequencing, addition and subtraction. Games also help children learn number recognition, as they are exposed to number visuals while playing some games. Try: Chutes and Ladders, Hi Ho! Cherry-O, Dominos, Snug as a Bug in a Rug.
Matching fosters the ability to analyze information. Matching skills help children categorize information, and make sense of their world. There are many games that teach picture, color and number matching. Try: UNO Junior, Memory (for younger children, memory can be played with the card pictures facing up), Candy Land, Guess Who?, I Never Forget a Face Matching Game, Curious George Matching Game.
Many games help children learn early literacy skills. Some games offer the opportunity to match letters, encouraging letter recognition. Other games allow children to match pictures to words, exposing them to picture and word correspondence. Try: Zingo, What’s Gnu?, Sequence Letters, POP for Letters Game.
Gross motor skills are important to build strength, balance and body awareness. There are several games that foster gross motor development, and they are a great way to burn energy if the weather is too cold or rainy for long periods of outdoor play. Try: Horton Hears a Who! You to the Rescue!, The Cat in the Hat-I Can Do That!, Charades Game in a Tin, Crocodile Hop Floor Game, Twister.
An interesting question adults often ask is “Should I let my child win?” Games help a child practice being honest and following rules. It is fine to let young children make up rules at the start of a game, but these rules should be gently enforced during the game. Winning and losing gracefully are important life skills. It can be difficult for young children to truly grasp this concept and not get discouraged, and it is okay to let a young child win some of the time, gaining mastery over the game. That being said, kids should also learn that games are about having fun, trying hard, playing fair and spending time with friends and family, not just about winning. If your child is upset about losing you can say, “I had fun playing with you! I know it feels bad to lose, but let’s play again another time.”
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