Learning is not all about math and spelling. Children have to learn a broad spectrum of skills, many of which come as second nature to adults but need time to mature in children. Games are a wonderful way to nurture these skills and have fun at the same time. So let’s take a look at some of the best:
1. Hand-eye co-ordination.
Even from early days, babies start to practice their hand-eye co-ordination as they learn to reach for toys. This skill is essential for reading, playing and movement. Air hockey is a fun and exciting way to practice this skill. Children love the fast-paced game as they try to score goals and move quickly enough to defend against the racing puck. Air hockey tables are available in a variety of sizes and provide hours of entertainment for all of the family (tip: finding air hockey tables can actually be quite tricky, try Liberty Games ).
Sharing can be a difficult skill for children to learn. Favorite toys are never given up easily and sibling rivalry can end in messy battles. However, a family games night can be instructive as well as fun. Board games such as Snakes and Ladders (particularly for younger children) and Pictionary teach children to share, take turns and accept defeat if they are beaten.
The thought of practicing spelling fills most children with dread, but when incorporated into a game, the fun element takes over. Scrabble is a classic family board game and can be enjoyed by all ages. Children love the thrill of discovering that they can create words from a combination of random letters.
4. Problem solving.
Teaching children in the great outdoors always adds an element of fun to any lesson. Once a child is old enough to read simple instructions they are ready for treasure and scavenger hunts. Not only are they an introduction to orienteering, but treasure hunts also encourage children to think out of the box and solve problems. The hunts do not have to be complicated. A simple list of items that have to be found on a walk, or a map around the garden with clues to the next step can provide hours of fun-filled learning. The game can be adapted for younger children by drawing pictures of the items that they have to find.
Children thrive off their imaginations, so setting them a task that requires creative thinking, resourcefulness and fun should really get their juices flowing. Getting them to build dens out of items found in the garden and a few blankets really taps into their fanciful natures, as does building junk monsters out of recycling items. Plus there is no better fun than a cardboard box with its endless possibilities of fire engines, castles and trains. Encourage their imagination and planning skills by setting a time limit and instructions as to what they are to try and make.
This top five list was contributed by Sally Rushworth – Sally is a stay at home parent looking after three great kids, whilst trying to blog about her experiences being a mum!