With winter just around the corner you can’t take your kids outside or to the park as often as you would like. We don’t want our kids sitting around the TV or playing computer games all day. Preschoolers and those just starting school have more energy than most parents. It's just a natural fact. To help occupy them you may want to find games they can play indoors.
If you’re like most parents, you remember playing board games with your brothers and sisters, maybe even your parents. Back when I was a kid there were no computers. This was before nights where families played games together became known as “Family Fun Night” or “Family Game Night”. You may remember hours spent playing Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Boggle, or Sorry. Maybe your family had Operation for when you got older, then you most likely graduated to games like Monopoly, Scrabble, or Trivial Pursuit.
Those games are still around if you want to share them with your children, but you may also want to find newer games to play with them. Here are a few of the best games for preschoolers or those just beginning school that are recommended by experts and parents alike:
- I Spy Preschool Game, also developed by Briarpatch, is based upon the book series “I Spy”. It’s a matching game, but there are five ways that it can be played. It can also be played with rhymes. It was designed for 3 to 6 year olds and is an award-winning game.
- Goodnight Moon Game – This is a game based on the popular preschool book by the same name. Made by Briarpatch, it is recommended for children 3 to 6 years old. The game encourages the use of matching and remembering where things are. Children playing do not have to be able to recognize letters or numbers, so it’s good for very young children. Everyone wins in this game so you don’t have to worry about one of the children being a poor loser.
- Chutes and Ladders – This board game has been around for years. My kids love it and I have fun playing it with them. In this game children move their game pieces up and down a board of 100 spaces that has chutes (slides) and ladders that the pieces land on. The game teaches beginning counting, taking turns, and the concept of losing.
Of course, there are other types of games to play with your preschooler. Kids love to play games that allow them to move. Hide and Seek is always fun, but another run one is the old Hot/Cold game in which you hide something and tell your child if they are getting hotter or colder. This is a great game to help teach kids how to listen. To add a little motivation, I like to hide coins and when they find the coins they can keep them if they can count and tell me the number of coins I hid, or if they are older, the denomination.
If you have a few kids in the house, Duck, Duck, Goose is one game that kids really enjoy. It not only teaches children to take turns, but also how to listen carefully. Another game you can play with your preschool child is Simon Says. Remember that game? You listen to what “Simon” says and do it. If “Simon” didn’t say to do something and you still do it, you’re out. This is a great game to teach taking turns and listening, and is a game you can play with your child.
Many experts recommend not allowing your young children to play computer games because it doesn’t develop a young child’s imagination. I don’t completely agree. If you visit Disney.com or noggin.com you will find many fun games that help teaches not only imagination, but reading and counting skills in a fun way. There are other aspects to a child’s mind that needs to be developed that computers can help with. Naturally, you don’t want to plop your infant in front of a television or computer screen for long periods of time every day. However, there are many good quality computer games your child can play that will encourage their thinking, introduce them to learning concepts, and teach them skills they’ll need in the future.
The best games for preschoolers come in a variety of formats – board games, active games, and computer games. Your task as a parent is to find the best games for your child and to help them enjoy them. One thing to remember is that all kids learn differently and have different learning styles. Some are visual, some auditory and some learn best with the hands on approach. As parents it is important to discover our kids learning styles and encourage them.
As winter approaches, we can use the indoor time as an opportunity to learn and play new games and activities that are not only fun but educational as well. In the process, it is also an opportunity for us parents to develop closer bonds with our children.