The most important reason to play games with children is because it’s enjoyable and fun for everyone in the family. Research studies also suggest that when children play games they develop academic as well as social and emotional skills, such as:
*number concepts, counting, shapes
*colors, letters, words
*eye-hand coordination and small motor skills
*self-regulation - controlling impulses
*improved attention span
*planning ahead and problem solving
*persistence – never give up
Winners and Losers
One additional reason I like games is because it teaches the children how to lose gracefully. Yes, learning to lose is something all children need to learn how to do. Model appropriate behavior and how to lose. Demonstrate how to open your palms and say, “Oh, well!” when something doesn’t go your way.
One teacher suggested when a student won a game they would dramatically say, “You’re the grand prize winner of…NOTHING!” It’s no big deal either way!
Follow the child’s lead. Never force children to complete a game or play a game. Remember, it’s suppose to be FUN! It’s perfectly fine to adapt games and rules for younger children to keep their interest. As they get older they will be ready to “play fair” and follow the rules.
How do you choose games just right for children’s age and stage? Games that are too difficult will frustrate children, and games that are too easy will lose their interest. Most games have a suggested age range on the box. Here’s a site with additional ideas for games that you might want to share with your parents:
January and February can always be challenging times for teachers. Why not plan a “game day” every Friday afternoon? Invite children to bring games from home. Divide children into groups of 4 and rotate them through 10-15 minutes of each game. Have parent volunteers or upper grade students help monitor the games.
It’s only a game, but it’s a WIN-WIN at home or at school!
Come back tomorrow for some card games.