Want to enhance your child’s learning while making it fun for everyone?
Bring the gift of learning right to your home with learning games that feel like fun rather than school.
Playing games and positively interacting with your child will help their development, social abilities and overall wellbeing.
As a parent, you play a big role in your child’s development.
As Nicci Micco writes in a recent Parenting magazine article, “Simply engaging with [your] baby in positive, everyday ways helps her build the trillions (yes, trillions!) of brain connections that lead to language development, problem-solving skills and the emotional IQ that’s so important for getting along — and ahead! — in the world.”
Spending time with your child also builds strong bonds and happy memories.
And learning games are one of the easiest ways to do just that.
That’s why we’ve organized a list of 7 Learning Games for you to play with your child. Our list includes indoor, outdoor and rainy day games.
These activities will help your child experience, learn and enjoy the world around them. It will also set them up for successful years ahead in school and work.
1. Commentate and Converse
While probably the easiest game on our list, it is arguably the most important.
Narrating and conversing with your child (no matter how young) increases their language and communication skills.
You can play the game of commentating whenever you’re out and about or around the home.
For example, if you’re talking a walk together in the woods, be sure to point out all of the different sites and sounds. If your child’s old enough, they can point as well and begin to say words or sounds.
This play engages them in their surroundings and teaches them new objects and words.
If you’re in the house, commentate while you’re in the kitchen or changing their clothes. The conversation will help your child notice new things in the world while developing their language skills.
2. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Different than a treasure hunt (which involves creating clues and checkpoints), a scavenger hunt is simple. All you have to do is compose a list of items for your child to find. You don’t have to make or hide clues.
And you can tailor your scavenger hunt to the age of your child. List out things your child can find in the house or the backyard. Give them a bag or box to put all of the items in. Set a time limit or see how fast they can complete the list.
Scavenger hunts can be played with one child or many. If you have a group of kids, split them up into teams so they practice working together. They’ll have fun exploring, collecting, and counting.
Here are two sample lists to use for your hunts.
Find the following for an indoor scavenger hunt:
- A coin
- Safety pin
- Piece of mail
- A spoon
- One black sock
- A button
- A book with numbers in it
- A hair tie
- Something purple
- A stuffed animal
- A favorite toy
Find the following in an outdoor scavenger hunt:
- A grey stone
- An orange leaf
- A white flower
- An insect
- A ball
- A frog or toad
- A piece of trash
- Something red
- Something square
- Something as big as your hand
If you’re taking a road trip, you can even play a scavenger hunt along the way by listing out things your child might see from the car window. They’ll have fun marking off items as they watch the sites go by.
3. Have a Paper Airplane Contest
Pull out a few pieces of paper and create paper airplanes together (bonus if you can make them colourful!).
Mark a line with a sock or other household item for ‘contestants’ to stand behind. From that line, take turns flying your planes. Measure whose goes the farthest.
Then ask your child to make a change to their airplane’s design (maybe folding an extra crease or change the angle of the wing. Line up again and see if the change made the airplane go farther. Discuss why this change may have occurred (a great science lesson!).
4. Toss and Count (and work as a team)
Head outside and have your child pick their favourite ball.
Make it a learning game by counting the number of passes the ball makes without touching the ground.
Set a goal, such as 15 or 20, for the number of times the ball should be tossed without hitting the ground. This simple counting game also develops the skills of balance, perseverance and teamwork.
5. Play a Board Game
On a rainy day or lazy afternoon, pull out a board game to play with your child.
Board games teach children important skills like counting spaces, matching and memory.
They also teach life and relationship skills like how to take turns and accept rewards and consequences.
Learning good sportsmanship is something your child can take with them to the soccer field, spelling bee and first day on the job.
Favourite board games to stock in your house:
- Chutes and Ladders
- Sequence for Kids
- Hi Ho! Cherry O!
6. Head to the Kitchen
Get creative in the kitchen with your child and make it a fun learning opportunity.
Choose healthy foods, like lots of fruits and veggies, and put your child in the driver’s seat by letting them pick items and help with some of the steps. Mixing, measuring and counting are all great math lessons.
Stir in extra learning by doing a themed activity. For example, choose a colour and design a whole meal with that colour in mind. Or do a letter-themed lunch and put together a meal with foods that start with that letter.
For more fun, healthy meal ideas to make together, check out our blog post 5 Healthy Meal Ideas to Make With Your Child.
7. Get Musical
Turn on the tunes to incorporate lessons of rhythm, tempo, sounds and instruments. Music is a beautiful and enjoyable way to learn, and can be utilised at any age.
Nicci Micco states in a Parenting magazine article, “The sheer joy of singing and dancing together is what makes these activities so magical for brain development.”
Here are a few easy games to play with music:
- Dancing to the beat
- Having your child pick out words they recognise
- Playing musical chairs
- Listening for and identifying the instruments used
- Sing along (use YouTube to look up the lyrics in karaoke style)
Have a blast learning and playing with your children. Much of their development starts right at home – and you can enhance it even more with learning games.
If you’d like to learn about all the fun we have at Harmony centres, call and book a free tour with us today!
Drevitch, G. (2015). Board Approval: 7 Classic Board Games for Kids. Retrieved December 23, 2016, from http://www.parents.com/fun/games/educational/classic-kids-board-games/
Games – Activity Village. (2016). Retrieved December 22, 2016, from https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/games
Micco, N. (2011). 12 Fun Baby Learning Games. Retrieved December 20, 2016, from http://www.parenting.com/article/baby-learning-activities