Living in the age of technology, parents can feel pressured to rely on educational websites, mobile learning apps, and computer games to help them teach their children reading and literacy skills outside of the classroom. While these resources are important tools for moms and dads who want their children to succeed in the modern, globally connected society, nothing can replace hands on, physically interactive learning games for family fun and education.
Here are three educational games you can play this month with your younger children. These games target early childhood literacy, reading and writing skills, and, of course, creativity. Two of them are free and require minimal tools -- just imagination! The third is a great, store-bought game and a wonderful option for when families need a more structured game night activity.
1. Letter Search
One of the oldest games in the parenting book is the Letter Search. It requires no tools, no set up, and can be played anywhere from your living room to the car and beyond.
The rules are simple: Ask your child to search for a letter. He or she can search on cereal and food boxes, magazines, newspapers, books, in the refrigerator, tooth paste, etc. In the car, look at billboards, store signs, street signs etc. If your child really is interested in this activity, they can write the alphabet and tally the number of letters found. To test their vocabulary and imagination you can ask your child to think of their favorite word that begins with each letter they find! Be sure to join with your child in the search. Cheer and clap when letters are found.
2. Progressive Story Writing
For this activity you will need a blank book or notebook, sturdy mailing envelope, markers, and some writing utensils. Have a child start a story and illustrate a few pages, then pass the notebook on to a friend, sibling, or even an adult like grandma or grandpa. This person continues the story and passes the book back to the child. This routine continues as long as there are pages. Not only will your children be challenged to test their vocabulary and spelling skills, but to share and collaborate with others.
This can be a great way to instill a love of storytelling and books. Make your child part of the whole process. She can pick out the blank book, plan the plot of the story, illustrate it (glue a picture in the book or draw directly in the book?), and decide who they want to play the game with. When the book is full, put pictures of the authors and illustrators in the back with the date of publication. You can even have your child design covers and paste them to the outside of the notebook to create a lifelong keepsake!
3. What’s Gnu
What’s Gnu is a fun game for new readers, and a great confidence builder for children not yet sure of their new reading super powers! In this game, you and your children create words using the letter cards and build reading, word recognition, vocabulary, and spelling skills. What's more, it can easily be made more difficult by creatively tweaking the rules as your child's acumen develops.
What’s Gnu has great versatility and portability, making it a great option for family game night while on the road. There are no batteries, it makes no noise, and there is essentially no set-up.
These are only three of the many thousands of games that are out there to help your child develop the ability to achieve amazing things through reading and writing. If you are interested in finding more check out the following links to discover more.
Artful Parent Blog: The Best Kids Board Games And Card Games
Bright Horizons Family Solutions: At Home Learning Activities for Children
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