The Growth and Giggles Blog

Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.

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Posted by on in Learning Games
Teaching Numbers with Blocks STEP 1: Make a block. Have fun. (To make your own block, we have a tutorial.) STEP 2:  Cover each of the six sides with brightly colored paper. STEP 3: Write numbers 1 to 6, one on each side of the block. Write the number and the corresponding number of dots. Be sure to use the same dot configuration as is most commonly used in your area of the world (for example, what the dots look like on dice). Putting the number next to the dots will enable your little one to learn quantity associated with the number symbol as you play and explain. GOAL: For each game using this block (see also our following post: "Teaching Words with Blocks"), get the body involved. Let the child FEEL and gain number sense in addition to understanding that number symbols represent a quantity that is stable. EXAMPLE OF A GAME: Each person takes...
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Posted by on in Learning Games
A Plethora of Pouring Games Pouring can wire the brain for math -- quantity, more/less -- when done regularly. And it can be done with lots of different things.  For starters, during bath time add big and little cups. How many little cups fit into the big cup? Bring some measuring spoons along. How many measuring spoons fill a very small cup? (If you're using something small to pour into a big container, this may get discouraging.) Add bubbles to the bath for variety. (Word of warning: girls may get irritated skin in sensitive areas if spending too long in bubbles.) Pouring is also good for getting finger, hand, and arm muscles firing. Even better when you add stirring (pretending to cook) into the mix. These are so helpful with everyday tasks.   The Pouring Station Set up a pouring station in a corner of the house with a sheet or shower curtain under it. Use...
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Posted by on in Learning Games
Matching Games Galore Anything can be made into a matching game. Just look around your house. Do you have two forks? Two noodles? The point is, you don't have to go out and buy anything to make a matching game. In matching, the brain is being wired in both pre-math and pre-reading ways to notice what's alike and what's different. For example, how does a child learn to differentiate between an "a" and a "d"? They need to see all the parts of something before they decide if they are the same or different.  So, starting when children are toddlers, begin to simply notice and name the difference in things. Big rock, small rock. Two different leaves. You can mention similarities as well. Then point out the differences. Two different balls. Mention size, color, etc. This is the first step. Just notice and point out things that are the same and different in everyday life....
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Posted by on in Learning Games
Littles Learning On The Go     Here are two learning games that can be done while going about normal everyday tasks that will involve children age two or older in growing developmentally all while getting things done!   ORDER GAME Materials: Whatever the child and adult are doing at the time: cooking, washing dishes, getting a bath, etc. Procedure: Whatever your child is learning to do, break it down into easy steps. If, for example, your child is washing their hands then say, "Let's see, first I put water in the sink. Second, I wet my hands, ....and last...." Once the child has learned the order of the task, they love the next step of this game in which you try to fool them: "Let's see, first we dry our hands, right?" Lots of laughter is sure to ensue. An example:  If you are cooking eggs, you can ask: "What do I do first? I...
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Posted by on in Learning Games
Sight Word Spectacular As mentioned before, Kirby believes that teaching sight words and phonetics together is the best way to set kids up for a future of reading well. In this post, we'll cover some sight word games to play and the words to use when making these games. When making your own sight word cards, it is important for us to start by mentioning that young eyes need the sight words written very largely (1-2 inches high). The muscles of young eyes are learning how to focus on things. Another helpful tip is to write mainly in lower case letters on pieces of cardboard or another sturdy card paper.  In choosing which words to begin with, use the names of family members including the child's name with upper and lower case letters. Write the child's name, then Mama (use upper and lower case m with Mama to make it easier), and the names of...
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