The Growth and Giggles Blog

Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.

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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in learning games
The Counting Worm Game for Teaching Numbers A counting worm is an engaging game for teaching numbers to preschoolers. Make your counting worm out of an egg carton. Cut one strip of 6 cups. This will be your worm. Draw a face on one end, and add pipe-cleaner antenna if you want. Write the numbers 1 through 6 on each of the bumps on his back. Be sure to write neatly and clearly since your kids are just beginning to learn their numbers. Cut a second strip of 6 cups apart into individual cups. This will be your worm’s “clothes.” On the back of each of these cups, draw dots, 1 through 6. Draw them in the same pattern that dots are drawn on dice. The numbers are easier to recognize in that pattern. Start your game with a story. Say, “This is the counting worm. He’s getting ready to go to school, but he needs your help...
Tagged in: learning games Math
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Learning Games to Play in the Car Does the idea of a car trip with small children fill you with dread? Road trips don’t have to be torture. In fact, they can be an immersion learning opportunity for your kids. If you fill your time in the car with fun games and activities, you can expect your children’s vocabulary and knowledge to grow exponentially in a short time while you cultivate fun memories and a strong relationship. The real challenge of road trips is keeping kids entertained. Here are some ideas that will engage your kids and help them learn and grow at the same time. Play rhyming games. Let the youngest child say a word and have everyone else say a word that rhymes. Try to come up with as many rhymes as possible. Read Piggle by Crosby Bonsall, and play “Piggle” by saying four words that rhyme, mixing up real words and nonsense words. Play I...
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Games to Play with Bean Bags Bean bags are fun learning materials for babies, preschoolers, and even older children. The easiest bean bag to make is to fill a child’s sock with popcorn, beans, or rice, and then tie a knot in the end of the sock. For babies, give them a bowl full of bean bags and let them pull them out and put them in. Say “out” and “in” as they move the bags. This is good for eye-hand coordination, hand strength, and learning the concepts of out and in. As children become able to stand, bean bags work great for throwing games. For ways to teach throwing skills, see this post. A first step is just to have your toddler stand over a bowl and drop the bean bag in. Next, you can teach the throwing motion. Have your toddler or preschooler hold the bean bag and swing their arm back and forth. Tell...
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Games to Play with Hula Hoops Hula hoops are great tools for developing physical skills, and they are lots of fun too! A preschooler probably won’t be able to use a hula hoop for its intended use yet, but there is still a lot they can do with one.  Here is a list of games and learning activities for hula hoop time. Lay the hoop on the ground and use it as a target for a bean bag toss. Put a series of hoops on the floor, and have your child follow directions to hop from hoop to hoop. They can jump with both feet, step, hop on one foot, etc. Use a hoop as a round balance beam. They can walk one foot in front of another around the circle, or they can stand on the hoop with their toes pointing toward the inside of the circle and side step (step, together, step, together.) Side-stepping in...
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Teach Your Preschooler Colors Colors are one of the first things that parents think about teaching their children. Teaching your preschooler colors can be a lot of fun. You should wait to introduce colors until your child has a solid vocabulary of nouns. A preschooler’s brain is wired to learn the names of objects before learning to describe those objects. Kids have what is called the “language explosion” between 18 and 24 months of age, during which they will be learning lots and lots of nouns. Work with their brains during this time by naming everything, and by not confusing things by adding adjectives. After about the age of two, your child may be getting ready to learn colors. The best way to kick off this process is by having a “red day.” (Really, it can be any color you want.) Pick a color, like red, and focus on it. Have everyone wear red. Pick...
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How to Make Colored Rice or Pasta                           Materials: Uncooked macaroni or rice Ziplock bag Food Coloring Rubbing Alcohol Put a couple of tablespoons of rubbing alcohol in the ziplock bag. (Use about a tablespoon for 2 cups of rice or pasta.) Add a few drops of food coloring. Add the uncooked pasta or rice, zip the bag, and mix it around until the pasta or rice is colored. Take the rice or pasta out of the bag, and spread it on paper towels to dry. Once it is dry, the color will stay and not come off on your fingers. The alcohol evaporates, so what's left is non-toxic, but we don't recommend eating it! The colored rice or pasta is fun for pouring and measuring or for digging in. Hide little plastic animals in the rice, and let your child dig around for them. Name...
Tagged in: Crafts learning games
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9 Principles for Playing Learning Games Learning games are a great way to teach your child a well-rounded set of skills and to lay a foundation for all the learning she will do in life. You’ll find lots of examples and activities on our blog and website. Here we’ve collected some principles that will help your experience of playing learning games go smoothly. Keep it fun and lighthearted. As soon as learning feels like work instead of play, your kids will resist. Don’t force anything. Invite, make it appealing, demonstrate how much fun the activity is, but don’t make your child do something he isn’t interested in. He may not be developmentally ready, or his development may be centered around a different skill this week. Appeal to his interests rather than what you think he ought to be doing. Plan ahead. Take a few minutes the night before to get familiar with 1-2 games. Make sure you...
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Teach Your Child to Follow Directions the Fun and Easy Way Have you ever wondered how to teach your child to follow directions without it turning into a power struggle? The key is to focus on following directions as a skill that children can learn gradually in the same fun ways that they can learn their colors or to tie their shoes. Here’s the Following Directions Game: The best age to introduce this game is around one year, but you can introduce it any time, adjusting to their age and skill level. Keep in mind your child’s attention span—keep the game short, and stop before the kids are tired of it. Tell your child, “I have a game. It’s called the Following Directions Game. I’ll tell you something to do, and you see if you can do it.” Start off with one instruction. Demonstrate while saying, “Touch your nose.” When they do that, give them a second instruction, “Touch your head.” For...
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