|« Toddler Birthday Brawl||Mozart Babies Gain More Weight! »|
Children love playing games: it's fun, it's easy and it's a great way of learning without even knowing it!
Early on, games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake and other nursery rhymes form the basis of children's games. This is how the idea of games actually starts. The little ones laugh and smile and begin to understand cause and effect: ie. each time teddy pops out from behind the cushion, it will make them jump and they will laugh! It sounds simple, but it's an early form of game-playing.
They will then progress to all sorts of other games: easy box games, then number, colour and letter games and eventually board games. At each stage they are learning different things and experiencing different ideas. The notion of a winner and loser; the notion of practising at something to get better; the idea that you need to make an effort and try hard at something to then enjoy the feeling of doing well etc.
What are the benefits of playing games? Does it really help in any way other than passing the time?
- Patience and fair play: they can't interrupt or snatch when playing a game. They need to learn to take turns.
- Fine motor skills: moving counters, placing items on a board, balancing things on a horse. Most board games help improve fine motor skills.
- Sportsmanship: they should congratulate the winner rather than get stroppy at not winning!
- Gross motor skills: many outdoor games involving balls, hoops, balancing etc. help with gross motor skills.
- Develop relationships: playing games helps improve and develop relationships between families and friends. Laugh, play and chat about the game together and see how much fun you all have!
- Thinking: as they play games, young children will begin to learn strategy - high dice rolls mean moving further, which squares to avoid because they have penalties etc.
- Keep games easy and short at the start. Don't make it too complicated or long winded.
- Don't let them win all the time! It is tempting but does them no good in the end.
- If they look tired or bored don't force them. Make games fun, not a chore.
- If ever they ask to play a game with you, try to say yes! They need as much encouragement and support as you can give.
- Try to play enthusiastically. You may not be in the mood to play, but try to make the games fun!