Dice originated in many cultures at different times and dice games have entertained many civilisations including the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. Dominoes are believed to have evolved from dice in China in the middle ages. Today they are as popular as ever and are great for playing matching and counting games with your little ones.
Buy sets of large dice and dominoes to play with your little ones (you can even buy garden sets). Observe the different numbers of spots, look at matching pairs and count up the spots across two or more dice, or one or more dominoes.
Play 'collecting' games where you have to roll particular number combinations with the dice. For example, roll three dice and see if you can roll a consecutive 'run' (ie. 1 - 2 - 3, 3 - 4 - 5 etc). It may take a few turns but you'll get there eventually. Play 'memory' games with dominoes. Take out all the doubles, lay them around the floor, and see if you can turn up double one, then based on tiles you have looked at, double two, then double three. See how few turns you can use to pick up the whole run in order.
Dominoes are also great for building with and will help practice fine motor skills. Build pyramids and walls, or just play classic domino toppling. How long a line can you make, and topple, with a single set of dominoes?!
Thinking about things and remembering things is usually easy for children - they have excellent memories! By the age of 3, there are trillions of of connections that are forming the brain. By doing activities and games with your children it can help in the formation of those connections.
Try these activities to see how good they are are remembering names and places.
Take 5 things...
Go to the shops...
My name is... and I like to...
I Went on holiday and I took...
Games of this sort are all great to get children thinking and getting them used to recalling information. It's a great way to see how well they are learning.
Memory is a tool that improves with practice. The more we challenge ourselves, the more we can improve our memory. Memory is also an important foundation for further learning. This means that the more you expand your childrens' memory, the better they will learn as they enter school. Memory games can be a great way to prevent boredom. For example, as soon as your children are old enough, playing 'I went to market and bought...' is a great game to play during journeys where more active play is prohibited. Similarly, a good game to keep children occupied in restaurants is to line up a number of table items (salt, pepper, knife, spoon, ketchup, napkin, coin etc.) and then have one item remove whilst the other players look away. They then have to name which object is missing. Playing memory games helps both to entertain in otherwise relatively confined spaces, and helps the long term goal of improving memory and building that foundation for later learning.
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