Young children get bored easily. They need to be constantly engaged, entertained and expending their energy. It's very easy to dish out your mobile phones or tablets to let them watch Youtube or play games to keep them occupied. But it might not be the ideal option if you are concerned about limiting screen time for your kids, parent-child bonding, or excessive data usage. (#firstworldproblems)
So whether you are stuck in a long queue with your preschoolers, caught in a traffic jam, waiting at the restaurant for your food, waiting for your turn at the clinic, or just winding down and getting ready for bed, why don't you set aside those gadgets, and try out these three games with your little ones.
1. The Imagination Game
"I imagine that we are at xxxxx, what do you see?"
Either you or your child could set the theme for the game to get things started. Here are some suggestions for the setting of the imagination game:
- in outer space
- out in the ocean
- flying in the sky
- at the beach
- at school
- on a pirate ship
- in a submarine
- at the zoo
Basically the setting could be at a very specific location, eg. on an aeroplane, or a less confined space, eg. at the beach. The idea is to bring your child to a scene very distinctly different from where you are. This helps to create a good distraction especially if the current situation is boring, like being stuck in traffic; or scary, like waiting to see the doctor.
You can start the ball rolling by telling your child what you see, and then ask him to imagine what he's seeing at the imaginary setting. You may be surprised how he might recollect memories of being at the place (eg. the beach) or be amazed by his creativity when he describes a scary-looking alien that he's seeing in outer space.
If you child seems to be stumped, ask leading questions to get him to imagine more details. For eg. How does the alien look like? What's the shape of the spaceship? How do you feel now that you are flying in the sky?
Allow your child time to describe what he sees and encourage him by expressing how impressed you are by his creativity, or how much fun you having with him through his game. If you are playing with more than one child, make sure everyone gets his turn. It may get rowdy when the kids get excited.
This could be a very simple game to pass time, or even something that allows you to understand deeper, the thoughts and perspectives of your child.
2. A-Z Game of Everything
"Let's name the A-Z of xxxxx"
Very simply, the game requires you and your children to name out items for the designated theme in alphabetical order. You may even make it like a competition, where instead of taking turns, you need to shout out the responses for each successive letter. Keep count of the number of successful responses and the person with the highest score wins. For a tamer game, just take turns to name an item for each letter. For a longer game, say out as many items as possible for each letter.
Some examples for A-Z themes:
- animals (or narrow the theme to only land animals or sea creatures to make it more challenging)
- Brands of cars
- people's names
- things found at home
This game is helpful in recognising phonics for the first letter of each word, and also teaches the child to categorise objects.
3. The Things at Home
"What can you find in (name a room) at home?"
As the same suggests, the purpose of this game is to get your child to recall the various items or furniture that are found in particular areas of your home. Naturally, it would be better to play this game when you not at home. You would be surprised by what details catch the attention of your child and how you and your child might notice different things even in the same environment familiar to both of you.
So give the gadgets a break, have fun playing and bonding!
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