You’ve heard that doing crossword puzzles may help keep older brains sharp? The same concept works with children: Deceptively simple games can help your kids develop dexterity, verbal skills...and most importantly, imagination.
“Play is not just about having fun but about taking risks, experimenting and testing boundaries,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics in its report, The Power of Play. “Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st century skills, such as problem solving, collaboration and creativity.”
Here are some fun games for your kids to enjoy.
Building with Blocks
What toddler doesn’t love blocks? Get blocks of different sizes and colors, and let your little one go to town. (To have fun together, build a simple shape and have your child copy it.) Legos and similar build-it-yourself toys are suitable for older children.
Ripping Up Tape
Blue painter’s tape is designed to come off easily without damaging surfaces. Put that characteristic to good use: Apply strips of tape to various objects and then let your toddler have fun pulling them up!
Hunting for Objects
Scavenger hunts are easily adaptable to different conditions and age groups. For example, you can hide a few toys in the living room and have your toddler find them, or you can have older kids go outside and find items such as flowers, leaves, rocks, etc.
Finding the Links
This game is for two or more players: One person chooses two words without any obvious connection—for example, “dog” and “macaroni.” The other players have to come up with ways to link those words, such as “My dog loves macaroni” or “I feed macaroni to my dog.”
Finding the Word That Doesn’t Fit
In this game, one person comes up with a list of three words, only two of which are related—for example, “apple,” “banana” and “peanut.” The others have to explain why the one word doesn’t fit: “Apples and bananas are fruits; peanuts aren’t.”
Becoming a Thesaurus
This game is good for older kids and can be played with a timer. Pick a word —”happy,” for example. Then set the timer for 20 seconds and have everyone come up with as many synonyms as possible: “glad,” “pleased,” “delighted,” etc.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.