Make Early Learning Fun
Want playtime to pay off? We've got 16 fun educational games that'll set your tot up for success in preschool, kindergarten, and beyond.
Number match: Ages 3 to 5
Divide 20 index cards into two sets of ten. On the first set, write the numbers 1 to 10 or make numbers your child can trace. Then help him with the second set: Put one sticker on a card to match up with the card that has the number 1, and so on. Lay the cards out faceup, and challenge your child to make matches. Once he's got that down, turn the cards over to play a traditional game of memory. You'll both get a right-brain workout, and he'll master counting.
Silly songs: Ages 2 to 3
Tell her that you're having trouble remembering the right words to a song she knows. Can she help? Then sing a familiar song incorrectly by changing one word; for example: “Mary had a little worm.” Wait for your child to laugh and correct you. The next step is distinguishing sounds in words. Play the game with rhyming words: “Mary had a little bam.”
Think inside the box: Ages 3 to 5
Most preschoolers can “read” the name of their favorite cereal, notes Malia Hollowell, a kindergarten teacher who blogs at playdoughtoplato.com. Decorate a shoebox to make a “Words I can read!” box. Hunt for words in the pantry and toy chest. In the car, watch for names of stores and restaurants your child likes. Cut out or write words on cards to add to his collection.