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.
Total recall: Ages 4 to 5
Read her a story, telling her to listen very carefully. Then see if she can re-create it with her stuffed animals or puppets. Another version: Read a book without letting her look at the pictures. When you finish, give her a few sheets of paper and ask her to draw her own pictures. Then compare them to the ones in the book.
The touch bag: Ages 1 to 3
Collect items from nature—a flower, a stick, a rock, a feather, a leaf—and put them in a bag. Have your child feel each item to guess what it is. Once she pulls it out, ask questions: How long do you think it hung on the tree? What animals did it see?
Alphabet store: Ages 2 to 5
Appeal to kids who love imaginary fun with this twist on playing store. Go through magazines with your child, helping her spot and cut out big capital letters. Tape the letters to a bunch of small containers or empty food boxes. Hand her a grocery or tote bag, lay out the containers, and have her shop for letters. Afterward, it's her turn to be store manager, helping you find the letters you want to buy. Once that's easy, you can start naming what you want to buy, asking her to find the letter that “broccoli” or “swiss cheese” starts with. “Many young kids love to go shopping, so this one is usually a hit,” says developmental psychologist Betty Bardige, Ed.D., coauthor of Your Child at Play.