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Smart Learning Games

Mind and body games

From Fit by Five Preschool, Westlake, OH

Knock 'em down, count 'em up

  • Set up a bowling alley in your hallway with six empty water bottles and a tennis ball.
  • Have your child help you arrange the pins in a triangle, and count them out loud together as you stand them up.
  • After he rolls the ball, ask him, "How many pins did you knock down?" Then count together how many pins are still standing.
  • Set them back up and let him roll and count over and over.

The hidden lessons: He's honing his hand-eye coordination and learning principles of addition and subtraction.


Feelings fling

  • Working together, draw happy, sad, mad, surprised, and silly faces on separate pieces of paper.
  • Make beanbags by filling up socks with dried beans and tying them tightly (the beans can be a choking hazard).
  • Spread the faces on the floor.
  • Ask your child things like "How do you feel on your birthday?" or "What does it feel like when your sister takes your toy?"
  • Have her toss the beanbags to the face that matches her feelings.
  • Let her ask you things.

The hidden lessons: She's learning to put names to feelings, as well as practicing her throwing skills and using her writing hand.

Balancing act

  • Form straight, zigzag, bent, or curved lines on the floor using long strips of colored masking tape. Then come up with fun and interesting challenges like: "Walk along the straight line"
  • "Walk on your tiptoes on the zigzag line"
  • "Now, take three giant steps backward on the curved line"
  • See how many crazy combinations you both can come up with.

The hidden lessons: Her body is focused on balance and coordination while her brain is concentrating on following a multifaceted direction - abilities that will take her far, whether she's listening to her teacher, piecing together a Lego set, or doing her first wobbly pli¿¿s at ballet class.