Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, Shake! Shake! Shake!…try these great games to teach your child about colours, textures, opposites and more!
By Amita Bhardwaj
There is no better way for a toddler to learn new skills than through play. In fact, choosing the right games to play with your toddler can go a long way in boosting their skills, be it physical, emotional or cognitive. All you have to do is to remember to layer the activities with interaction and imaginative play. Here are 10 fun activities to choose from. Developmental play couldn’t be more fun!
Activity 1: Shake! Shake! Shake!
(Helpful for development of auditory skills)
All you need to do is to take some empty plastic bottles and add a variety of things, such as dried rice, beans, sand or pebbles to it. Ensure that the cap is tightly secured. For extra security, cover the caps with masking tape. It will be a sensory delight for you to see the child exploring the different sounds made by the shakers.
To add even more fun, sing the following song and have the child also learn some opposites along the way:
Shake it high (hold the bottle overhead), Shake it low (hold the bottle by the feet), Shake it, shake it, shake it, Watch us go (shake it as you turn around) Repeat the song replacing high/low with fast/slow and front/back.
Activity 2: Touch and Feel Time
(Helpful for development of tactile perception)
Bring in different touch and feel books and encourage children to touch and feel different textures. You could also read the words associated with the picture and the texture alongside and have the child register not just the different textures but also their names.
Activity 3: Fun with Sounds
(Helpful for development of gross motor skills)
It is a delight to see the kids take to this activity with aplomb. With this activity you could be teaching the child gross motor skills while having a whole lot of fun with sounds. Take turns to clap your hands, snap your fingers and tap your feet and encourage the child to follow you. The giggles that follow are an added perk!
Activity 4: Stacking
(Helpful for development of motor skills)
This one not only keeps the child entertained but also helps develop the child’s motor skills by way of enhancing the finger grip. Simply provide the child with some colourful stacking rings while encouraging them to remove the rings and try and place them back. Calling out the colours as they place each ring can also help them in the colour recognition process.
Activity 5: Simon Says
(Helpful for development of ability to follow instructions)
Teaching body parts or any other such lessons need not be a tedious, boring exercise. With Simon Says, touch your toes or shake your fingers; you are teaching them body parts all right, but also teaching them how to follow simple instructions. A few funny commands such as jump like a frog, can go a long way in keeping the interest alive for a long time.
Activity 6: For You and Me
(Helpful for development of sharing instincts)
Put together a pile of objects and ask the toddler to distribute them between you and him. Saying “For you and me” as he goes about the distribution will help reinforce the message of sharing. Next time around when you see him spreading the message amongst his friends, you couldn’t be more proud!
Activity 7: Obstacle Course
(Helpful for development of co-ordination and balance)
Set up a fun and safe obstacle course and get your child practice co-ordination and balance as he goes over, under and around objects with ease.
Activity 8: Puzzle Solving
(Helpful for development of cognitive skills)
Set up some age appropriate puzzles and see the child’s cognitive skills take a huge upswing. Besides developing the child’s problem solving skills, puzzles also go a long way in developing patience. Additionally the appreciation that they get from you helps develop their confidence. Remember to praise the child for the effort though and not just for the outcome!
Activity 9: Spotting the Odd One
(Helpful for development of cognitive skills)
Lining up a series of similar looking objects with one odd one out and asking the child to spot it, will aid the cognitive process. Use blocks, flashcards and more to make the game engaging!
Activity 10: Red Light, Green Light
(Helpful for development of self-control)
Set up a game where the child does a set of activities, be it dance, jump or draw when you say “Green Light” and stops the activities the moment the command changes to “Red Light”. That it will help the child develop self-control and learn to follow instructions without getting impatient, is a given! Don’t you wish all the impatient drivers on the road had played this game as kids?
(The writer is Director-Curriculum with Footprints Childcare, a national Play School & Day Care chain.)