Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Along with my plug on painting the other day, I also wanted to post about playing games with preschoolers. If you didn't know, I was an early childhood education major, and had lots of training in child development (part of the reason why I was so adamant last year about Little Monkey not hitting milestones...I knew something was off).

Playing games with children is a big part of teaching them many skills. Taking turns, being a good sport, and learning to deal with defeat are all big parts of growing up in a competitive society. Competition certainly isn't everything, and we downplay who "wins" and who "loses" as much as possible, but it IS a reality.

Although we have many many other games, these are a few that we brought to the "rental" house and use on a daily/weekly basis, both with Snug and the other Draycare kids. Looking for an upcoming birthday present? Know a preschooler who loves games? Going garage sale-ing this spring (a great place to find games, just check that the pieces are all present)? Check out these favorites at our house. I included links to as I didn't feel like looking up each individual toy store to see who stocked them. Besides, many of these games can be bought used at a fraction of the original price!

This game is a classic. I love that four kids can play at the same time and it still goes quickly. You can purchase it or learn more here.
Players start with cherries on their tree and spin to see if they get to pick cherries to put in their bucket, or put cherries back on the tree because the dog or bird got them. Watch out though, a "spill" spin makes you start all over again!
This game teaches taking turns, fine motor skills, early one-to-one counting, and being a good sport.

Fisher Price makes fantastic kids games. This one is a favorite at our house. You can view it/purchase it here.

Matchin' Middles is good for us because the "big" kids can play it but if Little Monkey gets a hold of it, not a problem! The pieces are all big enough that they can't hurt him. Actually, we often put him in his highchair WITH this game while we play a different one. He loves to take the pieces in and out of the plastic (very durable) box.

As with most of the Fisher Price games, there are two ways to play. One is for beginning players which is just simply matching the shapes and getting the cookies together (taking turns, fine motor skills, puzzle skills). I find that although this game says "3+" kids as young as 2 can play.

The second version is like "Memory" where all the "frosting" cookies are laid upside down on one side and the "cookie only" sides on the other in a grid pattern. The kids get to take turns turning over two cookies and seeing if they have a match.

Snug got this game for Christmas from #1's parents. We have been playing it ever since. I am frankly getting a tad tired of playing it, he loves it that much. Beware if you visit my house, you may also play it a time or two ten. However, it is a really cute game that I would highly recommend. You can check it out here.

This game is a twist on the classic UNO game for little players. There are 5 colors and six animals, along with a farmer. The white farmer is the "wild" piece. This game promotes taking turns, being a good sport, color and animal matching, and making independent decisions. The skunk is the "Draw 2" which always makes Snug laugh...probably because he always plays them on ME!

Snug got "Memory" from my parents for Christmas. I love this version that you can purchase here because the pictures are very simple. There are some cute versions out there with various cartoon characters, but after playing those with Snug other places, I decided SIMPLE pictures were best to teach the game. One thing I don't like about this game is that Little M (from Draycare) beats the pants off me most of the time-he is GOOD! I am the adult...shouldn't I at least have a fighting chance????

This game teaches memory skills, along with taking turns and playing fair. Because there are so many cards, I found that breaking the game into two sections works best (I am playing with a 3 and a 4 year old most of the time) so they don't lose interest partway through. Sometimes we play with the cards in the green organizer, sometimes with the ones in the plastic bag.

This last game is kinda a tease because it was sold by "Discovery Toys" back in the 80's and I couldn't find it on Amazon. there is one for sale on E-bay. I included it though because you just might see it at a garage sale and need to buy it!

"Oh Rats!" is a puzzle game that promotes color recognition, fine motor skills, taking turns, and spatial awareness. Snug will play it over and over again. My online friend Lindsley sells Discovery Toys and they have great stuff. Her blog is in the process of being made private, so if you would like to get a hold of her, let me know! I can contact her and give her your information.
What games do you/did you like to play with YOUR preschoolers? Please leave me a comment and let me know, I'm always up for new favorites!

**I was in no way compensated for this post, these are simply games that my child/my daycare kids enjoy playing.


Jenilee said...

I've never even seen a few of those games!!! Thanks for posting about them. The matching middles one looks like fun. :)

Cop Mama said...

I like the matching middles one! That would work for both of my boys.

mrs. fuzz said...

I"ve never seen the matching middles one or the UNO one in my life! I like that matching middles one though. A lot! Very cool.

jediwife said...

I found your blog through MrsFuzz, and I love all your mommy advice!

Anonymous said...

We just bought the Uno Moo for our oldest as her 'present' on our youngest's'm not a fan of it, but it keeps her from feeling left out...but anyway, it's great and fun! Also, Walmart has the Garanimals brand clothing, but now they make games and toys too...and the games are only $5! They have alphabet matching(you have to match the picture to the letter it starts with), a numbers game (match the picture again), memory, and one or two more that we didn't get for our 2 year're all great! I also wanted to add Chutes and ladders is a great game too....even if it is just for the sheer joy of playing and making your person do 'flips' while sliding.... ;) Great post Jenney!