BY ROBIN WHITE ELLIS
Surely, most parents agree that playing with your child results in a special kind of bonding that is hard to beat! With each game and interaction, your child learns and grows, gaining skills for the future. Experts agree that children learn best when having fun. Don’t we all? Many parents choose to consistently let their child win, but that can actually hinder their advancement. Children need to learn the skills of both winning and losing gracefully. A child who is a good sport will be able to get along better with their peers and future educators. With that in mind, choosing some of the following games can assist your little one’s advancement while they still have a pleasurable time.
Roll and Play Board Game—This game is designed for ages eighteen months and up. Yes, even your toddler can get in on the board game experience! The game involves matching colors and following instructions. It will prompt your child to perform a silly dance or roar like a lion while developing their skills at the same time.
Zingo—A bingo-like game made for ages three and up. There are nine spaces on every card, and each space must be covered to win. The benefits to this game involve matching pictures to text, which will become more familiar to your child with each play session.
Hi Ho Cherry-O—This game is also recommended for ages three and up. It is a short game that assists with fine motor development and color recognition. The only problem with this game could be the small pieces that are easy to lose.
Bug Trails—Recommended for ages five and up, this game is rather like Dominos with a twist. Your child will learn strategy when pondering which matching piece to place next to another. It requires them to think a step ahead in anticipation of their next move.
Uno—A classic card game recommended for preschoolers to age nine, although most adults still enjoy it! There are multiple versions of this game, which is helpful with aging the process up or down, depending on the age of your child. Uno teaches the all-important skill of paying attention, as well as reinforces colors, numbers and patterns. Older children gain strides in logic, reasoning and strategy.
Where is Sock Monkey?—For preschoolers to elementary-school-age children, this game is a cross between Clue and Twenty Questions. It teaches the importance of asking astute questions, as well as listening and following directions. Putting the clues together helps to gain a level of deductive reasoning and paying attention to leading facts.
I Spy Ready to Read—Based on the I Spy books; this is technically five games in one, geared toward ages four through six. The possible skills gained include matching, visual skills and letter recognition. The game is based on rhymes, which teaches language structure by hearing the syllables spoken lyrically.
Monopoly—We couldn’t possibly leave the tried-and-true Monopoly off the list! Recommended for ages eight and up, this game is chock full of financial gems of wisdom. As children get older, they will recognize the benefits of budgeting, saving and adapting when things shift dramatically. It is a lesson in financial planning, wrapped up in a fun evening.
Rory’s Story Cubes—For ages eight and up, this is a game that does not involve winning. It is inexpensive and spurs the imagination by creating stories.
Some of my favorite memories involve playing checkers with my grandfather. He taught me at a very young age and never let me win, yet taught me the finer techniques to become a better player. Of course, I had no idea at the time that he was teaching me these things. I was simply ecstatic to spend time with him as he never failed to make me feel special and adored. Now, I look back and realize that during those moments, I was learning to lose gracefully and try harder. My grandfather is a wise, kind, loving soul and spending that time with him is a treasured memory. Take that time with your children and be amazed at the blossoming of their minds and your relationship!