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Posts tagged ‘games’

Car games for a road trip

Summer is the best time to go on a road trip!  I am planning my first cross-country road trip and I am very excited! My husband and I have been on a few mini road-trips, usually a 5-hour drive. But even though I get all excited about it, after 2 hours, it can get really BORING! So, I usually start a game.

Car games can really help your child with vocabulary, (even in another language), memory and attention skills. In addition, it keeps them occupied in something else other than asking, Are we there yet?!

Here are some of my favorite car games! (I am not sure if these games have real names, so I am making some of them up!)

  1. Name what you see in alphabetical order– Name what you see with letter A (airplane) and then the next person has to name what you said with A and then something with B. Every person starts at the beginning naming everything starting from A. This helps with vocabulary and memory skills.
  2. I spy (ok , this is its real name!) – “I spy something that begins with (the initial letter)”. Helpful for vocabulary and literacy skills.
  3. 20 questions– One person thinks about an object, a person or an animal. The rest of the group asks up to 20 yes/no questions to try and figure out what it is. Helps build language skills.
  4. License Plates (love this one!)- Point to the cars with license plates that start with each one of the letters of the alphabet, in order. (This can take a long time!). Helps learn the alphabet, literacy skills and attention skills.
  5. Counting objects– Choose and object (except cars!) and see how many you can find for a certain period of time. Helps with math skills!
  6. Alphabet country/city– Name countries and/or cities with the chosen letter. This helps with geography!
  7. Cloud shapes – Look at the clouds and see if they make any shape. Helps with creativity and imagination.
  8. Story-making– One person starts with a sentence (“Once upon a time in Rome…”) and each person keeps adding to the story. See what crazy stuff your kids come up with! This is a great activity to develop language and literacy skills.
  9. Colored cars– Each person picks a color. You get one point every time a car with that color passes by. Helps with vocabulary and attention skills.

 As you read this post, I will be on the road! I am going to have so much fun playing these games! I need to increase my vocabulary!

Have you played any of these games? Do you have more to add to the list?

photo: iStock


Summer ideas for at-home entertainment!

Summer in the northern hemisphere officially starts with the summer solstice on June 21st. But here in the US, we feel is summertime right after Memorial Day. I love summer! For me, is the time to relax, have fun, and go to the beach! But for many parents, summer means that kids are at home and the question many parents ask themselves is…What are we going to do this summer with the kids? Depending where you live your children might be home, right now, or in just a few weeks! Yikes!

So, what’s there to do with the children during the summer vacation? Of course, there’s always the traditional summer camps (I never went to one, so I can’t talk about that experience; I’ll research). But if you are at home with the kids, it can be tricky (and costly!) to find things to do to entertain them that won’t make you (or them) go crazy or bankrupt! So here are some ideas of fun, cheap entertaining things to do with your kids this summer!

  1. Cooking- I know it can get messy, but researching for the BEST recipe, getting the ingredients and doing all the cooking can take a few hours! If you do it at least twice a week, that can save you some time. Plus, you have to eat anyway!
  2. Arts & Crafts– Again, another messy situation. But, you can set a space just for this kind of activity. Crafting can help kids explore their creativity! Who knows what kind of masterpiece they’ll come up with? All you need is some paper, colored pencils, glue, stickers and a few other crafts to make it more special. Find things around the home to use! (here’s a link to a cute craft idea!) 
  3. Father’s day homemade cards– No need to explain! Have fun!
  4. Dance competition- Get some friends/cousins/neighbors and have a dance competition. This can last for hours! But between planning the rules, the judges, the outfit, and the songs, that can take a few days! You can also have a competition for sports, crafts and singing! The important thing is to have fun, not to win.
  5. Game night– Well, I guess I had to add this because I love board games. They are fun! If board games are too retro for your kids, and you have a Wii, then have a Wii challenge!
  6. Sleep-overs– This is great because if your child has 3-4 friends, and they each sponsor a sleepover, that’s a few days of kid-free time for you to recharge for the next adventure!

Whatever you decide to do, what’s important is that you spend time together as family [with the exception of the sleepover ;0)]. These activities help the children, with their creativity, motor and social-emotional skills.

Are there any other activities you would add? Share with us, so that I can add it to my list!


photo: iStock

Learning through Play

We all know that children play for fun. But the truth is that as they play they are learning. When children play they use their senses-touch, taste (not appropriate at times, but what can we do?), sight, hearing and smell- and that’s how they learn about their surroundings.

Play can stimulate children’s intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. Also, through play they practice and repeat. This is an important way to make neural pathways stronger, making things more automatic, learning skills better.

Play also helps increase attention and focus, social-emotional skills (when they play with other children), and even problem-solving techniques (especially when they play by themselves). But parents and caregivers should also be involved in the child’s play to help with language, motor skills, and self-esteem.
Here are some ideas for you to be involved in your child’ s play:
1)      Observe the child. What are his/her interests? What kinds of toys does he/she like? This way you will provide with more opportunities to play with certain activities or objects they are already interested in. The more motivated they are, the more attention they will pay and more learning will occur.
2)      Once a day or more, sit down and play with your child. Ask them, What do you want me to do? Follow their game! Don’t do things for them or try to “fix” it. They are trying to figure things out for themselves. Let them!
3)      Talk while you play! Don’t tell them what to do, but you can describe what you are doing as you do it. Use appropriate sentences for their ages. I am not suggesting you use baby talk to your 3 year old, but use short sentences that are appropriate for what they are learning. That way they are learning more vocabulary and practicing conversational skills.
Some ideas of games appropriate for different ages:
1)      Babies- play peekaboo; provide many opportunities to feel and hear different textures and sounds.
2)      Toddlers-pretend play. Have a castle? Pretend there is a prince, a princess and dragons! Have a car? Pretend you are driving around town, what do you see?
3)      Preschooler-read books, look at pictures, draw your own pictures, or dance. At this age we need lots of eye-hand coordination and motor movements.
4)      Elementary school age-play games with rules (board games, video games, physical games like “tag”)
5)      9-12 years old- focus on more structured play, like sports.

I think I am still in my elementary school age stage! I love board games! Who doesn’t love a good game of Pictionary?

What is your favorite kind of game to play?