Letter Recognition and words are one of the first concepts children learn when starting school. Letter recognition can be perfected by singing the Alphabet song, reading books, watching educational shows, and by simply playing with letters. Children often become familiar with words by reading, spelling, playing word games, etc.
My son and I have used all the methods mentioned above to get him familiar with letters and words. This time we decided to do something different. We created a fun activity called the Blindfold Alphabet and Word Game.
This game starts out easy with letter recognition but then gets harder with spelling words. The unique part of this game is that you have to identify letters and words with a blindfold.
We had so much fun playing this game. There was a lot of laughter during this activity. This game is a great way to reinforce letter recognition, how letters are formed (which is beneficial for handwriting skills) phonics, and spelling.
My son and I made a video of us playing the Blindfold Alphabet and Word Game. We had a friendly competition. You will see us having fun while learning. Watch the video below to see who won the game. Have your children participate while watching by identifying the letters and words with us.
As parents, one of the first life skills we teach our children is to clean up. Whenone has a clean environment, they tend to think and feel better. Ensuring that a child cleans up after playing can be a challenge for some parents and kids. Therefore, I have created six games that will make clean up time fun for toddlers.
Let’s Get Started!
Create an “Eat Monster” with bags or bins. Let your child pretend the bags or bins are eating toys or whatever needs to be cleaned up. Below is how we played…
Make a mouth out of the opening of a box or bag you would like the toys to go.
Pretend the box or bag is hungry and wants to eat the toys.
If you have a bag, use your hand to open and close the opening with your hands.
If you have a bin with a lid, move the lid up and down to represent the monster’s mouth.
While your child is picking up the toys, the monster should say, “I AM HUNGRY AND I NEED TOYS TO EAT!”
Your child will hurry to put the toys in the monster’s month.
They will most likely have fun and laugh during this activity.
Create a Slide
If you have toys that belong in a bag or bin, get curled paper, newspaper, cardboard (folded), or poster card and place it in the bag or bin.
If you have a bigger bag or bin, it would be better to use newspaper, cardboard, or poster board.
Have your child put the toys at the top of the bag or bin and slide it down the paper, newspaper, cardboard, or poster board.
Race Against the Count or Clock
Tell your child they have a certain amount of time to clean up. Challenge them to beat the clock!
Tell your child they have 55 seconds to clean up their blocks
Count to 55 and see if your child has beaten the clock or the count.
Count in different languages if you are teaching your child to be bilingual.
If you see your child struggling to complete the task, count a little slower to give them a better chance to win.
You may also help your child clean up, so both of you are racing against the count or clock.
Race Against Each Other
Most of us want our houses or rooms to be neat and tidy, why not make it a friendly competition?
Start the race by grabbing a toy.
Tell your child to say, “Ready, set, go!”
Both of you will hurry to clean up the room.
The person who cleans up their area first, wins!
Many times while cleaning up, we have certain bins, bags, or places we want toys to go. Why not expose or reinforce sorting during this activity?
While your child is putting toys in certain places, identify what is similar about those items.
In our household, we have something called “Creative Time.” This is when my son chooses an activity or a game he and I can play. This is my time to follow his lead in whatever creative project he wants to do.
This time, he pulled out his bowling game and said, “Let’s play!”
While playing the game we incorporated addition so my son could practice his math skills. If your child is not doing addition yet, use this game to practice counting and number recognition. Like all games we play, we had a blast!
I have always admired people, young and old, who can play the game of Chess. Throughout my life, I have heard the many benefits of playing this strategic game. Also, people who play Chess seem intelligent to me.
Honestly, I have tried three times to learn chess and failed. It was the time and energy it took to learn the name of the pieces and how they moved. I would read or watch online videos about the game and eventually become bored.
The idea of tackling Chess again came from my mother. One of her gifts for my son’s third Christmas was a Chess game. It was the same cycle again.
I read the book that came with the game she gave my son and I got bored. Additionally, I thought my son was too young to learn the game. However, in the back of my mind, I knew Chess would be a game that he would like because it challenges the brain.
My Bright Idea
My decision was to wait until he got a little older to introduce him to the game.
My future plan was to take him to some type of community program that would teach him how to play Chess. Then, maybe I would learn through him. This was a win-win situation!
It wasn’t until one night while skimming Facebook, I saw an advertisement for Story Time Chess.After seeing the advertisement’s picture of young kids playing chess with their parents, I wanted to learn more. On the website, I saw these words, “A revolutionary new game that lets you teach your child how to play chess as young as the age of 3!”
It is revolutionary because it teaches kids to play through fun stories with colorful diverse characters instead of rules. Each piece has a story about how it moves. Each piece holds a character’s picture from their story which allows children to visually connect it to the chess board and understand how to play.
Another helpful aspect of Story Time Chessis each story is concluded with a mini game that reinforces how the pieces move.
We love it! My four-year-old son and I learned how to play chess within a week and a half of opening the game! He was highly motivated to learn because of the engaging stories and pieces in the game. We currently play almost daily. Sometimes, he wins and other times I am the victor.
Watch the two videos below of my son and I playing chess. The first video is footage of us playing a game. The second one shows my son winning against me in the game of Chess.
Below I will answer frequently asked questions parents have about Chess. It will be through the lens of our experience.
What age can a child learn chess?
The programs that I have researched in my local area start teaching kids chess at the age of seven. However, I have seen kids learn chess as young as five-years-old. My son learned how to play through Story Time Chess as a four-year-old. However, if I’d known about this game earlier, our starting age would have been three.
If your kids love fun engaging stories with colorful characters, they can learn at an early age.
What is the easiest way to play chess?
Of course you know the easiest way for us to play chess was to learn through Story Time Chess. We learned how the pieces moved in this order: king, pawns, knights, rooks, bishops, and queen. There were mini games at the end of each story that gave us a hands-on perspective on how each piece moved.
The best way to learn is be consistent with playing. It is important to learn the basic steps first and then take it a step further by learning various strategies.
We play daily which helps to hone our skills and learn new strategies.
What Chess teaches?
Chess teaches children so many important skills. I will concentrate on three skills below.
Chess teaches kids problem solving skills. During our games, my son spends time concentrating on how to keep his king safe while capturing mine. I can see him thinking about and planning his next move.
It also increases your child’s creatively. There is one piece my son loves to use when capturing my king. When I take that piece away from him, he has to be creative and think outside the box to win the game.
Chess has improved my son’s memory and observation skills. I use a particular strategy to win games against him. One day, I noticed he began to remember my first three moves while playing. He told me what the moves were and asked why I always did that. Then he developed some strategy to counter my moves. Amazing!
One day my son came home from daycare with DIY Slime. He could not wait to show it off after he greeted me with a kiss and hug. It was in a yellow container and sparkled with glitter.
We decided to take the slime out the container to play with it. It was sticky, slimly, ooey, gooey, and fun to play with. We smashed and constructed it in to various shapes.
About 30 minutes before dinner, we decided to make up an activity called the Slime Time Game. The game is simple and will encourage your child to think on their feet while being creative. This is a great indoor activity for rainy and cold days. Below I will explain how to play.
I am a full-time working mom who occasionally rushes in the morning. There is so much to do such as packing my three-year-old’s lunch and snacks, exercise, get myself and son dressed, and so much more.
When I am in a hurry, it does not transfer well to my son. He is probably thinking, “Why do I have to do everything so fast?”
One way I have solved this problem is by getting up earlier and playing games to lighten our morning routine.
Below are some of the games we play…
Stop (Freeze) and Dance
Have your child dance in between self-care activities. Below are examples…
DANCE to the bathroom then STOP to use the toilet.
Do a little DANCE to the sink then STOP to wash hands.
DANCE while at the sink.
STOP when they have to brush their teeth.
My son loves this game. It helps him to get dressed faster. When he STOPS, it provides an opportunity to focus on his self-care activity. Plus, this game encourages us to laugh in the morning.
Race against the Clock
Tell your child they have a certain amount of time to do a task. Then challenge them to beat the clock!
Tell your child they have 45 seconds to take off their pajamas.
Count to 45 and see if your child has beaten the clock.
Count in different languages if you are teaching your child to be bilingual.
If you see your child struggling with a task, count a little slower to give them a better chance to win.
You may also help your child with the task, so both of you are racing against the clock.
This is a fun and educational game in the morning. For young children, it is a great time to practice counting. Once your child becomes more efficient in a self-care task, they will complete it faster. My son really concentrates during this activity because he wants to beat the clock and he is competitive!
Chant to put clothes in hamper or wherever they belong
Say a chant to encourage your child to put clothes in the hamper
Our chant is “Shirt, pants, underwear, and socks in the basket!”
We repeat this chant loud while marching from the bathroom to the bedroom.
This is a great way to incorporate song and movement in the mornings! The repetition in the chant helps the child to concentrate on one task at a time without getting distracted. Sometimes, we will clap and stomp our feet to make the chant more musical.
Storytime to keep child still while brushing their hair or putting on lotion
Tell a quick story that will interest your child and keep them still.
I usually tell silly stories about skunks, elephants, cartoon characters, and cars.
Create child friendly stories that will keep their attention.
After dancing and chanting, my son usually wants to move around. In order to settle him, I tell a story that interests him. He likes stories where a problem is being solved. Sometimes, I will ask him to fill in the story details to ensure he is paying attention. This is a great activity to help your child listen, focus, and use their imagination.
Race Against You
You and your child have to put your shoes on before going out the door, right? Why not make it a friendly competition?
We start the race by grabbing our shoes.
My son says “Ready, set, go!”
Then we both hurry to put our shoes on.
The person to put their shoes on first, wins!
This is another friendly game that gets my son moving in the mornings. Sometimes, I forget to mention this game before putting our shoes on. However, he does not let me forget and reminds me every time!
Another Chant to Move Things Along
We say a catchy chant to go downstairs or to get dressed.
Our chant is “LET’S GO FLOW JOE, LET’S GO!”
We repeat this chant to help us get things done in the morning!
This chant is a reminder to us both that there is a certain task we need to complete. It helps us get finish quickly and more efficiently. We are definitely more focused when it is time for this chant!
Incorporate these games in the morning and make it a fun time! It has definitely help us to lighten our morning routine!
Happy Morning Play!
What are some tactics used in your household in the mornings?
April is financial literacy month. I wanted to start the month off by giving you fun and simple financial literacy activities to do with young children.
Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said when you are an adult your report card is your credit score. This is one reason why teaching kids financial literacy is so important. Once a child becomes an adult, handling money becomes inevitable. So, let’sstrive to build an early foundation for our children!