Friday, September 30, 2011

Classic Game Week!

Along with some new Montessori works Tyler has started that I'll talk about in another post, we also make it "Classic Game Week" in our home. It's been so much fun teaching Tyler the games that so many generations of children have grown-up with, including of course, ourselves! It seems that just like Mother Goose, these games are starting to lose popularity (did you know that it's not uncommon for children to enter Preschool or even Kindergarten never having been introduced to finger plays or nursery rhymes?!). I'm not sure if it's the growing issue of kids with too much screen/sedentary time and or if parents have just forgotten why these things are so important for the developing child, but it's quite sad to see.

All of the games that we played this week worked on important toddler skills such as following directions, socialization skills, body control and awareness, counting, and listening skills. Seeing that Tyler is only 25 months old, we simplified the games so that he could be successful, and we will move on to the full, traditional version of each game when he's ready.

To "teach" Tyler each game, my husband I would play them together, making big dramatic movements while he watched. He would naturally start to join in after a while or we would ask him if he wanted to play too. Observing what we were doing really seemed to help his understanding.

"Musical Chairs"

For the toddler version of musical chairs, we used just as many chairs and they were people rather than taking a chair away and making someone be "out". We walked around the chairs in a circle, my husband or I paused the music which was close by, and we all sat down until one of us started the music again. This quickly became Tyler's favorite!

First day, learning the rules and listening closely for the music to start again.

By the second day, Ty understood the rules and did very well!

Ty is so excited to play this that he now runs to set-up the chairs himself!

"What Time is it Mr. Fox?"

Though he "got it" at times, this game has been the trickiest for Tyler. My husband or I would stand on one end of the room to act as the fox, while the other walked with Tyler to act as a model. The walker would ask "What time is it Mr. Fox?" and the "fox" would give a number such as "Three O'Clock!". Ty was to then take three steps and stop until asking the fox about the time once more. This would go on until Tyler reached whomever was the fox. He was great at counting steps aloud as he took them, but his problem sometimes lay in would be expected at this highly active age!

Taking big, careful steps while counting each aloud.

"Simon Says"

I've played this copy-cat game once or twice before with Tyler in short bursts, but it was more fun to play as a family. Typically the person you are copying will occasionally leave out the word "Simon", saying something like "jump up and down" rather than "Simon says jump and down" and anyone who jumps would be out. We left that part out for now, making it and easy but fun copying game. I have a feeling we'll be able to play the full version soon!

"Simon says touch your toes!"
   "Simon says put a balloon on your head!"        "Simon says stomp your feet!"

"Red Light, Green Light"

For this game I created a sign with a green "go" on one side and a red "stop" sign on the other and attached it to a popsicle stick. I showed Tyler each side and talked to him about what they meant. After my husband demonstrated and worked along side Ty on the concept, he stood back to take pictures for me. Ty did really well with "go" and as expected had some troubles following the direction to "stop" at times. I find this game especially important for those moments when your toddler may be about to cross the road or do something dangerous so that yelling "stop!" may have a more guaranteed result.

Doing well following directions and looking at the sign for guidance. 

Sometimes it was easier to stop than others!

"Hide and Seek"

I probably don't have to really explain this game to anyone! First we created some hiding places in our living room by pulling the couch away from the wall, putting a blanket over the kitchen table and keeping the closet door open. We decided to stick to one room rather than hiding all over the house to decrease frustration. Either my husband and I would hang out in the play room with Tyler and count to twenty with Ty (he is counting to nineteen now but sometimes skips 15-17 so this was also good practice) while the other hid. Ty and his "helper" would then search around the room looking for the missing person until they were found. After a while we tried to see if Ty would hide by himself while we counted, but he always came to find us so he could count too!

Found you Daddy!                                Found you too, Mama!

We've repeated these games throughout the week and will keep practicing whenever Tyler wishes to participate. We've had so much fun as a family and it feels great to know how many vital skills Ty is picking-up as we play!

What were your favorite games as a child? What games do you and your child enjoy playing together?


  1. I love this post! It is very sad see kids not knowing these things anymore. I think many adults in our generation just see it as old-fashioned and do not truly understand the importance. I love Duck, Duck, Goose!

  2. Yes, Duck, Duck Goose! See, I had almost forgotten about that one! :)

  3. It's beautiful to see this... To many things are disappearing now, I have five kids and they always are asking me what they can do... When I was a kid we never asked what we could do we just played all the time one game or another,,, I forgot that these things need to be taught just like everything else lol... I will make a vow to do just that so my kids can learn to be more creative and you never know maybe make up their own games to share :D

  4. Thanks for the post- I've been looking for new ideas for my just-turned-two year old. She plays with blocks and colors and likes books, but I want to add some new stuff into her routine. I'm excited for musical chairs most of all! -Emily

  5. Thanks so much! I'm a school PT and I am always looking for "new" games. I play simon says and red light green light a lot. Sad, but many kids don't know these games. I would love to play more of these sorts of games... I even play itsy bitsy spider sometimes because kids have such a hard time with the finger movements!

  6. I also remember playing Red Rover, Dodgeball, and lots of Kickball! We were always outside playing, no computer games!