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.
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 stopping...as would be expected at this highly active age!
Taking big, careful steps while counting each aloud.
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.
"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?