The most challenging aspect of my life these days is to keep my little one occupied. With such little attention span, my daughter drives me crazy with her question, “What should I do next Mumma”. Coming up with a new idea every 5-10 minutes isn’t easy, especially when you are already exhausted after a tough and busy day. Sometimes storytelling does the trick, but often I am too worn out to tell a tale. Believe me, telling a story about a cobweb or the doorknob isn’t a walk in the park.
Oh! Did you just say you are sailing in the same boat? Well, I have found a solution to this problem. We play little verbal games, amalgamating fun, learning, and language building skills.
There are days when I promise her umpteen times to play as soon as I finish work, but the work never completes. She comes numerous times to shut down my laptop. And when I finally put work aside, I am too exhausted to play running around the house. My girl on the other hand is full of energy and is too bored with the board games.
Verbal games come to my rescue in those situations. For my chit-chatter, these are pure bliss. You can tweak them a bit to your little one’s age and understanding. Read on to know about the enjoyable learning conversations:
The Number Chain:
The simplest of them all; we just say numbers in ascending order. Both the players repeat a number and then the next number is said. A player breaks the chain if he says the adjacent number when the previous number isn’t named twice.
See the below example to understand it better:
Player 1: 1
Player 2: 1
Player 1: 2
Player 2: 2
Player 1: 3
Player 2: 4 According to the rules of the game, Player 2 broke the chain.
Other variations of the game include saying numbers in the following sequence:
Player 1: 1
Player 2: 2
Player 1: 2
Player 2: 3
Player 1: 3
Player 2: 4
Player 1: 5 According to the rules of the game, Player 1 broke the chain.
Skills learned: Numbers, concentration
You may form any number chains to keep your child busy.
This is another number game to teach kids a lot beyond numbers. As it clear from the name ‘how many’, you ask questions related to a count of a thing. Instead of the usual questions- the number of eyes, hands, nose, wheels on the car, bicycle, etc; I would suggest you be a little creative. For instance, ask questions like:
- how many legs of an octopus,
- how many planets in the solar system,
- how many spokes on a national flag
- how many vehicles can you name with four wheels
- how many pencils in your box
For an advanced version of this activity, include single-digit addition and subtraction type questions.
Skills learned: Numbers, general awareness, thinking skills.
This is similar to the number game. You may, though, modify it into any preferable sequence of alphabets.
Few of the sequences are:
A-A, B-B, C-C, D-D, E-E
A-B, B-C, C-D, D-E, E-F
A-B, C-D, E-F, G-H, I-J
Another alphabet game is that a player tells an alphabet and the second player recalls as many words as possible which starts with that alphabet.
For example: A- Apple, Astronaut, Alligator, Airplane, Axe, etc.
Skills learned: Assertiveness, Alphabets, Vocabulary.
After the number and alphabets recitation, you must be in a need for a break, while the little one is still full of energy. Send the child on an expedition while you can relax a bit. Say a shape, let the child find as many objects as possible in the house of that particular shape. Also, ask the kid to take a paper and pencil and trace the shape using one of those objects. Once she/he is done with the first shape, send for another one.
Skills learned: Identify shapes and improve coordination skills.
Fun With Colors
One way is to play it similar to finding shapes. You name a color and the child brings an object of the same color. However, a more fun and learning experience is by mixing colors to derive new colors. You might need to help them initially, but later on, they will be excited to figure out new colors themselves.
For more color games, you can include questions like, name a red color fruit, name green color vegetables etc.
Skills learned: Identify colors, logical thinking, and innovation.
Spell the Word
If the child knows phonics, this is an enjoyable way to make him stronger at it. Children will also learn to spell simple words. For this activity, say words slooowllyyy. Got my point? So say a word slowly in a manner that children can identify alphabets by its sounds. Start the activity by asking the kid to recognize the first letter of the word. In the subsequent days or weeks, you can start helping them formulate the entire word through its phonics sound. Basically, you will say the word and the phonics associated with it, and the child will identify the alphabets through the sounds to spell the word.
Learning: Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling
This one freshens my childhood memories, our beloved old, Chidiya Ud. I introduced it that way to her, but regrettably, she calls it “Bird fly”. My heart aches each time she says it that, but it’s fine as long she is learning. This is an excellent game to teach them about fauna. One may modify the game by talking about an animal’s habitat, food, and general traits.
Just in case you need to recollect, here is how to play the game.
Both the players keep a finger on a flat surface. One player says the name of animals, birds, or an object appended with the word ‘fly’ or ‘उड़’, whichever you prefer. If the said object, or fauna flies, the players need to lift the finger to signify flying. If it does not fly they do nothing. Anyone who breaks the rules loses.
Learn about: Animals and birds, general awareness
There are several other activities and games that you can involve in your little one’s routine. The child won’t even realize she/he is being taught!
Include general awareness questions, talk about the solar system, seasons, states of water, etc.
Do your tiny tots give you a hard time? Do you too struggle keeping them busy? I would love to hear your views on this. Also follow the points that suits your child to make learning fun, and your life a bit easier.
And if there is any particular topic you want to read, please let me know in the comments or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy reading! 🙂