“Experts suggest that 90% of all brain development occurs by the age of five. If we don’t begin thinking about education in the early years, our children are at risk of falling behind by the time they start Kindergarten.”
The good news is that learning doesn’t need to be a chore and it doesn’t need to be a costly exercise either. There are loads of fun easy ways to keep the kids occupied and thinking without having to go out and spend a fortune. We’ve pulled together 10 of our favourites – some of which you may even have played yourself!
- Memory Game – ask your child to bring you 20 items collected from around the house. Place all 20 on a tray. Without your child looking – remove 2 and ask them to tell you which 2 are missing. Let them try the same with you and see whose memory rules!
- Listening game – similar to the above except instead of removing items, ask your child to close their eyes, select an item from the tray and make a noise with it – ask your child to identify the item from the noise you have made – let them do the same with you – first to 5 wins.
- Freeze Dance – Kids love any excuse for a dance party so this game will be an easy hit and it’s the perfect opportunity to get the kids off the couch. The rules are easy: Make Dad the DJ and let Mom join in the fun. Dance all the while the music plays and when Dad stops the music, everyone freezes. Anyone moving is out or if it’s only a small group, the winner scores a point and first to 5 wins. This is great for both listening skills and movement.
- Build a wall maze – Turn the passage into a “laser” maze with string. Zig-zag the string across the passage at varying heights. (Tape the string to the sides of the wall). Challenge your kids to get from one side to the other without touching the string.
- Find the treasure– Hide a treat somewhere in the house or garden. Create a treasure map using clues that help the kids navigate their way around the Garden or House until the treasure is located.
- Amazing Race – make a list of 20 items that the kids need to find from around the house or in the garden. This can even include items they need to draw or make if you really want to keep them busy. First one to bring you all 20 items wins a treat.
- SIMON SAYS - Touch your feet, Touch your head, turn around, clap your hands, touch your nose, wave your hand…the list is endlessand your child won’t get tired of playing this game. The game is easily played and starts with the command “Simon says”, for example “Simon says sit down” or“Simon says wave your arms”.
- Read a short story to your children and then ask them questions about the characters, what happened, what they did, where they went. This is a great way to develop listening skills from an early age.
- Play ‘I Spy’ – this is a simple game and easily played absolutely anywhere.Find something in the room or in the car – the clue is the letter it starts with and then get the kids guessing until one of them is correct. The winner then takes a turn.
- For older kids (age 10+) when you are grocery shopping, give them a list of items too and send them off to find a few of the items for you. This is also a great way to encourage independence and the kids absolutely love it. If you are just nipping to the shops for 1 or 2 items, you may even want to try waiting in the car, letting your child actually locate and pay for the items too.