Children learn constantly, even when you’d prefer they not learn. One way to encourage learning is through games. Games help children develop physical and fine motor skills, as well as, aiding in cognitive and emotional development. In order for games to the most effective, they should be age appropriate. Trying to teach a 3 year old a game intended for 6 year olds will generally just create frustration.
Very young children usually play by themselves or side by side with a child (parallel play), but don’t really interact with each other. This is the normal socialization development of children. Once a child reaches 3 years old he begins playing with other children, often for extended periods of time. No matter what the child’s age, though, his favorite playmate is usually a parent. Parents can aid in the child’s development and feeling of security by accepting this position and playing regularly with the child.
All types of play and games help a child learn. A song or game about the abc’s will help a small child learn them, but may not aid the child in really understanding their purpose. When the child gets older, other games, like spelling games, will show the child how letters work together to form words. The only way kids can learn is to explore the world around them. This can be done alone, or with friends as the child gets older.
Games to help children learn valuable skills include puzzles, matching games, identification games, races, and commercial games designed for the child’s particular age. Colors, shapes and letters can be taught early on, where math concepts and reading will usually be taught when the child starts school. Parents’ continuous involvement in all things the child does will aid in his or her learning. Opportunities for teaching happen every day. Colors or animal sounds can easily be taught during a stroll in the park, or a visit to the zoo.