Here are some FUN activities and games that build important communication skills, character, imagination, concentration and relationships. These games are perfect for a parent and child to play together. They also work well for families and groups of children with a variety of ages and abilities. They are wonderful for groups of children, ages 3 and up, that include kids with Asperger's as well as ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism.
None of these games require much planning, reading, or small game pieces, so you can play them anywhere and anytime you need to entertain children of all ages. The most you will need is a stuffed animal or toys that you already have. A few of these games can be played with no props at all, just imagination and conversation.
1. What do you like best?
All children love to ask questions, and they love to answer questions too. So we made up a game where we take turns asking questions that help us get to know each child better, and we laugh a lot!
I ask the first question: “Joseph, what do you like best: Bubbles or Squirt Guns?” He will give his answer, and then it is his turn, and he will ask someone else in the group his question: “Anna, what do you like best planets or watermelons?” Then Anna will ask another child “What do you like best lunch or breakfast?” Then that child will ask another child a question: “What do you like best cookies or cake?” “Green or Blue?” “Trees of Flowers?” “Snow or Sand?” This game is endless. You may need to tell the kids the rules, we only have on: No Potty Talk.
2. Should We?
I made up this game for Joseph to help him to learn right and wrong, and to make good choices in a variety of unexpected situations. This one is wonderful for children who need to learn about social skills and appropriate behavior. This game can also bring lots of laughs! Once again it is a game of questions. My kids love to come up to me and say “Let’s play Should We!”
Just ask questions to make your child think about the right thing to do in an interesting or everyday situation. Sometimes the kids will enjoy making up their own questions.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
“Joseph should we eat someone else’s cookie?”
“Should we play in the road?”
“Should we eat dirt?”
“Should we eat carrots?”
“Should we put the cat in the bathtub?”
“Should we hit little babies?”
"Should we take toys from other kids?"
“Should we help mommy sweep the floor?”
“Should we make cookies with grandma?”
“Should we put cookie dough on grandma’s windows?”
"Should we tell grandma that she should not eat the cookies because she is fat?"
"Should we take candy from people we don't know?"
"If the ball is in the street should we go get it?"
"Should we say please and thank you?
3. Family Questions
You can play this with any group, the kids love hearing the answers that the adults give too! We usually play this conversational game at the dinner table. With a family of 11 this one can take a lot of time. It also helps everyone to get to know each other. Once again it is a Questions Games.
Mom or dad usually asks the first question, and everyone takes turns giving their answer. We usually only get through 3 questions at a meal. One Rule: No "Yes or No" questions. We ask questions like these:
“What would you buy if you had $20?”
“What country would you go to if you could go anywhere?”
“What is the most beautiful animal?”
“What do you think we should have for dinner tomorrow?”
“Name one important thing you should think about before you marry someone?”
“If you could have any super power what would it be?”
“What is something you like about the person to your right?”
5. What Comes Next?
Like most parents, we read the same stories, sing the same songs, and repeat the same rhymes and Bible verses over and over with each child. Once the words of the story or verse are familiar to the child I will give the child a chance to finish each line. Children ages 2 to 5 love this.
To Play: When you are teaching or entertaining a group of children use this activity when telling a story or memorizing a verse. With older children you can increase the number of words for them to fill in until the child can recite the entire verse alone. This works well for groups, because the children can all shout out the missing words together.
“For God so loved the _____________.”
“Mary had a little _________.”
“How much is that doggie in the ______________.”
“In the great green room there was a telephone and a red _______________.”
"Jesus Loves ____ This I ________."
6. Hot or Cold
This game is excellent for children who need to be active, but also need to learn to listen and follow instructions. Most of all this game is fun!
Mom hides a toy in the room, and the child tries to find it.
Mom gives a clue – as the child move towards the location of the hidden toy mom says “Warmer... Warmer... Hot!” Then if the child veers in the wrong direction mom says “You are getting colder... colder... freezing... you are turning into an ice cube!” My mom played this game with me when I was little. This works best with just one child.
Do you have a child who needs to develop
concentration and focusing skills?
To Play: Collect an assortment of any 7 to 10 items. Arrange all the items on a tray, everyone looks at the objects for one minute, and tries to remember each one. Take the tray away and remove one item. Bring back the tray.
Who can be the first to remember what is missing? That player gets to remove the next item from the tray, and everyone has another chance.
By: Sarah Janisse Brown
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