Monday, August 11, 2008

You don't need these games

I'm not going to tell you not to buy games like these that promote sharing, listening or manners. Games are fun. They teach lots of things -- rules, cooperation, patience, sharing, listening, manners, enjoyment, imagination, sportsmanship. But you don't really need a game to enhance learning.

First all these skills can be learned through any type of dramatic play. Simply come up with an idea (bakery, restaurant, pet shop, store, doctor, etc. the list is endless). Fill a box with the theme and put items from around the house inside. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, kids don't care. Try to include a writing element in each one.

For more dramatic play ideas search this site.

Sharing Ideas
- Allow a child to share a toy or dvd with a friend to take home for a day or two.
- When playing with playdough put out one less tool, so the kids need to learn how to share.
- Have children work together on a computer game.

Listening Ideas
- I learned this at camp. Pair up the children. They are to tell the other person a problem they are having and the partner is not suppose to listen. Ask the kids ways that show not listening. I let the kids do anything but get up and walk away. Examples include, interrupting, looking away, not responding, putting fingers in ears, etc. They do this for one minute. Then we talk about what it felt like to not have the person listen. Then they reverse the roles. We talk again. Then we do the whole thing again but the partners listen. It has amazing results. At camp where there were so few boundaries and so many rules, getting kids to listen was the biggest challenge. I usually did when I wasn't getting the respect they should be giving. Normally, I would talk about emotions and when they were talking over me I would ask them how they thought I felt at that moment.
- Put on a play or skit. Give kids a topic or have them come up with an idea and preform for family or other kids.
- Have children tell stories.
- Let each child say one word and create sentences or stories.
- Play "Two Truths and a Lie." I learned this one at camp, too. A person tells two truths about themselves and one lie. The group has to figure out which one is a lie. Great Icebreaker.

Manner Ideas
Honestly I think that all activities should include manners. That really is the only way to enforce them. But please do not feed a child if they don't say "please." I saw this happen with 1-year-olds.

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