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Monday, March 3, 2014

Games and Toys to Encourage Early Learning

toys and games

Toys and games are a huge part of our homeschooling, especially during the early years.  Here a few things that we use regularly that our kids just love!  It’s amazing how much they can learn when they do not even know they are learning!

(For a list of apps we use for learning visit How we use tablets)

Children learn through play, particularly children grades 3 and under.  This is one of the primary reasons we homeschool.  After preschool, most public school curriculums seem to have forgotten the importance of play.  Hands on learning in topics of primary interest is the best way for children to learn. 

Here are a few of the items we use on a regular basis that my kids love! (and what they are learning when they play them)

Pattern Blocks

They are learning:  One-to-one correspondence, to make and repeat patterns, colors, symmetry, shapes, order and design, problem solving, hand-eye coordination, sorting, logical reasoning

Other toys that teach the same concepts:  puzzles, pegs and boards, stringing beads. 

Wooden Blocks and Legos

They are learning:  Cooperation with others (if in a group), expressing imagination and ideas, cause and effect as well as the same skills learned with pattern blocks.

Other toys to add to the learning fun:  Cars, trucks and trains

Water Table

They are learning:  that some things sink and some things float, to observe changes as water takes different form in different containers, about different temperatures, about wet, dry, and evaporation, what happens when you add soap, eye-hand coordination, concepts of empty and full, volume and weight.     

Other variations:  Add scoops, bowls, cups, measuring devices, etc…  Instead of water use sand, beans, rice, dirt, etc..

Cards and Board Games

Games off a wide variety of learning opportunities, they teach grouping, counting, visual perception, color recognition, eye hand coordination, fine motor skills (manual dexterity), verbal communication, taking turns, sharing, waiting, boundaries, following directions/rules, number and/or shape recognition, letter recognition, reading, and more!

We play games A Lot!

Some of our favorite games:

Games that also include strategic thinking and logical reasoning:

Geography games:

Body awareness:

With the exception of Chess, Checkers and Stratego (played by my 4 and 7 year olds only) all the games are also played by my 3 year old.  He was able to play most at age 2.5.

Instead of turning on the TV try playing a game as a family at least one night a week (if you do not already!).  It’s a great way to spend time as a family and encourage learning!

Do you have a favorite game or toy in your house??  Leave a comment below!

Toys and Games for Homeschool
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