So hopefully you have gotten a chance to check out the original post about Table Top Games Part I and Table Top Games Part II. If not, check them out! They will give you a really good idea on where and how to get started.
Just a little recap for those of you who are just joining us. The whole idea with these Table Top Games is to create them as quickly and easily as possible. It helps to have it look a little cute to get those kiddos interested, and it should have a good way to practice a skill, but other than that don’t worry about perfection, children will not judge you by your art skills!
So as promised, here is this week’s Pinterest Inspiration:
I found this great looking springtime game over at LittleFamilyFun.com. I loved the flowers, and it’s a perfect way to practice numeral recognition and counting.
I just love the idea, but I really had to apply the KISS method to this one (Keep It Super Stealthy) and leave out all of the cutting and assembling. Why put in so much effort for something that will only be played a few times?
Here’s how I started:
Paper, markers, stick flowers. If I can do it, so can you!
I’m now at least 20 minutes ahead of anyone trying to cut out flower parts. 😛
Anyway, enough about the flowers. What I’d really like to talk a little bit about is how to design a game that is just right for your child. You have an opportunity here to totally customize every game to perfectly meet your child’s needs. And because you can create new games quickly and easily, and change them along the way its easy to make sure that every game is just right!
One of the reasons that stealthy teaching works so well is that you can cover the information in tiny tiny bits at a time. Is your child just starting to count? Then stick to only the numbers 1, 2 or 3! You might even want to draw only 3 flowers on the paper to cut down on the distractions.
But maybe your kiddo is getting really great at counting and can easily go up to 10. Then skip the little numbers, and focus on 6-10! Don’t be afraid to switch it up and customize your games. (Mine are only yellow and blue because they’re my daughter’s favorite colors!)
Another way to increase or decrease the difficulty level of counting games is by adding spots for the counters. I wanted to make this game a little bit easier so I drew circles for the petals. This offers a good self-check for children who are just learning number sense or don’t have a good grasp of what a numeral stands for (2 = * *). It is also great practice for 1 to 1 correspondence as they will place one marble on each circle.
If your child already knows their numerals and is a confident counter, give them more of a challenge and leave off the circles. Let them count and add marbles all on their own.
So that’s it! In less than 5 minutes you have a totally customized game for your little ones, tailor made to meet their learning needs. Simply add some little bits to move around, anything you have on hand will do! Try marbles, pompoms, stickers, or even cereal. To help keep their attention, try switching what you use each time you play. Just imagine how fun flowers would be with bright fluffy pompom flowers next time!
While you’re child is playing, watch and notice how they are doing. Are they struggling as they try to play? Do they seem frustrated by the tasks, or can they finish the whole game faster than you put it together? These are all clues to let you know if your child is working at an appropriate level. It is not uncommon for your child to surprise you with their abilities (it happens to the best of us!).
Don’t get frustrated if this happens, just look back at the tips and try to make it a little easier or harder. If the level is just right, your child should have to sit and think a bit, spending at least a few minutes on the task, but should be able to complete it with little to no help.
If you think you found the right level but your child just needs more practice, try making another version of the game, using the same skills. Turning flowers with petals into cookies with chocolate chips will seem like a whole new game to your kiddos, but will offer the same great skill practice!
Have you made your own version of this Table Top Game? Share it with us!