Playing With Your Kids—Ages 6 And Up
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Kids are from Krypton; Parents are from Pluto Radio series update July 8: As you know by now, (or read below) I am a great promoter of playing games with your kids at any age. Last week’s show focused on the tremendous benefits of playing Candyland with your little ones. Although this is purely a game of luck (with the pick of the cards,) with no problem-solving skills required, there are numerous skills that your kids are developing just by virtue of playing. We discussed over 20 developmental benefits of this simple game, including understanding the rules, taking turns, recognizing colors, counting to two, directionality, cause/effect, tolerating frustration, and so on.
This week, we focused on playing with the older kids. While you may have found yourself playing with your little ones, are you playing board and card games with your 7-year-old? Your 10-year-old? Your 15-year-old? There is still tremendous developmental benefit going on, not to mention a great way to stay connected with your kids—although I recommend getting them into the game-playing mode early on, so by the time they reached these older ages, it will be a natural thing to continue doing with their family.
Games for older kids build on the skills developed when younger and include risk-taking, problem-solving, logical reasoning, decision-making, strategizing, analyzing, verbal and math skills, money concepts, flexibility, and motor development including quick reflexes, steady hand, fine-motor control, team building and cooperation, patience and more!
For a building game like Jenga, just think of all the elements of development it takes to play. And, it can be adapted from a competitive game to one of cooperation. This, and any game, can be adapted for different ages. Jenga may seem a bit difficult for younger kids. So, let’s make it toddler-friendly: stack the blocks, count them, knock over each other’s tower, criss-cross their building, make different shapes.
Once you begin to understand the concept of using games as developmental building blocks (Ooh! Forgive the pun!) then you’ll see that games are fun, adaptable and most importantly, interactive! Grab a game and go have some fun. Enjoy your kids!
For young children, games involve: cognitive skills (such as counting, sequencing, directionality,) motor control (such as tossing dice, picking up a card, moving game pieces,) and self control (such as concentration, waiting their turn, being a good sport.) Games for older children build on the skills developed when younger, and include risk-taking, problem-solving, logical reasoning, decision-making, strategizing, analyzing, verbal skills, math skills, money concepts, creativity and flexibility. Motor development includes quick reflexes, a steady hand and fine-motor control (manipulation of smaller, more intricate pieces.) This kind of game analysis can be done with each and every game you play with your kids. There is more to game-playing than meets the eye. That is why it is so important that kids play games, and you can have the satisfaction of knowing that while you are spending time together and having fun, there is lots of learning and development going on, as well.
Top 5 Tips of the Week:
- Games have tremendous social, emotional, intellectual and creative benefits.
- Reintroduce the classic games and toys of your childhood, and those of your parents.
- Lighten up! It doesn’t matter if you feel too grown up to play—it’s about your kids!
- Games are great bonding activities…to help you stay connected with your kids.
- Show your kids you love them…through your words and your actions
Enjoy your kids!