Simple educational games
Welcome to Simple educational games!
1. Birth to 6 months
2. 6 months to 1 year
3. 12 months to 2 years
4. 24 months and up
Birth to 6 months.
Lay your baby next to you on a soft surface, and pick out 2 colorful things that he will enjoy looking at, lay one on each side of the baby.
Say to your baby “Roll time” and gently roll him on his side so he can see one of the toys. Give him enough time to respond to it and reach for it then say again, “Roll time” and gently roll him to his other side so he can see the other toy. Again give him time to respond to the toy.
When he gets used to this game, try picking up one of the items and holding it above his face, move it a little bit to the side and encourage him to grab it – give him the toy if he rolls over. Make sure your baby’s head is on a soft comfortable surface, and that their head is supported if they lift it off the ground.
Babies of all ages love playing peek-a-boo games – and there are lots of different ways to play. You can use a tissue or a small blanket or anything light and breathable that won’t endanger your child.
• Facing your baby, place your hands or tissue in front of your face, and partially covering your face say, “where’s mummy”
• Then move your hands and say, “peek-a-boo”.
• Do this several times before placing a tissue on baby’s head, then put it on and pull it off saying, “peek-a-boo”.
Put the tissue on baby’s head and see if she will pull it off herself – keep pulling it off until she learns to do it herself. As the baby gets older she will initiate the game herself by pulling a blanket over her head or crawling under the sheets.
Make your baby a variety of different rattles by using things that are readily available in your home. Use light plastic containers such as empty jars, drink bottles or screw top storage containers. Make sure the lid cannot be easily removed. Fill the container with things such as rice, different shaped and coloured pasta, beans, lentils, clothes pegs or safe coloured liquid such as cordial.
Move the rattles one at a time through your baby’s line of vision so that their eyes and head follow your movements. Encourage them to reach out for each object. Place the rattle in your baby’s hands and shake it a few times. Both the sound and the texture will intrigue them. Allow them to explore the object and the sounds they make on their own.
6 months to 1 year.
Pots and Pans Puzzles
Babies love to play with pots and pans; you can use them to teach your baby how to solve simple puzzles. Show your baby how to put a lid on a pot. After he can do it by himself without any problem, add a second lid of a different size and see if he can solve the problem of which lid to put on which pot.
For a lighter and quieter option, you can also use a variety of different sized boxes, Tupperware or plastic storage containers to play this game.
By practicing simple directions, your baby will develop her cognitive thinking. Pick three very different toys and sit on the floor with your baby and the toys next to you.
• Say, “I am going to pick up the ball.” Then pick it up.
• Say to your baby “Can you pick up the ball?” and encourage her to pick up the ball – show her again if she is having trouble.
• Give the baby another direction for example, “give the doll a kiss”. You give the doll a kiss and let your baby do the same.
Think about the different kinds of directions you can give your baby. Some examples are picking things up, putting things down, and bringing you things, show your baby how to perform the action at first then let her do it by herself.
Try repeating the same direction 2 to 3 times to reinforce the words and actions. Praise your baby each time she succeeds and she will be very proud of herself.
Blowing bubbles is a fun activity to do on a warm spring day. Combine 2 tablespoons of liquid dish detergent and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, and stir gently. If you don’t have plastic bubble blowers handy, drop a few rubber bands into the bowl of bubble liquid.
Using fingertips, pick a rubber band out of the mix and blow through the soapy film, or wave the rubber band through the air to make a stream of bubbles. Older children can do this alone, while younger children can help you blow, and then chase the bubbles to pop them. Babies will love watching the bubbles float away, and will enjoy the antics of the older kids.
Babies aged 6-12 months are able to reach out for objects using only their fingers. They can also hold objects easily and pass them from one hand to another. Encourage fine movement development by showing them how to stack blocks one on top of the other and placing them side by side. This will also teach them about volume. Allow your baby to handle them, shake them in containers, push them about and place them in a basket. They will also love knocking the bricks over and banging them together. This will take some practice so don’t worry if it takes them a few weeks to master the skill.
Use this time to talk to your baby about the different colors and shapes of the blocks. Also demonstrate cause and effect by helping them build a tower and calling out “they all fall down” as they knock it to the ground.
12 months to 2 years.
There are so many treasures outside, in your garden or in the park, take a basket outside and go exploring with your toddler. As you find things, like stones, seedpods, twigs, leaves, flowers, pebbles and shells (just some of the treasures you may find!) put them in your basket.
After you have gathered a few different treasures, take out one at a time and talk about it – say what it is, where it comes from, what it feels like etc. Pay close attention to the treasures our toddler seems most interested in, this may give you ideas for future learning. Ask your toddler for one of the treasures from the basket; see if they can remember its name.
For an interesting twist to this game, try a themed treasure hunt outside such as an Easter egg hunt, or a ball hunt. Hide lots of Easter eggs or balls of different sizes outside for your toddler to discover.
Take advantage of a sunny day, or use a strong lamp indoors to play shadow games with your baby or toddler. Hold your baby with one arm and wave to your shadow with the other. Crouch down to make a small shadow, and then stand up to make a tall shadow. Toddlers will love standing beside you, imitating your movements to make your shadows match. (Raise your right arm and wave your hand. Bend to the left. Hop on one foot.)
If you crouch down, and your child stretches tall, their shadow will be taller than yours! Make your shadows do interesting movements: hold hands and stand on one foot; lift your child in the air; bend from side to side; jump up and down; toss a ball in the air; open an umbrella.
Play a hide and seek game with the sun. Stand with your back to the sun and your toddler directly in front of you. Point out how your child’s shadow is hiding. (“We can see my shadow, but where is your shadow?”) Then tell your child to extend arms, legs, or head to the side, and watch as their shadow peeks out.
Make a Collage (this activity can be played with toddlers 12 month on up to school age)
Encourage your child’s creativity by helping them make a collage. This involves producing a 3 dimensional design using a variety of household materials attached to a flat surface.
Start by collecting a variety of interesting materials from around the house. These can include plastic containers, fabric, pasta, toilet rolls, paper, tissues, glitter, stickers, pegs, buttons etc. Help your child choose which objects they like and place them on a large flat sheet of paper or cardboard. Once they are happy with the arrangement, help them glue the objects into shape. Encourage them to draw in any additional details they like.
You can also ask them to make a picture of themselves or design a particular object such as a train or an animal. This will encourage them to reproduce an image they are familiar with, using a variety of materials.
Always praise their efforts and the final result.
Drawing and Painting
Encourage your child to use their imagination through drawing and painting. Give them some non-toxic crayons, draw a squiggle for them and ask them to finish the drawing depending on what they see. You can also ask them to draw specific objects, copy shapes and help them draw around their hands and feet. Try placing a sheet of carbon paper under their drawing and showing them how they can produce 2 ‘magic’ drawings.
Introduce your child to finger painting by buying ready made non-toxic paints or making your own at home. To make finger paints, mix 3 tablespoons of corn flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water, then stir in a cup of boiling water. Once the mixture cools, add food coloring and store it in the fridge. This can be used on a wet or dry surface. Encourage your child to mix colours together and explain how 2 different colours create a new third colour.
Hide and Seek Objects
Hide and seek is a great game for developing a baby’s thinking and problem solving skills. Begin by hiding one or two of your baby’s favorite toys in plain sight but slightly disguised. You can make it harder once your baby has mastered the game.
Tell your baby where you have hidden the toy and give them some clues to help them find it. Always praise their efforts and successful discovery of the toy. Once your baby finds it, hide the toy again. Change toys periodically to maintain your baby’s interest.
24 months and up.
Have a color day. Pick a day and make it Blue (for example.) You and your child wear blue clothes. Take some celery and cut off the bottom and put it in blue food colored water in the morning and by dinner time you will have blue celery for dinner. Make lemonade and add blue color to it. Paint a blue picture, if your feeling daring add blue color to mashed potatoes and serve for dinner (The color won’t affect the taste but the color will make you think it taste different.) Take your child for a walk and find blue things to show each other. Use your imagination to make the day as blue as possible.
You can have other color days too. This is a great way to teach toddlers their colors.
Build a tent
Take the dining room chairs and drape them with sheets to build a tent in the living room. Your child can have his snack in the tent or play or even take his nap if he would like. Let him use his imagination on this game.
Matching game. Put a bunch of things that match in front of your toddler and have him match up what goes together. Toothbrush and toothpaste, nut and bolt, pot and lid, fork and spoon. Use your imagination to find things that match around your home for this game.
Dress Up Game
Dress up. Let your child pick something to dress up as. You can help him make a costume from your wardrobe, towels and sheets. Have him act like the character he chooses to dress up as. If you have a video camera this will be one you’ll want to keep for the memories.
• red cabbage
• baking soda
• lemon juice
• ammonia household cleaner
• brewed coffee
• 6 glasses
• Ask your Parent to help boil red cabbage for 12 minutes. The water will turn blue. Let the water cool.
• Pour equal amounts of the blue juice into each of the glasses.
• Add a teaspoon of baking soda to one of the glasses. What color is the water?
• Add a teaspoon of vinegar to another glass. What color is the water?
• Repeat this process with each of the glasses using a different item.
• After the liquid has changed, try changing it back to its original color. Can you do it?
• Acids, like lemon juice or vinegar, are usually sour.
• Bases, like soap or baking soda, are usually bitter.
• Many acids or bases are poisonous so tasting them is not a safe way to determine if something is an acid or base. Instead, science wizards have come up with a safe test to determine if something is an acid or base. They use color-changing indicators to find out.
• Mixing acids or bases with something else can cause a chemical reaction.
• The cabbage contains a class of compounds called anthocyanins which change color with chemical reactions. It is an indicator (something that tells something about the substance it comes in contact with). When acids or bases are mixed with an indicator, the reaction causes the color change.
• The blue juice will turn pink with acids, and green in a base, and stay the same in a neutral (neither acid or base) substance.
• Adding a base to an acid will turn the color back to blue. It will neutralize (undo) the effect of the acid bringing the juice back to a neutral state.
Some of the ideas for these games came from free to the public web pages.
Go or return to:
- Life Science
- Elftown Academy