Top 10 Games for School Readiness
Will Your Child Be Ready For Grade R Or Grade 1 in 2020?
School readiness is a journey that takes six years and doesn’t happen overnight. Pre-schoolers are in training for big school! School readiness for Grade R and Grade 1 should be fun and stress-free as they acquire important pre-reading, pre-writing and pre-maths skills that will make academic learning in primary school so much easier. The great news is that many of these perceptual skills for school readiness can be acquired by playing with appropriate games and developing an “I can” and “I love learning” mindset in your child.
A stimulating play-based pre-school programme is essential in the early years. Add to this some time playing with the right games and toys at home with you, and your child’s confidence will soar as a whole new world opens up for them. Apart from developing school readiness skills, when you play with your child you are also increasing their concentration span. By the time your child enters grade 1 they need to be able to focus for at least 20 minutes at a time, remaining engaged with an activity or task.
Will your child be ready for grade R or grade 1 in 2020? Here are some fantastic ideas for games and toys to help you get them well-prepared over the next year.
This game makes letter recognition fun as your child learns to match at speed (From grade 1 and up and adults will enjoy it too). Initially, play without the timer or choose just a few letters to play with (all 26 might overwhelm a 7 year old but will be fine for a 9 year old), or just choose to play with letters of one colour (there are three colours). Set the timer and try and get all your letters on the board before it stops. When it does the board will shiver and shake, and the letters will bounce around the board. The adjustable timer means you can set the challenge to suit the child as it has three levels as well as a stop/start button. Additional activities: build words out of letters or create letter impressions in playdough. Good for matching, problem solving, spatial planning and fine-motor control.
What do numbers mean? This versatile game is brilliant for creating an understanding of quantity, counting, addition and subtraction. The 40 colourful bug tokens enable your child to physically count and sort objects, to begin with. They move onto matching the objects to the numbers and then onto following the visual instructions such as placing two ducks in the pond and adding four frogs, as an example. How many animals do you have altogether now? Turn the card over to check the answer. Comes with a game board (the pond), 39 activity cards and 40 bug tokens. Extend the play to show grouping for basic multiplication skills or bonds of 10. Will be useful for years.
Zingo is a classic bingo game that all families with young children should own. The Zingo! Zinger is the tile dispenser that will have your child completely fascinated. Every player has a challenge board and when tiles are revealed by the Zinger, the first player to spot a match wins the tile/s. The winner is the first player to shout Zingo! when they have covered all the pictures on their board with matching picture tiles. The game comes with six double sided cards, 72 picture tiles and two levels of play. This picture and word matching game builds observation skills and word recognition. Play slowly with young children but bring on the competition as kids get older. A super quick game for families with mixed ages.
Zingo! – Develops reading, memory and matching skills –WATCH VIDEO
This very cute butterfly-themed game will help children learn how to colour match in a fun way. The four small, wooden caterpillars set off on a big journey across a bed of coloured flower discs. The five colour and symbol dice show your child what moves they can make, jumping from flower to flower. When they reach the big flower at the end of the journey they turn from a caterpillar into a butterfly, but they have to correctly turn over two matching coloured wings to win. If the wings don’t match, they have to try again on their next turn. Every time you play, the ‘game board’ can look completely different!
RAINBOW PEBBLES ACTIVITY SET
This is a complete and unusual school readiness set in a box. Use the brightly coloured slightly rubbery and nicely weighted pebbles to complete the 24 challenge cards. Some cards require colour and size matching skills while with others your child will need to build flat in 2D or in towers or pyramids in 3D. The pebbles are uneven, making building a little more tricky as your child must find a way to balance them. This game encourages the skills of copying and visual memory, problem-solving, counting, colour sorting, matching and much more. Children can also create their own free play constructions and pictures with the pebbles.
This is a beautifully illustrated 28-piece jumbo version of the classic matching game of dominoes. A great way to understand quantity while having fun, as the dominoes consist of a number on one end and pictures of objects on the other. Match numbers to numbers, numbers to objects or objects to objects but the value must be the same eg. The number four and four spiders. Can be played together as a group or alone once your child has the hang of it. Each player starts with six dominoes and the first player to finish their stack is the winner. If you can’t find a match in your turn you must pick up a domino from the stack on the table. Beautiful packaging also makes this a great birthday gift.
Little Action is a wonderful game to get your children moving and learning at the same time. Children follow the visual instructions (pictures) on the action cards and if they succeed in completing the task, they win a medal token. Your child will learn the skills of throwing, catching, balancing and aiming using the six chunky animals for each action. When all the action cards have been used up, the player with the most medals wins. Learn to judge speed, space and distance, cross the midline, fine motor control, spatial planning and balance. Taking turns, winning and losing are all part of the game.
Little Action – For throwing, balancing, aiming and catching – WATCH VIDEO
This chunky wooden pegboard game is a fun and colourful way to get your child to practice their fine motor skills, eye-hand co-ordination and matching skills necessary for writing and copying later on. When placing the pegs in the holes on top of the picture, your child is colour matching which is about discovering similarities and differences, and holding the pegs using the pincer grip. They use their thumb and two fingers – the same ones they will use to hold a crayon or pencil. This is a pre-writing game. Comes with 8 picture cards and 120 coloured pegs.
If you are looking for a first board game – this is it! Using the colour dice and their colour matching skills, your child must move their cute, chunky animal along the path, competing against other players to get to the end first. Some of the many benefits of board games are that children learn how to take turns, win and lose. It’s a quick game giving you 10 minutes in a busy day to connect with your little one. The four gorgeous animals can also be used for free play.
Little Circuit – Learn colour and animal recognition while having fun! – WATCH VIDEO
Children will love these 14 colourful bright blocks with their funny, irregular shapes that can be stacked on the sticks in different ways to create pictures, characters and interesting patterns. Your child can do free play or use the 5 double-sided activity cards to copy and match a particular design. Great for developing fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination, spatial planning and problem solving skills.
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