It’s snowing or raining outside, and your children are bored. What to do, what to do? How about playing your child’s favorite board game? You’ll do more than bust boredom – you’ll help build brain power!
Wichita Friends School puts the latest early childhood research and educational theory into action by including a board game “class” in their enrichment program. Board games satisfy a child’s natural competitive urges in a cooperative, teamwork-oriented setting. The cognitive benefits of board games include recognition of numbers and shapes, grouping and counting, letter recognition, reading, visual perception, color recognition, eye-hand coordination, and manual dexterity – all very essential and developmental skills for young children.
But what if your kids are tired of playing the same old games? Engage their creativity and get their bodies moving with one of these fun ideas!
Rainy Day Idea #1: Life-Size Candyland
Cardboard boxes to cut into squares
Paint or construction paper
For those with a little more time (and craftiness!) on their hands, try bringing a board game to life! Build a life-size Candyland game from old cardboard boxes and construction paper. Our Kindergarten-1st Grade Classroom built a live-action Candyland game that included drawing a card and counting the number of colored squares to move, using that count to hop from game square to game square, and crawling through a cardboard Candyland castle. What fun to crawl and hop around a game you have built and painted! The K-1 class, younger siblings and older siblings all enjoyed this game at the WFS Family Math Night.
Rainy Day Idea #2: Exercise Dice
2 tissue boxes
Marker or pen
Build an exercise dice game with two square tissue boxes. Cover all sides of the boxes with paper. On one box, draw stick figures doing exercises – a different exercise for each side (jumping jacks, high kicks, push-ups, etc.). On another, make a single die, drawing large dots on each side from 1 to 6. Each player takes a turn rolling the boxes – first the exercise box to know which exercise to do, and second, the die box to know how many times to do it. One person can roll the boxes, but everyone has to do the exercises! The large-muscle movements reinforce the cognitive counting activity, which makes learning much more effective. Plus, it’s a great workout for mom!
Connie Adams is a retiree volunteer with Wichita Friends School, where she assists with Monday morning worship, leads children in Godly Play Bible stories, teaches music (singing and rhythm) and serves as librarian. Connie’s educational background includes a Bachelors in English Education, Southwestern College in Winfield; Masters in Community Counseling, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC; and Faith Formation Certification (children’s ministry), Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Connie returned to her Wichita home-town after a career in information technology at Appalachian State University and now lives in the Prairie Homestead retirement community in west Wichita.