Has this ever happened to you?
You have an outing planned and suddenly the phone rings, Sarah is sick and she can’t come over, or the toilet is backed up and you need to wait for the plumber.
Suddenly your fun day turns into “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do”
Here are some simple games you can play on short notice while you wait for something. You can play this game with children as young as 3.
The first one is:
“Guess what this is”
This game can be played 2 ways, using either of your senses. Your sense of smell, your sense of touch, you can also expand it to using your sense of taste or your sense of sound.
A blindfold: This could be a kitchen towel, a sock cap, or an eye mask.
Things that have a specific smell for example :
Peanut Butter (as long as there are no nut allergies)
(other things could be)
Things that you know your child/charge likes to eat.
First you explain that you are going to put the blindfold on the child and let them use their senses to identify different things and see if they can guess what they are. You can also turn this game into learning about the 5 .
If you are going to use the sense of “taste” you should ask if they only want to taste things you know they like, or if they would like to be adventurous and taste something new. I don’t recommend using this game to trick them into trying new foods but if they are open to doing it, then it’s a fun way to explore.
You put the blindfold on the child and let them smell:
Ask them if they know what they are smelling. Then after they guess, let them take the blindfold off to see if they were right. If they can’t identify a smell you can give them hints.
You can also let them touch it or if it’s food and they want to taste it, they can taste it.
Another variation of this game is to put a group of things on the table. The younger the child is, the fewer things you should have. With very young children you could start with 3 and see how they do and next time increase it to 5 and continue to increase it as they get older.
You might have:
Talk about what is on the table. Name the items. Count the items.
Have the child put the blindfold back on and take one item away.
Have the child take off the blindfold and ask “What’s missing that was here before?”
Once you have played the game this way for a while, you can change it up by getting a paper bag. Pick up all the items and put them in the paper bag. Have the child reach inside the bag pick something up, feel it with their hand and guess what it is. Then they can pull it out and see if they were correct.
You can also just put all the items in the bag and see if you can name them from memory.
If you use fruit you can also use it for your snack that day.
These simple games are great ways to teach counting, thinking, reasoning, logic and sensory perception.
These games used to get us through cancelled playdates and rainy days but they are fun to play anytime and some variations of them can be played anywhere.
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