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Pre-Kindergarten

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Since young children learn mainly through play and modeling the adults and older children around them, we didn’t include “Pre-School” in our first and second editions of The Game Curriculum.  However, since the idea that formal Pre-School is an important part of child development has become so widespread in our society, we decided to include some game suggestions for children under five.  The article “Teaching Pre-Schoolers With Games” that follows will explain more about the kinds of learning activities that are appropriate for young children.

The best education for your child is one that is developed for his or her unique learning schedule and learning style. Only the parent can judge the appropriateness of the schedule by watching for things to “click,” but we can get quite a bit of guidance from Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s many books on homeschooling and Willis and Hodson’s Learning Style Profile found in Discover Your Child’s Learning Style. Trying to get a head start by pushing early academics can backfire, causing difficulties for years to come. Instead of worrying about a “learning disability” because your child does not fit the style and sequence of “in the box” schools, spend your energy on developing your child’s natural interests. You will be amazed at the results.

 

How to Use the LEARNING STYLES Hints on the Charts

You will notice that the game charts have a column labeled LEARNING STYLES.  If you have Discover Your Child’s Learning Style, you will understand what the notes mean.  If not, here is a brief key:

Modalities:

Print means that most content is in print.

Picture means there are a lot of pictures or other graphics.

Visual means that both print and pictures are used in the game.

Verbal means there is some to quite a bit of talking involved.

Listening means that listening is involved.

Auditory means that both Verbal and Listening skills are used in the game.

Hands-on means that there is significant hand movement of cards, pieces, etc.

Whole Body means that the whole body is moving.

Writing means that writing is involved.

 

Dispositions:

Move means that there is significant physical activity.  These games are great for the very active child who hates to sit still.

Produce means that there is a clear (to the student) and quantifiable learning objective.  These children like to have a game labeled “educational” whereas that adjective is the kiss of death to most of the other dispositions.

Invent or Discovery means that there is discovery and/or experimentation involved.

Interact means that there is significant social interaction.  This learning style enjoys most games so it is only listed it when the group interaction is above average.

Create means that the game requires significant thought and/or creativity.

There is another vital element of learning that is important in regard to physical movement or what schools like to call Physical Education.  This is explained in depth in Smart Moves by Carla Hannaford.  Therefore, we have included the notations Vestibular and Proprioceptive to help you pick out P.E. games and activities that give your child reinforcement  in these sensory areas.

Vestibular refers to awareness of body balance and movement.

Proprioceptive  refers to the relative position of different parts of the body and the strength of effort used in movement.

Most games combine multiple elements, so we listed only the salient ones.  Likewise, any one child’s learning style is far more complex than these simple definitions and each child’s personality includes a combination of several modalities and dispositions.  Watch for the elements in games that your child likes and look for those or similar elements in other games

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PERCEPTUAL SKILLS

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GAME IDEAS FOR PERCEPTUAL SKILLS

Perceptual Skills for Pre-School

Name of GameNumber of PlayersAge RangeTime of PlayEmphasis and NotesLearning Style
Blocks and Stacking Toys1+2 and UpVisual & Motor Skills
Planning
Visual
Hands-On
Discover, Create
Balls and Ball Games2+ 2 and UpHand-Eye CoordinationHands-On
Whole Body
Move, Discover, Interact
Deluxe Floor-Standing Wooden Easel1 - 23 - 7Creativity
Hand-Eye Coordination
Large Muscle Skills
Visual
Hands-On
Move
Create
Chicky Boom2-44 and Up10 MinutesBalance
Arithmetic
Manual Dexterity
Risk Assessment
Visual
Hands-On
Move
Discover
Interact
Spot It Junior - Animals2-64 and Up10-15 MinutesMatching
Visual Recognition
Verbal
Hands-On
Move
Discover
Interact
Kee Kee The Rocking Monkey1-63 and Up10 MinutesBalance
Manual Dexterity
Risk Assessment
Hands-On
Move
Discover
Interact
Grandma's Treasure2-44 and Up
10-15 MinutesMemory
Color
Fine Motor Skills
Strategy
Whole Body
Picture
Move
Discover
Interact
Simple Puzzles12 and Up5-10 MinutesVisual Skills
Recognizing Shapes
Visual
Hands-On
Discover
Create
Blink2-34 and Up5 MinutesMatching AttributesVerbal
Hands-On
Move
Discover
Interact
How Tall Am I2-43-820 MinutesVisual Discrimination
Measuring
Visual
Hands-On
Move
Discover
Interact
Pengoloo2-44 and Up10-15 MinutesMemory
Color
Fine Motor Skills
Strategy
Visual
Hand-On
Move
Discover
Interact
Candyland2-43 and Up30 MinutesColors
Matching Pictures
Picture
Hand-On
Move
Discover
Interact
Smart Toss1-43 and Up10 + MinutesVisual
Kinesthetic (Large Motor) skills
Visual
Hand-On
Move

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LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

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GAME IDEAS FOR LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

The games suggested below reinforce language concepts as well as cultural literacy.  The nursery rhyme and fairy tales games reinforce an important part of our culture and those who are not familiar with them are not totally literate in English because they will not understand allusions to these stories when they read English literature or even the daily newspaper. Nursery rhymes also give children experience in repeating rhyme and meter long before they can articulate the rhythms of language fluently.  Read and recite stories and poems to your children as often as possible.

Below are some suggested books that are popular with homeschool families.

  • Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes by Blanche Fisher Wright
  • Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Eve    
  • Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose by Scott Gustafson
  • Richard Scarry’s Best Nursery Tales Ever
  • Classic Fairy Tales by Scott Gustafson

Language Development Pre-K

NAME OF GAMEPLAYERSAGE RANGETIME FOR PLAYEMPHASIS AND NOTESLEARNING STYLES
Same and Opposite JINGO2-30Pre-K to 3rd20 MinutesRecognizing same and opposite.Listening
Picture
Discover
Interact
Spot It Junior2-64 and Up10-15 MinutesMatching
Visual Recognition
Alphabet
Numbers
Verbal
Hands-On
Move
Discover
Interact
Community JINGO2-30Pre-K to 3rd Grade20 MinutesCommunity
Eye-Hand coordination
Listening
Picture
Discover
Interact
Tell Tale Fairy Tales1-8Pre-K and UP5-20 MinutesLanguage
Listening
Creativity
Listening
Picture
Discover
Interact
Create

RECOMMENDED READING LIST FOR PRE-SCHOOL ABILITY CHILDREN

  • Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes by Blanche Fisher Wright
  • Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever
  • Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose by Scott Gustafson   
  • Richard Scarry’s Best Nursery Tales Ever
  • Classic Fairy Tales by Scott Gustafson

If you prefer individual books that your child can easily hold and muse over, Child’s Play publishes a beautiful collection:

  • There was an Old Lady                                 
  • Goldilocks                                                    
  • Jack and the Beanstalk                                       
  • Three Little Pigs                                              
  • Little Red Riding Hood                                     
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff                                    
  • Hansel and Gretel                                            
  • Cinderella                                                    
  • Little Red Hen                                                          
  • Emperor’s New Clothes                                    
  • Stone Soup                                                   
  • Ugly Duckling                                                       
  • Snow White                                                      
  • Elves and the Shoemaker                              
  • Frog Prince                                                 
  • Gingerbread Man                                          
  • Rapunzel                                                      
  • Sleeping Beauty                                                          
  • Little Mermaid                                                            
  • Princess and the Pea                                        
  • Chicken Licken                                                        
  • Boy Who Cried Wolf                                      
  • Tin Soldier                                                          
  • Town Mouse, Country Mouse                                    
  • Pied Piper                                                 
  • Pinocchio                                                    
  • The Brave Little Tailor                                     
  • Thumbelina

If you are looking for charming stories with good values, these are some of our family favorites:

These stories about three little Swedish girls (triplets) will warm your heart and teach important lessons:

  • Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Little Dog, by Maj Lindman
  • Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the New Dotted Dresses, by Maj Lindman
  • Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Strawberries, by Maj Lindman
  • Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Three Kittens, by Maj Lindman
  • Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and their New Friend, by Maj Lindman
  • Flicka, Ricka, Dicka Bake a Cake, by Maj Lindman                                                                                                                           
  • Flika, Ricka, Dicka and the Big Red Hen

Stories about three little Swedish boys (triplets) that highlight good moral values are also available:

  • Snip, Snap, Snurr and the Yellow Sled                                                                                                                                                  
  • Snip, Snap, Snurr and the Gingerbread                                                                                                                                                
  • Snip, Snap, Snurr and the Big Surprise                                                                                                                                                 
  • Snip, Snap, Snurr and the Buttered Bread                                                                                                                                          
  • Snip, Snap, Snurr and the Red Shoes                                                                                                                                                    
  • Snip, Snap, Snurr Learn to Swim    

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of reading to your children every day!

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COUNTING AND NUMBER CONCEPTS

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NAME OF GAMEPLAYERSAGE RANGETIMEEMPHASIS AND NOTESLEARNING STYLES
The Lady Bug Game2-43 and Up20 MinutesCounting to 15
Addition / Subtraction
Life of Ladybugs and aphids.
Visual
Verbal
Discover
Interact
Old MacDonald Counting Snap23-55-10 MinutesMemory
Naming
Counting
Adding
Picture
Discover
Interact
Sequence For Kids2-43-620 MinutesMatching
Counting
Strategy
Picture
Discover
Interact
Zimbbos1-43 and Up5-10 MinutesCounting
Manual Dexterity
Balance
Hands-On
Move
Interact
Discover
Uncle Wiggily2-44-825 MinutesNumber recognition
Counting
Visual
Interact
Discover
Spot It Pre-School 2-64 and Up10-15 MinutesMatching
Visual
recognition
numbers
Picture
Verbal
Hands-On
Move
Interact
Discover
Color and Shapes Jingo2-30Pre-K to 3rd Grade20 MinutesMatching colors and shapes
Hane-Eye Coordination
Listening
Picture
Discover
Interact
Rukus3-84-Adult5-10 MinutesShape Recognition
Matching
Picture
Discover
Interact

This is the stage when children begin to attach meaning to number words.  Activities that encourage counting something tangible like spaces on a board game or dots on dice help them to connect the number word with the concept of quantity.  The matching games help them learn to look for similar shapes or pictures.  This skill will help them when they start to learn letters and connect them to sounds.

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SOCIAL STUDIES

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NAME OF GAMEPLAYERSAGE RANGETIMEEMPHASIS AND NOTESLEARNING STYLES
Community Jingo2-304 and Up30 MinutesLearn about community by matching picture and oral clues.Listening
Picture
Discover
Relate
Madeline at the White House2-44 and Up10 MinutesCounting to 4
Washington DC landmarks
Listening
Picture
Whole body
Move
Relate
American History Memory Game2-63 and Up20 MinutesMatch images of historical people, monuments, maps, artifacts and symbols.Picture
Hands-On
Discover
Relate
Geo Lotto2-83 and Up20 MinutesAnimals and their continentsPicture
Listening
Discover
Relate
Explore Photo Safari1-43 and Up20+ MinutesLearn about 112 animals placed on a world map. Three levels of play.Picture
Listening
Discover
Relate

Young children love to learn about the people in their community.  Community JINGO works like BINGO but involves matching pictures and/or clues about the people and jobs in your town.  Very young children will just match the pictures but as they grow, they will enjoy hearing the clues and figuring out whom they describe.  Madeline at the White House is an active game in which the game board is your living room or family room and the players are the pawns!  It is based on a charming children’s book of the same title in the Madeline series.

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SCIENCE

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NAME OF GAMEPLAYERSAGE RANGETIMEEMPHASIS AND NOTESLEARNING STYLES
Buggy Bates and Wallace2-63-715 MinutesActive game about animals and counting to 6Picture
Verbal
Move Create
Life on the Farm2-43-720 MinutesAnimals, matching shapes.Picture
Discover
Relate
Ladybug Game2-43 and Up20 MinutesCounting to 15
Addition Subtraction
Life of ladybugs
Picture
Discover
Relate
Wild Cards Baby Animals2-64 and Up20 MinutesUse of 18 pairs of animal cards to play "go fish" and "memory"Picture
Discover
Relate

Science is all around you and connected to everything you do.  Your kitchen is a science lab: water boils, freezes and melts; fire cooks and burns; pudding, Jello and gravy get thick; food spoils if left out too long; mold grows, etc., etc.  Your yard or porch garden is a botany laboratory.  Young children are interested in just about everything they encounter and there are so many things they want to know.  All you really have to do is patiently answer their questions and they will learn more than any curriculum could hope to provide.  The games add an element of fun as well as teaching skills like taking turns and dealing with winning and losing.

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BIBLE

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NAME OF GAMENUMBER OF PLAYERSAGE RANGETIME OF PLAYEMPHASIS & NOTESLEARNING STYLES
VeggieQuest1-63 and older10 minutesChristian ValuesPicture
Discover
Relate
Hermie Card Game2 or 43 and older10 minutesVeggie Tales characters, matchingPicture
Discover
Relate
BIBLE BINGO2-63 and older10 minutesBible themes, Listening and matchingPicture
Listening
Discover
Relate
My Little Bible Memory Game2-63 and older10-15 minutesBible themes, matching
Two levels of play
Picture
Discover
Relate
Bible Old Man Card Game2-64 and older15 minutes24 Bible characters on 48 cards plus the old man.
Matching and Strategy
Picture
Auditory
Discover
Relate
Bible Rummy Card Game2-64 and older20 minutesStory of Noah
Matching
Strategy
Picture
Auditory
Discover
Relate
New Testament Cube Puzzle1-23-610 minutesSix (6) puzzles from New Testament stories on the sides of wooden cubes.Picture
Discover
Create
Baby Moses Puzzle1-23-610 minutesSimple 12 piece puzzlePicture
Discover
Create

Helpful Books:

  • My Take-Along Bible                                                                                                             
  • My Creation Bible                                                                                                              
  • The Rhyme Bible Storybook

These Bible storybooks have very short stories for short attention spans.  The stories in verse help children begin to hear and recognize rhymes, an important auditory skill for reading readiness.