While playing games is fun for young children, it is important to realize how educational these activities are. From the object permanence (recognizing that things continue to exist even when out of sight) picked up while playing peek-a-boo to the sophisticated strategic thinking developed when playing Monopoly, little ones are expanding and perfecting all sorts of physical, cognitive, and social capacities as they simultaneously are learning many significant concepts and principles.
Although peers may eventually become their preferred playmates, during the early years, it is parents and grandparents with whom children most like to interact. And while standard games can be intriguing and exciting, it is often the games that parents and grandparents create themselves that generate the most enjoyment and education.
My wife and I would joke that we were extremely lazy grandparents. We would tell everyone that when the grandchildren were over, we would play “hide and no seek.” We would tell the kids to hide, and then we wouldn’t look for them. But seriously, we did create a game that was a favorite of our grandchildren when they were roughly between two and four years of age.
It was called “sending smooches.” Grandma would kiss the child then instruct him or her to “deliver that to Grandpa.” Upon receipt of the kiss, Grandpa would kiss the child then instruct him or her to “deliver that to Grandma.” The kids never seemed to tire of going back and forth. And we would make the game progressively more challenging by moving around the house and/or by making the directions increasingly specific and/or complex (for instance, “deliver this to Grandpa’s nose” or “deliver this to Grandma twice”). So in addition to being immersed in affection, merriment, and rigorous exercise, our grandchildren were actively expanding their linguistic and memory skills.
Have you created a special game that you and your young children enjoy playing together? If so, how about sharing it with the Romp n’ Roll community?