Welcome to the Carnival of Play! PhD in Parenting is sponsoring a Carnival of Play and since we enjoy playing so much at our house, I thought it fitting to join in the fun. No carnival is complete without cotton candy, so as promised, I’m providing some courtesy of Jump for Joy.
I was at the doctor’s office this week (I thought I had an ear infection but it was just inflamed) and the wait was quite long. There was a father there with a 2 year old boy and a baby in a car seat. They had been waiting for over an hour! Both the father’s and the boy’s patience was running thin. I had Elli with me and wanted to help, but my attempts were a bit awkward. Then the lady next to me-of grandmother age-started talking to the boy and the next thing I knew he was leaning on her leg and naming all his body parts.
We spend an awful lot of time waiting places: post office, grocery store, doctor’s office, car, oil change place, clothes shopping. The list goes on and on! I’ve been gathering an arsenal of games to distract, entertain and educate that can be played anywhere with what’s on hand.
The Finger Game
Ask child to hold hand up showing all the fingers. Starting with the pinkie, point to each finger and say the child’s name. Two syllable names work best. It goes like this: Sammi, Sammi, Sammi, Sammi, woops, Sammi, woops, Sammi, Sammi, Sammi, Sammi. Say woops as you slide down the pointer finger to the thumb, then the name, then woops as you slide back up again.
Variations: We use everyone’s name we can think of: Mommy, Daddy, Elli, friends, Grandma, Grandpa.
This game helps teach children the structure of language, specifically syllables and words.
Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
Ask child to identify different body parts. If you’re brave enough, go ahead and sing the song with your child. This is a great one for the car!
Variations: Ask “What’s this?” as you point to a body part, eyes, ears, chin, uvula!
For some reason, this is a hard one for kids to resist. They love knowing the answer to a question.
Go on a Letter Hunt
Look for anything that has words. Ask your child to identify any letters or words they already know. Depending on your child’s age and skill, you can say the letter’s name and they point to the letter or you can point to a letter and ask for its name.
Variations: This is a great time to introduce new letters. I like to look for letters that go with objects Sammi currently loves or objects that are close at hand. For example, at the grocery store, finding an A when you are buying apples.
Finding a way to make the connection between letter, sound and word helps solidify the concept for your child and gives you something to refer back to the next time you talk about the letter.
Old MacDonald Had a Farm
Practice animal sounds! You can sing the song, again if you’re brave, or just name animals and have your child say the sound. Kids are so cute when they make animal sounds. This game will surely melt the hearts of any who are also waiting near you.
Practice counting from 1-10 or whatever numbers your child is working on. We sometimes sing the numbers to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Begin again! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10”
Variations: Count objects you see. You can count fingers, toes, cars, trees, houses, magazines, anything!
Sometimes waiting is stressful and it can be hard to think of what to do to entertain your child. Just remember that play can happen anywhere with whatever resources you have on hand. Not only will your children be occupied, but you’ll also be distracted and the time will go faster for everyone!