10 Fun Learning Games You Can Play with Little Ones to Keep Them Engaged

You want to give your child a headstart on schoolwork. It’s a noble goal. At the same time, it’s also a daunting one. Education requires a four-year degree. You’re kind of just winging it. Is there a way to leverage targeted learning techniques in your home without overwhelming your child and stressing yourself out?

Absolutely. Learning games are a great way to bond with your child while also emphasizing early literacy and preschool skills.

In this article, we take a look at ten learning games you can play with your child to keep them engaged.

In this article, we take a look at ten learning games you can play with your child to keep them engaged.

A Quick Note

These lessons are designed to be fun above anything else. If your child isn’t enjoying the game, or responding well to the concepts that you are trying to emphasize, move on to something else. At this stage of development, you can do more harm than good by pushing your child too hard.

Make having fun your ultimate goal.

1. Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

Learning the alphabet is one of the most foundational early literacy skills. However, preschool-aged kids are not biologically suited for long deskbound learning sessions. Make the lesson more engaging by getting them on their feet.

Spread letters throughout the house. You can make them yourself on paper, or buy letter cards from an education store.

This will keep them engaged in the lesson and trigger a deeper memory response— people naturally recall things better when they are moving.

2. Use Different Mediums

There are many different types of learning. You should focus on activities that appeal to all of your child’s senses. While excessive screen time is never ideal, consider integrating the occasional education video.

Your child will appreciate the break from desk work and may retain the information better if they are a visual learner.

3. Sorting with Toys

Sorting is an important preschool school. It gets children to think about recognizing differences and paying better attention to detail. Consider using toys, or other objects that they find interesting to boost their engagement.

4. Greater or Less Than with Legos

Using blocks to teach greater or less than is effective for several reasons. Like our suggestion, it will appeal to your child’s desire to play. It’s a tactile experience that also builds STEM-related skills.

Blocks are also just a great visual aid. They can see, touch, and experience the things they built in a way that is much less abstract than a simple drawing on paper would be.

5. Science Experiments

There are a million awesome science experiments you can do at home, each of which is designed to introduce your child to scientific concepts in a fun and engaging way. Walking water experiments, the classic “pencil-in-a-bag-filled-with-water,” making your own slime— even baking bread.

A quick search will reveal dozens of options that require nothing more than basic home supplies.

6. Look for Colors— Outside!

Taking your child out for a color scavenger hunt as you go on a walk is a great way to help them engage actively with school concepts while also developing their mindfulness skills.

As mentioned earlier, people tend to recall lessons better when they can connect them to experiences. Your child will remember green in the context of leaves much better than they would if they were just looking at it on a piece of paper.

7. Make Patterns— with toys!

You’re probably wondering— how many more times are they going to recommend digging into the toy box?

Well, what can we say? It’s an effective technique. Making patterns with toys keeps your child engaged while also deepening their exploration of the concept. Toy patterns invite a compelling question: how are we categorizing these items?

Type of toy? Shape? Size? Color?

In asking this question, you are deepening the child’s engagement with the concept.

8. Memory Games

Matching memory games are a great way to engage your child’s active thinking skills. You can buy these games in the form of matching cards or make them yourself. It’s a fun way to break up lessons while remaining educational.

Pro-tip— you can use colors or letters to further explore concepts as your child plays.

9. Sing Anything. Sing Everything!

While nonspecific, you’ll be amazed be effective singing is with young children. Marry Poppins was on to something! Whether it’s the alphabet, or body parts, or numbers, your child will naturally remember information better when it is folded into a catchy tune.

Make songs a regular part of your at-home learning routine.

10. Play Board Games

Board games are a great way to help your child learn important social skills that will help them when they reach school age. Some board games are deliberately designed to be educational. Even those that are not can teach communication, collaboration, coping, and probably a bunch of other skills that don’t start with the letter “c.”

What Do These Recommendations Have in Common?

When it comes to early childhood learning, your ultimate goal should be to make sure that your child is having fun. There is no point in pushing too hard and burning out. Frustration is an enormous motivation killer and an overworked three or four year old may leave your lessons with a soured notion of what it means to be in school.

Your goal should instead be to prepare them for skills they can eventually leverage in a classroom to learn better. You’re giving them a head start while recognizing that their ultimate job as a human who has only recently graduated from toddlerdom is to have fun.

In many cases, it’s best not to look at these recommendations as “lessons,” at all. Put all your emphasis on the “game,” component. Have fun with your child. Enjoy every giggle you manage to produce and do so knowing that you are creating lasting memories.

This is a situation where the journey is more important, and indeed more enjoyable than the destination.

They will learn when they are ready.


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TWL Working Mom

Jennifer is the owner of TWL Working Moms. She is a full time teacher, a mom & step mom, and NBCT Facilitator. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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