Educational Games for Kids Under 3

Children under three are learning and developing new skills every day. A parent is the child's first and most important playmate and teacher. Games, like the ones below, allow parents and children to spend time together, and bond and learn at the same time.

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Games to Play with Children under Three

Kids under three are bursting with energy and enthusiasm for the world around them. At this age, problem solving, social, cognitive and motor skills are developed through playing. As a parent, your involvement in play is important and will have an impact on your child's development. With a little creativity and imagination, you can incorporate items you have in your household, such as cups, bowls and food, into games that your child will enjoy and learn from.

Dance with Music

Dancing to music improves gross motor skills and increases physical activity. Additionally, emotional and social development occurs as your young child expresses her feelings through music and dance and learns to cooperate and interact with others.

Dancing to songs, such as the Hokey Pokey or the Itsy Bitsy Spider, will teach your child to listen and follow directions. These types of songs also help your child understand the connection between words and actions. Younger children can be carried around as you dance. As your child gets older, dancing can become a fun, interactive activity. Any type of music is fun for kids to dance to, so get a variety of music and dance away.

You can enhance your child's creativity by making musical instruments from various items around the house. For example, empty containers can become drums. If you don't have anything to create instruments with, imaginary instruments can be just as effective.

Puppets

You can purchase puppets at the store or make them out of old socks and buttons. Your child can be creative with his puppets by inventing voices and characters for them. Playing with puppets will help your child learn new vocabulary words and also help her develop language and listening skills. You child will also work on his social skills through cooperation and playing with others. Very young children can develop their visual accuracy and speed by following the puppet's movements. Older children will improve their finger and hand coordination by manipulating the puppets.

Play Dough

Play dough helps children develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Babies and toddlers will enjoy squishing it around. As your child grows, she can explore her creativity by making objects out of it. Using rollers and cutters on the dough will help develop fine motor skills. You can build communication skills with your child by discussing what he has created.

This play dough recipe will encourage your young child to explore shaping objects while using her senses, because the dough will have the color and smell of Kool-Aid.

You will need:

  • One cup of flour
  • One cup of water
  • ½ cup of salt
  • Cooking oil, about three tablespoons
  • One package of Kool-Aid, unsweetened

Mix the dry ingredients in a saucepan. Slowly add the water and oil over medium heat until the mixture turns into dough. Let it cool. Once it's cool, you can allow your child to play with it.

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