Games for 18- to
I’m a little teapot, short and stout. Here ismy handle. Here is my spout. When I get allsteamed up, hear me shout: Tip me over andpour me out!
Toddlers develop language andphysical skills quickly. A song game suchas I’m a Little Teapot helps them payattention to the song’s words, hold themin their working memory and use themto cue their movements.
Other song games such as Motorboat,Motorboat that require little ones to slowdown and speed up (“step on the gas!”)are excellent for self-control. Imaginaryplay—pretending to cook and eat from apot, for example—starts to move beyondjust copying grown-ups to developingsimple plots.
Encourage this by narrating what
toddlers are doing or asking questions
about what they’re making (“Are you
baking cookies?” and pretend to eat
one, if it’s offered). Provide an array of
household items, toys, props and dress-
up clothes to spark their imaginations.
Games for three- to-
Everyday errands, such as going to thedoctor’s office, are good material for apreschooler’s imaginary play. Talk aboutthe doctor and what she does, and whenyou get home, encourage role-playing.
A grown-up’s white shirt and alanyard attached to a circle of papercan serve as the doctor’s coat andstethoscope. The “doctor” can wrap asock around the “patient’s” upper arm tocheck blood pressure.
Let the child direct the play; adults can
make suggestions, provide support or
ask questions such as “What’s going to
happen next? Does the doctor send baby
to hospital?” but it’s best if they have a
secondary role. As preschoolers grow
older and more confident with learning
rules and structures, they ideally shift
from being regulated by adults to self-
Obstacle courses, skipping and yogaposes (“take a big breath and stretchlike a cat!”) challenge focus and self-regulation and get the wiggles out.
Games for five- to
Simon says, jump in the air! Simon says,turn around! Stick out your tongue!
Fun song games such as Simon Says,Red Light, Green Light and musicalchairs or statues (freeze dance) require