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*Great Games for Young Children: Over 100 Games to Develop Self-Confidence, Problem-Solving Skills, & Cooperation* by Rae Pica


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Great Games for Young Children: Over 100 Games to Develop Self-Confidence, Problem-Solving Skills, & Cooperation
by Rae Pica
128 pages Gryphon House May 2006 Paperback    

With increased pressures in sports today, it can be claimed that in many cases the fun has been forgotten in the games. However, increased research has drawn attention to the developmental, social, and psychological impact of games and the necessity for the right type of games for children. Great Games for Young Children provides descriptions of a variety of games and their areas of developmental benefits. The book is organized into five categories; Circle Games, Concept Games, Musical Games, Cooperative Games, and Outdoor Games.

Circle games allow a sense of belonging and equality that no other formation game can provide. They also provide the opportunity to teach the acceptance of rules and roles in remaining part of the circle. Rae Pica has overhauled the traditional games of Duck, Duck, Goose and Hot Potato in order to reduce waiting times and the singling out of children, which can lead to feelings of “failure”. This section also introduces a number parachute games, including “Let it Snow,” which has the children holding the parachute in a circle and using it to toss cotton balls or other items into the air higher and higher without losing any. This game can be used in lesson plans on snow or to teach counting, cooperation, teamwork, or just plain fun.

Concept games promote social, cognitive and brain development in addition to the physical development aspects inherent in most active games. Traditional games such as Simon Says, Follow the Leader, and Red Light, Green Light focus on listening and observational skills. Some activities within the various categories also include suggested themes the activity is well suited towards. In this section, Fast Firefighters is a fun way to incorporate activity into the theme of occupations. Another scavenger hunt game called Find the Farm Animals adds adventure to the theme of Animals.

Musical games, a favorite for children, contribute to the development of the cognitive domain, and work on memory expansion and increased attention. This section is full of activities set to traditional songs such as Row, Row, Row your Boat, Pop Goes the Weasel, and The Wheels on the Bus. There are also several games incorporating actions to parts of the songs or different musical instruments. Not only do they improve memory and encourage self-expression; they are a favorite with kids of all ages.

Cooperative games are increasingly taking the place of competitive games in curricula due to their success in increasing psychological health, improving self-esteem, and enhancing feelings of belonging. Many of the games introduced in this section provide fun ways to add activity to any learning process. Sticky Popcorn has children enacting the life cycle of popcorn, from the kernel, to the popping, to adding the sticky caramel sauce.

Outdoor games allow children to expend the most energy engaging in loud, messy, and large area activities. Add in some fresh air, some natural light, and the sights and sounds of the universe and you have an environment conducive to fun! This section includes several variations of Tag, activities incorporating the use of balls, and variations on traditional games such as What Time is It, Mr. Dog and Marco Polo.

Great Games for Young Children is a great resource book, not only for teacher and childcare providers but also for parents and all who play a part in providing joy and fun in the life of a child. This book covers a wide range of activities, many of which can be enjoyed in the range of one to many children. A mix of traditional and newly developed games are provided, each one providing a breakdown of skills between cognitive, social/emotional, and physical development as well as themes if applicable. While the focus of the activities covers the age range of three to six, many of the activities can be enjoyed by all ages.

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  Regan Windsor/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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