This particular group of kids in my church class like new things. They are always interested when I bring in something new or different. It doesn't need to be something completely novel, just something new for them or something used in a new and different way.
Recently our curriculum suggested some challenge games for our group. I figured we would try them out. Materials were ordinary materials--paper plates, plastic cups, straws, tissue paper squares. These were the suggested challenges/games:
- Build a cup pyramid with the cups.
- Build a tower with the cups and plates.
- Blow cups across (and off) the table using straws.
- Move tissue paper squares from one plate to another using a straw.
The curriculum suggested using a timer and challenging kids to do tasks in one minute (or other designated time). We didn't use a timer and just let the kids explore.
They did build towers and variations on pyramids.
They blew the cups across the table. One boy figured that two straws would be better than one.
But he learned that one kept the air more focused.
He did move the paper with a straw.
And then with multiple straws.
It was interesting to see the children explore and experiment. After trying the suggested challenges, the children began to create their own challenges and games. (See the straw tossing game post.)
I think that children are looking for challenges, things that cause them to think and to try new things. Gather some familiar items and create games or challenge your children to create games. If your children are older or want more challenge, add in a timer. But I'll bet more of your kids will enjoy just playing and creating new games.
Maybe the group I have now is different. Every time we play a game they seem to want to invent new rules or new ways to play. But I remember what both David Elkind and Peter Gray said about games. Games are a way that children begin to understand rules; they begin to understand how to function in society, in a community.
Your challenge games can help preschoolers develop skills to be good citizens later in life.
Not bad for a few straws, cups, and plates.