As a preschool teacher and mother of 3, I’m always with children. And when I’m not, I’m usually thinking about them while planning the next day’s games and activities. I love to have fun with them in open, creative ways. But it’s important that it’s always with an educational angle and my goals clearly defined. Successful school projects are great treats to bring home to my eager bunch. Their feedback is valuable and the hours we spend together in constructive, creative play is enriching and satisfying for all of us.
Now that school is over, I must admit that the long lazy days of summer get my creative juices going in a whole new way. The pressure of the school curriculum is off and it’s just me and my kids for a few whimsical months. I get to focus on what I want to do and on what each child needs. But everything is up for grabs andwill probably find its way into my classroom the following year. My motto is: if it’s good for my kids, it’s good for my class. (By the way, homeschoolers will love these ideas too.)
Let’s take Marni’s Memory Game as an example.
It’s a wonderful activity to develop fine motor skills and can be adapted to any age and a variety of themes. Marni is my 5 year old. She needs more practice cutting, gluing, ripping, peeling, taping, etc. and she loves memory games. So we decided to make our own. As I always do, I immediately turned to Hygloss Products to find the perfect, high quality craft supplies to carry out my imagination’s design.
She chose her favorite color poster board (yellow) and her favorite categories of stickers (shells and fish) and we made a memory game together. We needed 26 squares for each category, which I drew and she cut, with my help of course. Then she peeled all the stickers and we put them right in the center of each square shape together. She was so excited about the colors and fine detail of each sticker that we had to work quickly before she stuck them to everything in sight. We made doubles of each card and then covered them with big clear packing tape to make them virtually indestructible. You can also laminate them if you have a machine. This has become practically the only game we play since school has ended.
Next year, I intend to introduce this idea several times during the year as a theme based game. I would pair the children up, or make groups of four or larger, and let them make their own memory games in the same way. Before the project, I would introduce the learning unit and connect it to the stickers or pictures we use on the cards. If our unit lasts for a week, then the memory game would be a great incentive for the whole week, first as an activity and then as a game. You can make as many or as few cards as you want depending on the size of the group playing. The possibilities are truly endless. And you’ve successfully combined fine motor skills development, a learning unit, memory enhancement, and playing together in one activity.
By the way, don’t be surprised if the kids beat you every time. I haven’t won yet.