Saturday, July 26, 2014

20 of Our Favorite Games and Toys!

As promised, here are 20 of my favorite games/toys to work on social interaction and student engagement. They are in no specific order but can all be found easily on Amazon!

Two quick tips before we get started. . .

We often offer this little visual for kids to hold.  If they have a hard time waiting their turn and keep their hands to themselves, it helps shape and support better skills.

Then we use our aided language mini books to support kids in requesting a turn, and sharing what color or shape they would like.  You can read more about aided language boards and communication tools by clicking here.  

1.     Let's Go Fishin' Game by Pressman Toys great for color matching, impulse control and taking turns. 

For kids with slow reactions and limited fine motor control, we add rough Velcro to the fish and soft Velcro to the pole to make it easier for them to catch fish.

We also add a put-in feature for after they catch the fish.  This gives the game a little structure as they have a place for the fish after they're caught and know that the game is over when all the fish are gone.  It is also great for sorting practice. 

2.     Don't Break the Ice by Hasbro is great for turn taking during an indoor recess in the winter or for a snow, or polar animal unit.

3.     Drill and Design by Educational Insight is great for fine motor practice and a community helper or building thematic unit. We have used it as a motivating toy for after work time too. It is loved by many and keeps kids engaged for a long time.

4.      Whac-a-Mole Arcade Game by Mattel is an excellent tool for working on impulse control, attention to task, listening and hand-eye coordination.

5.      Candy Land Castle Game by Hasbro helps kids with turn taking, sharing, communication and colors and shapes.  (Unfortunately, this one is outrageously expensive. . .maybe it's a garage sale find you can search for! :)) 

We often add an ‘I don’t need that one’ tub for unneeded pieces to prevent stimming or throwing pieces inappropriately. It also helps the kids visually see that they are
done when their gingerbread person is full by not having extra pieces laying around. 

6.      Snail’s Pace Race by Ravensburger is a great color game where everyone wins and the kids can cheer for the colored snails rather than themselves!

7.      Critter Clinic Toy Vet  by B. Toys develops fine motor and problem solving skills.  We have used it for mystery motivation by programing various treats behind each door and allowing them to pick a door to open after they complete their work.

8.     Crocodile Dentist by Winning Moves help with turn taking, impulse control, prediction, and your dental health unit in February. 

9.     Lucky Ducks by Hasbro aids in turn taking, impulse control, and color and shape recognition. 

We use little mini-craft foam ponds for the kids to put the picked ducks to structure it up a bit and show them visually which color is winning and/or finished. 

10.  Perfection by Hasbro is great for fine motor, attention to task and increasing speed. 

The kids loved it with our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Unit using this poem:

11.   Melissa and Doug Hide and Seek Board by Melissa and Doug is a fantastic tool for developing problem solving and can even be used as a work task. 

We often use this aided language board to facilitate communication with this activity. 

NOTE: You truly can make a game-specific aided language board for each game. I have started doing that and then sliding the board in the box or tub when I store the activity so it is readily available each time we get it out.

12.   Pop the Pig by Goliath Games (the new version) is great for color matching and requesting.  You can use it with your farm or nutrition unit. 

13.   Diggity Dog by International Play Things is awesome for turn taking, and listening skills.  We also use it for our pet unit.

14.  Elefun by Hasbro is great for working together, hand-eye coordination, and tracking. It can be a fun large group activity. 

15.   What’s in Cat’s Hat  by Wonder Forge is an excellent tool for guessing, predicting, listening and using your five senses.  Perfect for a Dr. Seuss Unit come March.

16.   Bulls Eye Ball by Hasbro helps with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.  Several of our students have used it as a motivator.  "First work, then Bulls Eye Ball."  (When all the balls have scored, it is time to go back to work.)

17.   Melissa and Doug Magnet Dress Up by Melissa and Doug is great for matching and working toward self-help and clothing awareness. 

We often use these visual cards to help our kids dress the superhero boy kit correctly. 
Side one has an actual photo of how to dress Joey.

Or side two that is an icon image of what we want them to dress him like
(like a fireman, knight, etc.), which can be a little more challenging since it has less visual cues.

18.   Pop Up Pirate by Tomy is great for turn taking, listening, and waiting your turn.

19.   Guess Who Game by Hasbro helps with listening and question skills.  They have a new version that has sea life, food, pets, and vehicles great for thematic units.  Almost like a guess what!  The kids love it. 

For my boys, we programmed the original guess who game with family members photos a trick I learned from Family Fun Magazine!

20.   Mr. Mouth Feed the Frog Game by Tomy is great for turn taking, hand-eye coordination and encouraging others.  It can be used for a frog, pond life or insect unit!

So there you have it...20 fun games and activities that pre-K kids love!  We use them in all different activities in the classroom...small groups, rug play, social small group, free play, direct instruction, large group and even a few at independent work in some fashion. 

Please let me know about fun games I missed!  It would be wonderful to have an even longer list for people to access.   Also any modifications or adaptions you have create for these games or others are welcome!  It is great to be a community of learners.  Until next time, happy game night or day!!  -Lindy


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