Toddlers are in that phase when they learn to move around independently, and explore their surroundings. At this developmental stage, children start walking, talking, and recognizing people and things around them. Parents enroll their children in preschool, where they learn basic skills before joining elementary school. At a preschool, children have fun, and enjoy playing with other children of their age. These games are structured in such a way that children learn new things in an entertaining way. Here are some preschool games that would be educational as well as fun for the kids.
Hide and Seek
Hide and seek has been played by children all over the world for centuries. However, for toddlers it is a new, exciting game. The teacher should gather all the children around her, and explain to them that when she closes her eyes, and counts up to 10 or 20, they all should hide. The child who is caught from his hiding place has to find the ones hiding. It may happen that the children won't understand the game initially, but through repetitive playing, they will surely get hold of the concept. This game is also helpful in teaching the children to count.
Bunny race is mostly played outdoors, but if there is enough place in the classroom, it can be played indoors too. Make groups of 4-5 children, and ask them to stand in a line. Instruct them to start hopping like bunnies when they hear the whistle (or any other signal). Reward the child who comes first with a chocolate or a cookie.
Playing chase is a very good game for toddlers, because they love to run around and remain active. The first thing that one needs to do is, remove all the furniture from the classroom so that no one gets hurt while running. The teacher has to show the children how to play the game. The child who is caught first by the teacher, takes the game forward. If there are more than ten children in the class, the game should be played outside, where there is more space to run around freely. Games that involve lot of running and jumping are good for developing the children's motor skills.
The Tagging game
Tagging is a fun game that is enjoyed by most children. Choose or ask a child to volunteer, and start the game. Explain that he/she has to first catch someone, and when a person is caught, they both have to hold hands and catch another person. This continues till it becomes a huge line. Another version of tagging is the freeze game. When a child is caught, he/she has to freeze at that place, till someone else comes and relieves them by touching.
Cat and Mouse Game
For playing this game, you will need hula hoops. Place them in different areas of the room, maintaining some distance between each hula hoop. The teacher has to tell the children that they are all mice, while she is the cat. While she closes her eyes and sings, the children have to run around the room, and when she stops singing, they should all try to get inside one of the rings. The child who is not able to get inside one, is out of the game. Continue this till only one child remains, and declare him/her as the winner.
The Game of Recollection
This is a simple game through which toddlers can be taught to learn, recognize, and recollect shapes, colors, and numbers. Make several cards containing certain shapes like squares, rectangles, circles, etc. Place them face down on the table. Ask the kid to pick one and look at it carefully. Then, take away the card, and ask him/her to search for a matching card. You can repeat this process with numbers and colors too.
For this game, the teacher will have to cut shapes of fish, and write certain instructions on them. Then place them in a box on the floor. Ask each child to pick one fish and perform the activity mentioned in it. Activities could include reciting a poem, singing a song, imitating an animal sound, etc.
These toddler games can be played not only in school, but at home too. Besides these, there are many more educational and entertaining games on the Internet, specially meant for toddlers. They help in developing motor skills, alertness, and hand-eye coordination. Parents and teachers can come up with innovative ideas for toddler games, or to create new ones. Incorporating games in preschools would definitely enhance the growth, and overall development of toddlers.