One of the ways to stimulate and encourage development in children at a cognitive, psychomotor, socio-emotional level and more; and that in turn the little ones enjoy fun activities and full of a lot of learning, it is through the Didactic Games.
What are educational games for children?
During childhood we can observe how play becomes an essential part of the usual activities at this stage of life, since through it we can respond to the need of children to observe, imagine, experiment, touch , express, and even dream.
This impulse makes children want to explore, dominate and give structure to everything in their environment, making possible a healthy and calm growth in the physical, intellectual, emotional, among other aspects.
This is how the didactic game becomes a participatory instructional tool at different levels and forms, through a playful, pedagogical and academic model that stimulates and promotes the development of abilities and skills in children, working specifically in the following areas:
- Physical-biological: which makes up the faculty of movement, quick reflexes, manual dexterity, coordination and senses.
- Socio-emotional: which includes naturalness, socialization, liking, expression of feelings, hobbies, problem solving and self-confidence.
- Cognitive-verbal: made up of imagination, creativity, mental agility, retentiveness, attention, creative thinking, elocution, analysis of knowledge, understanding of the world, logical reasoning, following instructions, range of vocabulary and expression of ideas.
- Academic: it is the taking of information from various subjects, but above all reading, spelling and mathematics or where the child has more efficiency.
It is emphasized that the different didactic games must be presented in a simple way and with fun qualities that encourage children to participate in this activity, which encompasses both play and learning.
Characteristics of educational games
Below we present the most important characteristics that refer to educational games, among them we have:
- It must contain an additional educational objective to the particularity of also presenting itself as a game full of fun.
- Simplicity should prevail, adapting each one to the standards of each age, as well as to the capacities of each child.
- Each of the areas of development previously mentioned above, such as: socio-emotional, cognitive-verbal, among others; must be compulsorily stimulated.
- The game should be educational and fun at the same time.
- Produces in children interdependent work skills of mutual collaboration, to carry out tasks together.
- Fosters the need for decision making.
- They constitute dynamic educational activities, limited in time and combining variants.
- It hastens children's adaptation to the dynamic social processes of their lives.
- Creativity plays a determining role in these games, as it allows the release and potential of ideas and imagination in each activity.
- It should be a voluntary activity, the child should never be forced to participate in it.
- It has to be enjoyable, the game must please those who play it, and it must not be a source of frustration in any way.
- The rules, conditions and limits in the game must be met, therefore before starting this point must be explained to the participants.
- It favors the expression of feelings and behaviors that we usually keep inside ourselves.
- It serves as a socializing trigger, since teamwork, cooperation and coexistence are emphasized
- Produces prolonged moments of concentration.
- Motivates children to acquire and/or delve into topics or skills that are unknown or that they simply do not master.
Types of educational games
There are several types of didactic games, and through them you can use training or teaching on any topic of interest from mathematics, letters, geometric shapes, geographies, to languages.
However, each group of games is designed to develop a specific function in addition to learning, among them we have:
- Affective and emotional games: that help develop tolerance and solidarity.
- Intellectual games: that promote concentration, analysis, logic and observation.
- Behavioral games: that encourage perseverance, discipline and respect.
It is important to note that the types of games must also be differentiated by age, motivated by the fact that, depending on the age range for which these games are intended, they can be focused on different areas.
An example of this is found in didactic games for babies from 1 to 3 years old, which are used to help in their physical and intellectual progress by training coordination, logic, speech stimulation, imagination and learning.
However, all games may be shared with adults for the enjoyment of children and the benefit of all participants. Next, we will mention some of the most popular or well-known types of educational games, these are:
Memory games: it is a game in which tokens are used and through this the visual or auditory capacities of the brain are favored.
Puzzle: used to stimulate cognitive skills; thus to help children to compose graphic synopses and encourage logical functions. Therefore, the older the children, the smaller the size of the pieces and the greater the number of tiles in the puzzle.
Guessing games: they are used to develop logic and thinking, as well as to increase the speed of learning.
Block games: games with which children begin to learn about fine motor skills, spatial concepts and the difference in textures.
Games with the alphabet and numbers: they are used so that children are able to learn reading and writing.
Coloring games: they are used to encourage creativity and motor skills in children. In addition, it stimulates the linking of ideas.
Stories and Tales: there are many texts with images that can be used to teach children about various contents related to daily life and education; as well as children can be encouraged to use their imagination creating stories that include what they have learned.
How to make educational games at home?
There is a wide range of ideas and steps on how to make educational games at home. This is a good alternative to give as a gift to children and that can be easily made with what is at hand, that is, with recyclable materials.
Our creativity is essential for execution, through it we can develop educational games that will later become wonderful recreational and educational activities that will stimulate children's imagination and develop their intellect
There are many ideas that can be elaborated, the important thing about this is knowing how to use each element or material to make an action figure. Likewise, it can later be painted and decorated.
For example: using a cereal box you can make some carts to play with, or make cutouts of squares, color them in figures in pairs that we can use later as a memory game.
Here we will show you some specific ideas, using simple materials, so you can learn how to make some educational games at home:
Maze of balls
This type of game is perfect for developing fine motor skills. For its use, the child will focus on his concentration to get the ball to reach its final destination without falling into any of the holes.
To make this game tool you only need a very shallow cardboard box. The more dimensions the box has, the more fun the game is as the board becomes a real challenge.
Use a thick sheet of cardboard to make it stronger. In such a case that the cardboard does not have these characteristics, join two sheets of it with glue. With another piece of cardboard, we must make divisions similar to walls or directions of the maze, which must later be added with glue to the board.
Then, make different holes that are a little larger than the diameter of a ball. Once everything is glued and dry, the final stage arrives, in which the little ones can collaborate with the painting and decoration of their ball maze.
This game is ideal for working on the patience of the little ones, as well as the ability to position pieces correctly. As for its preparation, it is super simple, you can do it in various ways, such as printing a character from your children's favorite cartoon and then cutting out pieces to start playing.
As you can also color on any material such as: cardboard, cardboard, paper, among others; to later divide the material into several pieces, finally leaving the pieces to start putting the puzzle together.
Discovering emotions and understanding what produces them is essential for children's emotional growth. There are different games that can be made to represent the emotional states of the human being, and one of them is to draw different faces with various expressions.
It is important to emphasize that all these faces must have the same dimension in their size, as well as their outline (round, square, whichever you prefer). Once the faces are drawn, they are all cut in half. In this way, children will be able to form different faces by combining different emotions and this is how they will learn about emotions while playing.
Additionally, another very practical, simple and highly plastic game can be made to accustom children to the different facial expressions. In this case, we take or cut a sheet of cardboard in a round shape.
And then we create the eyebrows, eyes, nose and mouth on cardboard, which we are going to fix with a tack. With this activity, children will be able to create different moods by moving the parts that make up the face.
Learn the letters
Through this game children will learn to form the different letters and it is ideal to help them in their learning process.To do this you only need a wooden board or a cork board and 9 fairly thick nails
Then take the nails, and place them with the help of a hammer in the shape of a square in the following way: each edge of the square contains 3 nails and in the center of it the remaining nail is placed. To form the letters you will need elastic bands or rubber bands, if you can get them in different colors it is better, since this would visually make the game more attractive.
Besides, you must have either in a notebook, book or cardboard, the representations of each one separately and in capital letters of the letters of the alphabet.
This game can be used for children who are learning to distinguish and name colors, as well as review those who have recently assimilated them. It is very practical. The little ones will like it a lot since they are very intuitive and are usually based on observation and practice.
The materials that we will need to make this game are balls, paper cylinders, some small containers and paints. First, paper balls are made because they are cheaper, and then the balls, cylinders, and containers are painted in different colors.
Once everything is dry, proceed to stick the cylinders, it can be on the wall or on a cardboard sheet that can be attached to something. We place the containers under the cylinders according to the color that corresponds to them and in a separate bowl the paper balls also painted.
Finally we proceed to play and enjoy the children, who must deposit the colored balls according to the color of the corresponding cylinder, once it descends it will fall into the container of the same color and then, once finished the round, take the balls again and start playing again learning the colors.
This type of game allows children to learn about the different dimensional shapes that exist.
The great thing is to use a box with holes with the exact shapes of the geometric figures to be used, where the children must enter each figure in the space that corresponds to it. This game can be easily made using a cardboard box, which can be decorated and painted according to the children's own creativity..