Great games to prepare your child for school
A teacher once told me the best thing I could do to prepare my first child for school was to play with her. I raised an eyebrow – really? Not teach her to count to 10 or write her name? No, she said quite categorically, children learn many different skills at home by simply having fun and playtime is the single most useful activity for any child.
The best games for pre-school development
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- Packed with colourful activities
- Focuses on early English, maths & science skills
- Supports your child’s physical and social development
Tackling shyness can be harder, but "Having 'play dates' at home where your child is most comfortable, and with children they know, can help start to build social confidence. At first you might need to 'facilitate' their play. Start them off with an activity and then slowly withdraw, leaving them to it."
Role play and why it's important
Dr Harriet Tenebaum is a child psychologist at Kingston University who specialises in play. She says helping children learn about their feelings will stand them in good stead for coping with the many new experiences they will face at school: "In our own work, we have found that explaining ('he feels happy and sad because he likes the new bicycle, but thinks he might fall off') and getting children to explain why people feel the way they do ('why does he feel happy and sad at the same time?’) increases children's emotional understanding." For particularly shy youngsters (and parents who may feel self-conscious) puppets are a great way to ‘act out’ a variety of situations and emotions. Or use fuzzy felt and make faces change expressions!
5 great games to help prepare your child for school
- Building a tower from blocks: this deals with issues of frustration and taking turns.
- Action songs and rhymes: knowing the right moves and joining in help instil confidence and co-operation.
- Painting and drawing: ‘quiet’ activities involve sitting down and concentrating for short periods of time.
- Inviting other children to play: this can help overcome shyness and leaving them to play together prepares them to cope with separation anxiety.
- Packing away toys: encourages listening to instructions and co-operation.
We also love BBC Bitesize's Starting Primary School interactive game, My first Day at School. Help your child create their character and pick a school jumper, then explore the school and find all the different activities, from the register to painting time, lunchtime and play time in the playground!