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We are just now starting to explore games with my oldest son. We started by making up our own “Gone Fishing” game. It’s been a great way to practice skills such as turn-taking, social skills, and rule-following. Games also give my munchkin the opportunity to play while learning age-appropriate concepts (colors, numbers, etc.) The game we made up today was really a lot of fun and goes along well with the arctic theme we’ll be focusing on for most of January.
First off, not all games need to be purchased from the store. While there are great pre-made games out there that our family just couldn’t do without, there is so much value in your child watching you create a game from your own imagination! I love the fact that this game is unique and open-ended. The kids will be the ones making up all the rules! What a great opportunity to work/play cooperatively with me as the parent, or with other preschoolers! (and what kid doesn’t make up rules as they go anyways?) With that being said, this game requires just a few household items and can be ready to use (and re-use) in just a few minutes 🙂


I started by sketching the simple outline of a penguin on my stick and painting the shapes the appropriate colors.
Once I glued on the googly eyes it was really starting to look like an adorable little penguin 🙂

Before inviting my son to come explore the penguin, I collected different colors and kinds of clothespins along with two die (a colors one and a number dot one). I set everything out on a blue circle tray and then called my son over to play with me. Of course he asked “How you play this, Mama?” (don’t you just adore toddler talk?!?) I asked him “Well, how do you want to play this game?” He had no trouble making up his own rules!
He started by telling me we had to roll the dice. I was a super proud mommy when he rolled a three and correctly counted the dots on the dice (one-to-one correspondence is a work in progress for us)! We worked together on placing the clothespins on the numbers on the penguins tummy 🙂
He then changed the game and decided we needed to roll the colors dice. With this one, he didn’t want to match clothespins on the penguin, though. He just wanted to keep rolling the dice and “reading” the colors he rolled to me. I didn’t stop and try to correct his game rules by insisting on consistency, I just rolled along with the changes and played as he lead me. In the end, the game had no sense of order or consistent rules. But we had fun. We practiced numbers, counting, turn-taking, colors, fine motor skills with the clothespins, and creativity (it takes a lot of creativity to make your own game up!) Then the game ended as easily as it begun- he walked away as something else caught his attention. No tears from losing or fights from cheating. In a proper preschool setting I would leave this game out as a center to return to as often as the preschooler pleases. In our house, I have it up on a high shelf so little brother doesn’t take apart every.single.clothespin . 😉
Have you and your tot tried making up a game on your own? If so, I’d love to know more about it! Leave me a comment below so I (and other readers) can gain more ideas from you!
Looking for more fun preschooler ideas? Don’t forget to check out how we Investigated Levers as part of a STEM series!


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