Are you looking for tips and tricks for gameschooling preschool? You’ve come to the right place!
This post is part of a new series, Gameschooling by Age Group. This series has been requested by readers for years, but I’ve struggled to write it because I don’t think play should be confined to age groups and grade levels. Why? Perhaps the best way to explain my feelings on age ranges and grade levels would be by sharing a story…
I have three children (ages 11, 10, and 8) and they are all big gamers. That said, my littlest guy has always been the biggest gamer of the bunch. He could play games all day. He often plays games with his imaginary BFF, Mister Pancake, when no one else is available.
Several years ago, my 4-year-old little guy was on the cusp of learning how to read. At that time, our entire family was obsessed with a quirky little card game from Gamewright called GUBS.
The littlest fella was, by far, the most obsessed member of our party. He woke up in the morning and asked to play GUBS. He wanted to play one last round before the day was done. I kid you not- my thumbs were sore from all the shuffling.
We were having a blast and making oodles of memories but there was one problem: the little guy couldn’t read yet and so he needed to be on my team. (Psst! You can modify almost any game and make it work for little ones by playing in teams.)
For those unfamiliar with GUBS, it’s a card game based on an imaginary world. For a little kid, there are lots of unfamiliar words: Velvet Moth, Toad Rider, Esteemed Elder, Super Lure, Haki Flute. I could go on and on.
What I’m trying to say is that GUBS was not the BOB Book of the game world. It was tricky! It was way above his reading level.
My little guy was head over heels with this game. He’s a pretty imaginative little fella and he was completely lost in the land of GUBS. He talked about the world, its characters, and its obstacles morning, noon, and night.
He was determined to play GUBS independently. As much as he loved to play with us, he was tired of being on my team. And do you know what? In a matter of a month or two, he accomplished his goal. He could play GUBS without assistance. He could read all the cards.
And then, he read Fantastic Mr. Fox all by himself! He was a reader and to this day I give full credit to his determination and that quirky little card game.
I want you to consider a few things, and think about these things as they relate to gameschooling your preschooler…
Is GUBS one of those “educational” games that you see on Pinterest? Nope.
Did the box say that it was for 4-year-olds? No.
Does it explicitly teach reading? Not even a little.
Here’s the thing that we tend to forget: Play is crucial for a child’s development and all children learn through play.
Gameschooling offers kids a chance to learn new skills, to practice old ones, to fail, to succeed, and to try again. Games don’t judge. They aren’t threatening. Games don’t assign homework. They don’t correct. Games offer a safe space for learning.
Today, I am going to share a few favorite preschool games for your homeschool, at your request, but I want you to remember GUBS.
When children want to play something, and they want to play it again and again and again, they are learning something important. Don’t get caught up in the ages listed on the box, or the skills you feel your preschooler “should” be learning right now, just follow their interest and they will learn oodles and bunches. Because that’s what kids are born to do!
So, without further ado, let’s get to the tips for gameschooling preschool!
Gameschooling Preschool: How to Grow Awesome Gamers!
Preschoolers need play, play, and more play! Gameschooling can help…
Children need to play, period. They do not need an “educational” game to build skills. If we are being honest, they don’t need a game at all!
Fun fact: the cardboard box was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2005 and the stick was inducted in 2008!
Don’t believe me? Watch some of the TED talks or read some of the articles and books listed here. Play has been scientifically proven to be good for all of us, not just our preschoolers!
When it comes to gameschooling preschool, all your kiddo needs is a willing parent and some white space on the day’s schedule.
Gameschooling preschool is tricky. Keep your eye on the prize with little ones.
I don’t know about you, but I have always loved board games. So, when I first started gameschooling with my kiddos, I assumed things would be … easy.
Well, things weren’t easy. Not even a little bit. The kids were wiggle worms. Their attention span seemed to last milliseconds. My kids squabbled. They cried. Boards were flipped and tempers flared.
But over time, with heaps of patience, I grew gamers. Like anything in parenting or homeschooling, good things take time. The days are long but the years are short.
It gets easier. When gameschooling preschoolers, you must keep your eyes on the prize! I promise you, you will finish an entire game one day. Your kids will smile during it. They will ask to play again and again.
A word about age ranges on games…
I could drone on and on about why I don’t subscribe to the age ranges or grade level listed on a board game box (this goes beyond reading level- the government plays a role and tons of testing is required, especially for games marketed for young children).
I could also tell you why I prefer traditional games over those companies marketed explicitly for educational purposes (you’ll grow out of those SimplyFun games quickly- as we did- but you’ll play traditional ones for decades), but I will spare you.
Some of our favorite game companies for this age group include:
- Peaceable Kingdom
- Educational Insights
I’m sharing the best resources for gameschooling preschool below, so keep reading!
Make your gameschooling work for your family…
In a second, I’ll be sharing the best preschool games. However, I want to remind you that you don’t need to stick to those age and grade levels. Is your 4-year-old interested in maps? Let him play GeoBingo! Is she obsessed with animals? She might love Cardline Animals!
Is your daughter’s doll obsessed with flags right now? Let her teach the doll how to play Flag Frenzy!
I want to encourage you to do what works for your kiddos and your unique family. You’re a homeschooler after all! You’re already used to blazing your own trail. Don’t be afraid to do what works for you when it comes to gameschooling preschool.
Save time and download a hardcopy of this list. Grab your FREE Preschool Gameschool Resource List here:
Our favorite gameschooling resources for preschoolers
Here are the best resources for gameschooling preschool, listed in random order:
Homeschooling preschool resources:
Read the other articles in the Gameschooling By Age series:
If you need help with homeschooling preschool, check out Other Goose
Other Goose did not exist when I was homeschooling preschool, but I love their philosophy. We interviewed Erin Loechner, the founder of Other Goose, on The Homeschool Sisters Podcast. You can check out the Other Goose episode here.
Looking for more resources? You might like these articles:
- Gameschooling: A Resource Page
- Books: A Resource Page
- Gameschooling on a Budget: How to Play More without Breaking the Bank!
- How to Grow Gamers with Amazing Gateway Games
- Gameschooling by Subject: The Best Games for Your Homeschool
- How To Play Games With a Toddler Underfoot
- 10 Creative Ways To Amuse Toddlers During Game Time
- How to Enjoy Board Games With Toddlers