One of the many wonders of watching social skills blossom in the preschool set is the beginning of group games. Seeing your child play with her friends and siblings and cousins - well, it is like watching the supposedly parallel tracks of her earlier interactions merge onto a crowded interchange of lively play. It is a pure delight. Preschoolers are surely motivated by winning (and they are surely challenged by all that turn-taking and patience), but truly, they just love to play the game. It is innocent and charming - the racing ahead can't be deemed cheating (yet), the frustrations don't make them poor sports (yet), and, best of all, the glee from beginning to end is unmistakable. And why should we be surprised? These little ones are already the pros at figuring out the rules of this crazy game called life. So, go ahead and get started on some of our favorite games for preschoolers.
This a great game to play with a group. My daughter plays it at her preschool and it always gets everyone laughing, adults too! Have everyone sit in a circle. One person is chosen to leave the room (they'll need an adult to help). That person then changes as much as they can about their appearance - the zanier you make it the better. Untuck their shirt or turn it inside out, tie their sweater around their leg, put a sock on their hand, put a little girl's hair in a crazy-looking ponytail, etc. They then re-enter the room and stand in the middle of the circle while the rest of the group takes turns guessing what's different. When everything has been guessed, it's another child's turn.
A new twist on the old game of tag - great for all ages and sure to get your blood pumping. Get a bunch of stickers, any kind will work but I use sheets of colored adhesive dots that are inexpensive and can be found at office supply stores. Place the pile of stickers within easy reach of everyone, then distribute one sheet to each person. Spread out, count to three, and start chasing each other like mad. Unlike traditional Tag, everyone is 'it' in this game. You tag each other by slapping stickers on each other's shirts; when you use up the supply in your hand, run to the pile for more but try not to get tagged on the way! Play as long as you like, or until you all drop from exhaustion. The player with the fewest stickers at the end of the game wins!
This is a great activity for groups of 2-6 children and a non-competitive alternative to musical chairs. Gather up several hoops or jump ropes tied in a loop, one for each child and adult. Place a different instrument (maracas, drums, home-made shakers, xylophones, etc.) in each hoop. Have each child choose where he or she wants to begin playing and start the music. Stop the music and have the kids put down their instrument and find another hoop to move to to play. You can do this until everyone has had a chance to play each instrument or until they get tired of this game!
See the entire list of essential group activities and more on our activities page!
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