Tag Archives: Homemade Games

My Little Helper: Grocery Label list (or fun scavenger hunt)

My cousin recommended this idea after seeing J’s grocery list on this post (My Little Helper: Grocery Shopping) and we finally tried it out at the store.

Prep: I did a quick search for some of the logos of items on my grocery list, copy and paste and I’m done.  The internet makes this so simple and quick!

I didn’t pull it out at the grocery store until I knew we were about to start hitting the items on the list so basically we’d already gone through produce and meats.  J’s list also did not include everything on my list.  It was funny how he immediately knew what certain items were when I handed him the list.  Like he knew that the Yoplait logo meant yogurt or the Lactaid logo was milk. This not only keeps them busy while shopping, it was also great practice with word recognition and letter recognition.   

J really liked this, even better than the other grocery lists honestly.  I think it helped too that I gave him a highlighter to check off his list rather than the normal crayon or pen :)

For younger ones, I would put the items in the order that you’ll reach them in the store. Another thing that works well is to fold the list in half or in thirds so they are just looking at a few items on the list at a time. 

You could use this as a scavenger hunt rather than a grocery list that kids would love (which means they’re focused while you shop!).  And this would actually make the list even easier to create since it wouldn’t matter which items you included.

Age attempted: 33 months

Homemade Game using Magnetic Pompoms

We recently played this game and I wanted to hurry and get it posted in case anyone out there was making Magnetic Pompoms to give as a Christmas gift.  All you have to do is add dice to the gift for an extra activity!

What you need:  Magnetic pompoms (or any type of marker really, dot markers, M&Ms, coins,…); Magnetic surface, Die (I found extra large foam dice at Target for $2), and your playing board of choice (you will need enough for each player to have their own board) 

How to play:  1st player rolls the die and gets to place that number of pompoms onto their board.  2nd player follows. Continue until someone fills all spaces on their board with pompoms to win.

Simple enough!  This is a good way to encourage counting and even basic addition and subtraction if wanted.  Obviously the greater number of empty spaces on your board, the longer the game will last (and the more counting practice).  You can use multiple dice at a time to encourage higher counting if your game board has enough empty spaces.  Add a color spinner for an extra element of fun and some color matching (they must use both the correct number of pompoms AND in the correct color). 

Scroll to the bottom of this link for lots of board options to choose from or you can make your own!

Age attempted: 31 months (if they can count to 6, they can play this game)

My First Recipe Cards

I thought I’d share something that I’m giving my 4 year old nephew for his birthday busy box.  He loves to cook, so I thought we’d start helping him work through simple (VERY simple) recipes on his own.  Many of the recipes involve no actual cooking, focusing on just the basic skills of working in a kitchen (ingredients, measurements, and following steps). They are recipes that preschoolers would enjoy eating as much as they enjoy “cooking”.  I included pictures to go along with most steps to help a non-reader out.

I’m going to try to do one of the easier ones with J pretty soon. I already have some modifications in mind to make it even easier for younger ones, but I do think these will work well in their current state.

Here’s the entire set of cards. My First Recipe Cards

To prepare them, I printed them on cardstock.  I then cut along the horizontal line and folded along the vertical one to create a front and back for each card.  I then hole punched along the left side of the cards (the open side) and used two small binder rings to combine the cards together. 

Add some measuring spoons, cups, mixing spoons, a hat and apron and laminate these great toddler/preschool food charts  as a placemat and you have an easy gift for birthday or Christmas.  If their interest continues, you could easily add a few recipes to their collection each year. 

If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes!

Homemade Game: Matching Blocks

J is really into matching his toys.  He is constantly finding ways to organize trains, tracks, blocks, beads,…  We have these Melissa and Doug wooden lacing beads and I noticed J was constantly turning the wooden tray over so that he could match the colorful beads to the pictures on the tray.  Unfortunately there were only a few pictures to match.  So I decided to create a matching board that included all the beads.  This was something I did quickly while J was playing nearby, so the final product certainly has mistakes! I just traced each bead and then added color to match each one.  You could probably create a board like this using powerpoint that looks much more professional.  J didn’t notice the mistakes at all.  He loved the board and went straight to work. 

Age attempted: 22 months

Teachable Moments:  label the shapes and colors, recognize color patterns, number recognition

Try Again? Yes, I pull this matching board out maybe once a week

You obviously could create a matching board for lots of different toys your little one already owns.  Letter blocks, stacking toys, flashcards, cars, trains, letter/number magnets, …  I’m sure you can come up with lots of ideas.  Please share your ideas!!

One Fish Two Fish matching

This is one of the matching activities I made for J.  He loves fish right now, so this particular board quickly attracts his attention. 

These pictures were left over from an activity J did at church, but you could make your own with clip art.  I used adhesive magnets on the back of the board as well as on each individual card so that the pieces stay in place.  I also laminated (using contact paper) each card for durability. 

I did originally make another board that had double the squares to match but it proved too difficult for him.  He lost interest very quickly because there were simply too many fish to search through.  It wasn’t magnetic either so he kept accidentally moving the cards around the board.  This second board worked out much better.  I really think it’s the perfect level for him right now.  He has to be mindful of the color, number and type of fish to match each card correctly.  There are just enough squares to keep him busy but not frustrate him.  I will have to save my original board for when he’s a bit older. 

Age attempted: 22 months

Teachable moments: count the fish together in search for the perfect match, talk about the different colors, point out the size of the fish (small, medium, large)

Try Again?  Yes; as he gets older I can increase the number of squares to match; I can also add extra cards that won’t actually match the board so that he will learn to filter the unnecessary data and focus only on what is needed to complete the task.

** stay tuned for other activities I’ve created with these adorable fish!

This is the other board I made that will have to wait until he's a little older.