Homemade Family Games

Playing games with your children is always an enjoyable activity to share. Instead of using a pre-made, storebought board game, why not make your own homemade family games? Here are two games that are sure to stimulate your child's vocabulary and strategy techniques.

The first game, called "Word Challenge," involves the alphabet and word combinations. We have also introduced the use of a dictionary to help with words. This will not only help your child achieve a higher game score, but it will also teach him or her some valuable dictionary skills and introduce new vocabulary words. If you have a couple of dictionaries, it's even better so that you can each use your own.

Begin by making a chart that you can all share. You will write down the letters of the alphabet and then under each letter give a number value (see picture). Place this chart on the table, or hang it on the wall so that you can all share it as you create your word lists.

Start the game by writing 3-letter words. Give yourselves a time limit: set a timer for ten minutes, then find as many 3-letter words as you can. Cover the words so that you each get your own original list of words. When the timer rings, stop and add up the points for each letter in each word. For example "wow" is 23 plus 15 plus 23 for a total of 61. It's best if you do one person's paper first and add up the total score, then move on to the next person. A pocket calculator will make this task go faster. If you find ten minutes is too long or short, adjust your timer accordingly. Next you can move on to four- and five-letter words. The challenges are endless. This game can be exciting for children of all ages, as you will see with a little variation. If your child gets frustrated, you may want to work in teams; for example, grandpa and one child and dad with another child.

The second game offers your child the chance to use some good strategy moves and creativity. We call it "Match Up Four," but you can name it anything you like. This is a two-person game.

Start by making a game board. Use a piece of small poster board or cardboard that is 8 inches square. Block it off so that it is four 2" squares across by four 2" squares down (see picture); you will have a total of 16 squares. Collect a cup full of pennies and another cup full of nickels, and then decide which player will use the pennies and which will have the nickels.

Line up a row on each side that looks the same: nickel, penny, nickel, penny (see picture). The object of the game is to get four of your coins in a row. They can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. The player who gets four in a row first wins.

Players take turns placing their coins, one each turn. A coin can be placed anywhere adjacent to another coin of either type; the strategy involves deciding whether to extend your own row or block someone else's. The children will soon learn that there are many variations with the coins and it really depends on your opponent how things change.

These two games are a great way for you and your children to fill those cold winter nights together with some family fun!

Article provided by Homesteader

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