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12 best games and plays ideas for early childhood education

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Games are part of the lives of the majority of people today.  From an early age, gamification is inserted in the lives of the little ones, even before they go to school. 

Using games in education is an essential tool in the teaching-learning process. It has regulatory apparatus and is proven to be efficient and necessary for the proper development of children.

What is gamification?

Gamification is based on the application of games in the child’s learning process as a strategy for building this process. Thus, learning takes place dynamically.

This is supported by the National Common Curricular Base (BNCC), which governs all education in the national territory and can easily demonstrate the importance of interactions and games as actions that enable the appropriation of knowledge to make learning possible considering these interactions.

What are the types of ludic games?

Playfulness must be inserted as a primordial requirement in the child’s learning process, helping many skills develop, being worked on from different perspectives, and exploring varied skills.

From recreational activities variety, we can have categories of games to develop or improve the children’s motor, emotional, reasoning, and socialization aspects.

What is the purpose of games in early childhood education?

The main objective of games in early childhood education is linked to the child’s psychomotor development, interconnected with their learning process, where social interaction is improved, as well as the ability to develop strategies to achieve goals.

How to work games in early childhood education?

Games in early childhood education help the child’s development stages, so their participation in the game production process can also be used as a teaching-learning tool. 

Thus, using the maker culture, which means developing the ability to build or repair objects that may be useful in everyday life, can be a fun and conducive stage for the child to develop cognitive skills.

There are a variety of games that can be played to help in the literacy process of children. Let’s look at some of these games:

  • Letter Fishing

This game involves letter recognition as well as improving the child’s motor coordination.

The game consists of placing several letters in a container; the numbers 1 to 10 are placed in another container. Then, the child is asked to raffle a number and “fish” the letters corresponding to the number raffled. They can use a clothespin to “fish”‘, for example. 

Once this is done, the child is encouraged to recognize the letters, form words and explore the possibilities, besides realizing that we can re-signify the use of objects, such as the clothespin. 

  • Syllabic tic-tac-toe game

Tic-tac-toe is a well-known game in the world. The first thing is to create a board with a sheet of paper or cardboard.

With small pieces of paper or plastic caps, you must stamp syllables divided into two different colors, forming two groups. 

Teacher, make sure the syllables can form many words with many possibilities. Write the syllables according to the developmental phase of the children’s reading and writing process.

Once this part is done, they must become familiar with the materials and be able to play with a colleague, and each one puts a syllable and whoever first forms a word wins the game. 

Helping children to explore reading and writing words are just some of the possibilities for pedagogical intervention. 

  • Reading data

Build a table containing the theme ‘reading data’ and make paper data together with the children; also work mathematics within the literacy process; write the numbers in the first column, according to the possibilities of the data; place different colors in the first row corresponding to each column, filling the rest of the table with words that will be drawn from the coordinates between numbers and colors, after throwing the dice. 

This game can be done with the whole class, pasting the table on the blackboard, and children can be drawn one at a time to throw the dice, raffle the number and see which word corresponds to the color and number drawn. 

Thus, there are numerous possibilities to explore words within the game, such as initial letter, final letter, word reading, and sentence formation, which will vary according to the children’s reading and writing level.

Other ways of working with games within the children’s education process are activities related to sports and artistic activities, where we can easily insert games and activities with multidisciplinary objectives.

12 games and pranks that can be worked on at school

There is a multitude of games that can be played with children face-to-face, involving the whole class, or even remotely.

Check out a list of these pranks and games and the application possibilities with children!

  1. What is that sound? 

This game involves mystery and children love it. You can choose one child at a time to participate as the one who will guess the sound. Or blindfold the whole class simultaneously so they can figure out what sound they’re hearing. 

If the choice is one child at a time, the teacher can work on the ability to wait their turn to play or work on the confidence of the blindfolded child, who can receive help from peers. 

This game can also be done remotely and has a wonderful effect on children’s interaction. 

  1. Tag

Who has never played tag during the long school years or even with friends in the neighborhood? The game consists of choosing a child who will lightly touch one of the classmates and pass the catcher title to the next child. 

From a pedagogical point of view, there are many benefits to the games. These benefits involve the ability to reason quickly, a sense of direction improvement, and self-confidence. 

  1. Piggy in the middle

A circle is formed with the children, leaving a child in the middle who must intercept the ball. When this happens, who had the last play before the ball was taken by the “Piggy in the middle” takes its place in the center. 

An advantage of this game is the stimulus to achieve goals, besides not establishing winners, demonstrating to children that fun is independent of the competition. 

  1. Color Path

To cheer up the class and give the children access to a diversified artistic production, the colored path is made with washable paint. The children dip their little feet in the ink and form a path on brown paper or another type of paper available for this purpose, allowing the development of the little ones’ sensory issues and demonstrating different forms of artistic expression.

  1. Sensory box

Similar to the colored path, the sensory box will work the child’s senses in a fun way, awakening curiosity.

Make an opening in a box for the children to put their hands through. Distribute objects of different textures and sizes so that, blindfolded, the child finds out what they are about and shares with his peers. Let them use their imagination and explore the possibilities.

  1. Bunny comes out of the hole

In this game, all children have a “hole”, and only one is left without one. Thus, at the teacher’s command, everyone must change “hole”, and there will always be one child left outside it, temporarily, until another takes his/her place.

It can be done in different ways; when the group is large, children can join two by two, forming a little hut to shelter a friend with their arms, and everyone can take turns being a bunny or a burrow.

Another strategy is to make circles on the floor to represent the hole and even use hula hoops. It will depend on the space and resources at the moment.

This game will awaken in children the ability to act quickly, making decisions that can demonstrate strategic thinking. This game can also lead children to realize that we always have other paths to follow to achieve our goals.

  1. Where does the smell come from

This game can be played at school in person and also during online classes with parents’ help. 

In the classroom, the teacher must scent a handkerchief or piece of fabric and hide it inside the room; so children can discover where the smell comes from, improving their senses and spatial perception. 

When the class is at home, ask the parents or the adult responsible in advance to perfume and hide a tissue so that the child can find it, and describe the smell, the place in the house where it was hidden, and whether it was easy or difficult to find. 

  1. Hot or cold

The environments for carrying out this game can vary according to the possibilities of the teacher. 

An object must be hidden for the children to find; the commands vary between ‘hot’ for those close to the sought object, and ‘cold’ for those far away from the object.

The teacher can divide the class into small groups, reinforcing the skills of working as a team, helping others, and making decisions.

A variation of the game can be to blindfold a child and let classmates hide the object and give commands for the blindfolded child to find the object. 

  1. Statue

This is one of those games that we’ve all played, and it is common to play with children at home and always generates fun. 

At school, this game of playing music and pretending to be a statue can help with physical balance and developing patience and concentration in children. 

  1. Throwing

The throwing game is a mixture of sports practice and a mathematical game that can be used with children of different ages.

The teacher must demarcate a line where the object will be thrown by the children. It can be small plastic bottles with water or sand, for example. One child at a time must throw. 

With each throw, the teacher must measure the distance, write down and work on the numbers, among other mathematical questions that will be advanced according to age and stage of development, besides being a sports practice.

  1. Obstacle course

Competitions are essential for the child’s development of various skills, especially in childhood, where many things are defined. 

Making an obstacle course can be an activity to mark the time for each child to overcome all the challenges, encouraging them to persevere and still work as a team, in addition to the benefits related to body awareness and motor coordination.

  1. Dragon tail

This game can be played with children of a younger age group, between 3 and 4 years old. It consists of forming an Indian queue. In the world of imagination, the first child will be the dragon’s head, and the last will be the tail.

The head must reach the tail, and the other children who form the body will help by making the same movements. Everyone must connect with their hand on their colleague’s shoulder. 

It is essential to have ample space for the development of the play. The highlights of this game are attention, balance, and interaction. 

The school should be a ludic environment, where the children feel safe to explore their possibilities and learn by playing, with games and challenges that encourage good development. 

A globalized education aimed at demonstrating the performance of socio-emotional skills is directly linked to the training process, from the first school experiences, which are linked to playfulness as the main learning tool for the little ones.

Come and visit St. Nicholas School, the best private children’s school in São Paulo with an international teaching proposal. It offers training based on an IB curriculum, with a complete infrastructure environment and pedagogical strategies for your child’s development in a playful way. 

Click on the link to apply now: https://stnicholas.com.br/admissions/


  • St Nicholas

    St. Nicholas School is a school with an international education with the aim of developing responsible, confident and caring citizens. Teaching students to ask the right questions, to get to the right places for them. You can find St. Nicholas School in Pinheiros and Alphaville.


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