I was rummaging through our preschool bins to find some apples for the girls to play with as we work through the alphabet together and an idea suddenly struck. I made a simple preschool and toddler game using items that were already on hand. It was so easy and so fun, I decided to share it with you. The game can be modified to work for almost any application and helped introduce and reinforce lots of preschool and toddler concepts. Our girls are early 3 and almost 2, so it works for this age group very well.
Here’s what we used and how we played the game:
Materials to make the game:
styrofoam block (we had one from making another fine motor game)
caps from smoothie pouches (we saved these in lots of colors), green and red
Preparing the game:
Set the styrofoam block on a flat surface and insert craft sticks vertically in the block. We were able to make 6 “trees” in the space we had. After placing the “trees,” add a support to each of the trees, by placing a second craft stick about 1/4″ away from each “tree.” This will provide enough support to make stacks.
To play Apple Stacking Game:
Place the prepped styrofoam block on a flat surface and place the “apple” caps around the block.
Show the kids how to place a cap on top of the “trees”. It is best to place them with the bottom of the cap down on the sticks. The sticks will slide into the grooves on the bottom and create a surface for building or stacking.
Stack away! Play can be open or you can instruct the kids to take turns.
The stacks will likely fall down during the play. Have the kids gather them back together and stack again.
While playing the apple stacking game focus on color identification by asking them to stack apples of only one color. Or work with patterns by asking them to stack one color after another. Challenge older kids to stack as many as they can on top of the “trees” (so far, our best stack was 8 high). Work on counting the stacks and counting the colors of apples. The possibilities for play are open based on what your kids are learning at their age.
What our preschool and toddler girls learned:
G (our 3-year-old) was very interested in pattern making and counting.
W (our 2-year-old) worked on color recognition and following instructions. She also learned new phrases.
Both girls learned how to take turns and refined their fine motor skills.
We also worked on persistence and patience.
The girls really loved playing this game and I know we will play it again. As I said, it is open for lots of reinterpretation. We played this game after reading Dr. Seuss’ 10 Apples up on Top. But as we played I thought it would go very well with Caps for Sale.
Do you have homemade games you play with your kids? I would love to hear about it! Leave a comment and let us know!