Each day offers opportunities for parents to bond and have fun with their children. Spending time viewing photos of relatives and playing games together helps to increase interest in the family unit. Children will develop an understanding of the family members with photos of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and so on. Below are some fun projects to make and use in play.
Roll A Family Story
You will need two boxes of the same size (cube tissue boxes work well). Take this box and wrap it with brown paper; butcher paper or use a grocery bag. On the first box, glue on six photos of family members (one on each side of the cube). On the second box, invite your child to find pictures of things families do (go swimming, eat pizza, play in the snow, etc) from magazines and paste these on the sides of the box.
To play the game, have your child roll the two cubes and encourage her to create an original story using the combination of the two pictures that comes up. For example, Mom shows up and then a picture of a dog. The child can create a story about mom walking or playing with the family pet. Take turns rolling the cubes and making stories together. If you get tired of the same story lines, change out the magazine pictures.
This is a great game to help your child develop language and thinking skills. You are also bonding at the same time!
A Game of Family Cards
Just like you see a deck of playing cards, you can make a family deck of cards with photographs. You will need duplicate copies of each family member so it is best to make copies than use the original pictures. You can make your deck of cards using index cards or glue the photographs right on top of a real deck of playing cards.
Sit down with your child and play matching games where you flip over the cards and match the photo of each family member or relative. Talk about who they are and practice repeating names. With older children, think of playing the game of “Fish” and make pairs with the photos. For example ask, “Do you have a picture of Aunt Jane?” If so, you hand it to the calling player. If not, say “Go Fish” and pick up the next card from the deck. Continue playing until all cards have been matched.
Gather copies of family photos - you will need three copies of each person. Take index cards and draw a line down the center to make two sections. Invite your child to glue a picture in each section; two different people on each card. Continue doing this on each index card until you use up all the photos.
Together look at each card and talk about the people in the pictures. Explain how they are related to your child. Have your preschooler repeat their names. Place all the cards on the table facing up.
To play the game, invite your child to pick one card and put it in front of him. Name the family members on that card. Now, have him look at all the other domino cards and find a match to one of the people on the first card. When he does, he can place it next to the first card so that the two photos of the same person are side by side. Continue choosing cards and matching pictures.
This game helps your preschooler to associate names with faces. It also develops fine motor skills and eye/hand coordination.
These are only three ideas for family photo games. I’m sure you can think of others. Always keep photos handy for viewing and talking about family members. It’s fun to observe changes and growth patterns and most importantly discuss how children fit into the family circle.
The information offered in this article is based on the author’s personal experience as an early childhood teacher and mother.
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved