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In these tough financial times many teachers are struggling with what to do with their toddler students that does not cost an “arm and a leg.” Here are some recognition games you can do from your own school yard. These toddler yard games promote number, color and shape recognition as well as lots of play time for your students. You can keep entertainment costs low, and enjoy lots of time with your toddlers outdoors. If you are experiencing inclement weather, you can transition these games to be played indoors.
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-Dark Colored Marker
-Different Color Construction Paper
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Cut out numbers 1-10 using the scissors and construction paper; one number per piece of paper. Any color will do, since the focus on this game are the numbers. The bigger the better when you are making your numbers. If you are having a hard time with making your numbers, or you do not have scissors, you could simply use a marker and draw the numbers on the paper. Draw them large because your toddlers will be seeing them from a distance. Once your numbers are created go outside, mix the numbers up, and place them throughout the school yard. At a “starting point” shout the number and ask the children to run and find it. Once found, have them jump on it while saying, singing or yelling the number out loud. Return to the “starting point” and repeat. Change the placement of the numbers as needed.
-If your toddlers are new to numbers, start small. Have the numbers in order and in line. Start at the beginning of the line, “1,” and run to each number while saying them out loud.
-As your students become familiar with the numbers start spreading them out.
-Advanced Option: Hide the numbers in your yard and ask the children, “Find the number…”
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Use a whole piece of construction paper and have one of each color of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple. Play this game like the number recognition game. Have a “starting point,” but shout out a color. Once found, have them jump on it while saying, singing or yelling the color out loud. Return to the “starting point” and repeat. Change the placement of the colors as needed.
-If your toddlers are new to colors start off with only one or two colors and increase the amount as you see fit.
-Advanced Option: Use additional colors such as White, Black, Brown, Gray, and Pink etc.
-Advanced Option: Hide the colors in the yard and ask the children, “Find the color…”
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Cut out shapes such as square, circle, and triangle using the scissors and construction paper; one per piece of paper. Any color will do, since the focus on this game are the shapes. The bigger the better when you are making your shapes. Like the number game, use a marker and draw the shape if needed. Play this game as you would the number and color recognition games.
-Advanced Option: Use additional shapes: rectangle, diamond, and oval etc.
-Advanced Option: Hide the shapes in the yard and ask the children, “Find the shape…”
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Bring the energy to the game for positive reinforcement. If you act as though looking, finding and celebrating the learning process brings about extreme excitement, your toddlers will react accordingly. In addition to spending time with them you are teaching them that learning is fun. These recognition games are educational as well as healthy for all parties involved. You will be surprised how fast your students will learn. Playing these outdoor toddler yard games are not only cost effective, but they also offer great bonding time for you and your students. There are many types of outdoor games, therefore just remember in the end everyone wins!
Source: Personal experience