Anticipating the Potential Pitfalls of Group Games for Kids in Preschool
The Fun of Preschool Group Games
Consider the fun that preschoolers can have in the hot weather with outdoor water activities. Incorporate real life experiences the children may have had, such as a trip to the car wash, with the educational aspects of in class instructions, and it makes sense that preschool games truly serve to reinforce a lot of the learning that is taking place. Unfortunately, there are also some potential pitfalls that could mar otherwise fun games.
Potential Problems Associated with Preschool Games
Being competitive comes natural to children; unfortunately, at this age they do not yet know how to graciously deal with defeat or victory. Victors tend to rub it in by strutting their stuff in front of other children, while losers may try to get even with a quick shove or kick. On the other end of the spectrum are those kids whose feelings get hurt to the point of not wanting to continue with the games at all. You may see them dissolve in tears, staying on the sidelines.
Overcome problems associated with competitiveness by not keeping score. In the alternative, you may consider this a good time to teach about gracious winning as well as gracious losing. Offer the children verbiage to use to either congratulate someone on their win, or encourage them for their efforts. Provide prizes for the most innovative praise and also the best attitudes during the games.
Preschool teachers know pretty quickly which children are the boisterous movers and shakers, and who are the quiet introverts. If your classroom has any shy children, be careful with games that might embarrass them. Generally speaking, a child who is shy needs a modicum of control, and games that involve blindfolding – like blindfolded taste testing or pinning the tail on the donkey – should be avoided. The laughter of their peers is generally taken personally and will result in the kids’ refusing to cooperate and participate.
You may try to help shy kids come out of their shell just a bit by evening the playing field. For example, if you are doing blind taste testing, have four kids do it simultaneously, so that not one child bears the brunt of the laughter. Explain to children that laughter during such a game is not meant as being directed at them personally, but instead is frequently a means of expressing enjoyment at the fun that is being had. Help to build up the self esteem of a child who suffers from shyness by having peers point out good qualities of the child during game play.
Quite possibly the biggest pitfall for preschool games is restlessness. This is generally a problem when the games are not designed for groups of children that large, and the participants have to stay in line for prolonged periods of time, waiting their turns. At times this also occurs due to poor planning. Restless children standing in line may begin shoving, arguing, whining, or simply lose interest in the game altogether.
Rather than counting on the children’s patience, avoid games that require an elaborate setup and only allow a few kids at a time to play, especially if you are dealing with a large group. Reserve those types of games for preschool classes that are smaller in number. Find jobs to do for waiting kids, or offer games to play while in line.
Making Group Games for Kids in Preschool Work
The single most important aspect of preschool games should be cooperation. This may – at times – require you to let go of old standbys that are highly competitive in nature. While there is no guarantee that a few kids will not act out anyways, you can greatly hedge your bets and avoid common pitfalls of competitive play you might see otherwise unfold.