Toy Central: Jenga

No doubt you’ve heard the message “play with your child” but what they don’t tell you is what games are good to play and how to play them.  Did you know it’s these two things – the what and how – that makes the difference to your child’s development?

So why take the time to play with your child? Well, research shows us that play allows children to use their creativity as they develop their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and social, and emotional skills.  Phew! That’s a lot of areas play can influence. Play is also so important for healthy brain development. Most of all play is fun and a simple joy that children love and by playing with your child,  you are giving them time when they feel special.

To help you out we’re going to answer the what and how for playing with your child by telling you about a game we like to use in the clinic and sharing our top three tips on how to play the game to encourage your child’s listening, talking and thinking skills.

 

Name of game

Jenga

What’s it about?

Jenga is a classic construction and strategy game for all ages. Using concentration and fine motor skills, children stack the wooden blocks in a sturdy tower, then take turns pulling out blocks one by one until the whole stack crashes down. The last person to pull out a block without the tower crashing is the winner! This game is wonderful for children to love to build and also love watching the tower fall.

Our top 3 tips
1. Target Speech Sounds

This game can be used to target a whole range of speech sounds. Try writing out and sticking words containing a sound onto the blocks and encourage your child to say the word with the correct sound. This will enable lots of repetitions of sounds in a fun and engaging game.

2. Explore language concepts as you play

There are lots of language concepts you and your child can target throughout this game. Point out different prepositions and get them to repeat them back to you. If you’re not sure where to start use top, bottom, middle, left, right, next to, up, and down are just a few! You can also add colours, shapes, objects or instructions to the blocks or you can work on following instructions and further developing their range of vocabulary.

3. Use questions to create fun and engaging conversation

Lastly, Jenga can be used as a fun way to have conversations with children and work on turn-taking. Each time a person has a turn they can ask or answer a question about themselves and keep the conversation going until the tower crashes down! Remember children love it when we keep playing fun, so get creative with some silly questions or jokes to keep them engaged!

 

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