When we play games at our house there is potential for total disaster.
My kids are all young; the players are ages 2, 4, and 5. Their infant younger brother is also more than happy to offer his share of disruption to game time.
Game Time With Young Kids
There are three basic principles that keep me sane when trying to play games with all three children at once.
- I go for games that can be played as a team; cooperative games.
- I look for games that are adaptable to multiple skill levels, so everyone can play.
- I like games that are active and integrate physical movement with play.
Mother Goose Time Game Time
Mother Goose Time’s thematic games accomplish these goals with little to slight modification.
Recently we played a really fun, easy to prepare alphabet game called “Slap the Letter.”
The speed with which my kids pick up letter names and sounds while playing this game astounds me.
Directions as provided by Mother Goose Time.
- Alphabet Cards*
- Fly Swatter
*Supplies were provided by Mother Goose Time.
This game was part of our Friends and Feelings monthly theme package. The topic for the day was feeling “mad.”
- Cut out the alphabet cards.
- Place one set of cards in a pile face down on the table.
- Spread out the rest of the cards face up on the floor.
- Encourage children to take one card from the pile and slap the matching card on the table with the fly swatter.
- Remind children: When we feel mad, we don’t hit people. We find something safe to squeeze, like a toy or pillow.
- Did the child identify 5-8 letters?
- Did he ask for help or help a peer?
Three Ways to Play Letter Slap with Young Kids
1. Letter Slap – The Adaptable, Everyone Can Play Edition
This version of the game follows the Mother Goose Time rules. I do make one slight modification. Each child has their own stack of letters, so that all three can play the game at once and all three are trying to slap a different letter. If you try to take turns they lose patience after a few rounds. If you give them the same letter, there is upset over who got the letter first. This works well and is fun especially when you flip the cards over fast.
2. Letter Slap -The Cooperative Edition
In this edition everyone takes a turn. I only put down three letters. Each child has to answer a question about the letters based on their current skill level. For example:
- 5 year old
- What letter do you hear at the end of “fox?”
- 4 year old
- Which of these letters is a vowel?
- 2 year old
- Can you find the letter that says /w/ as in “water?”
Since it’s cooperative play, they can ask for help from a teammate. They earn points and win the game when they get to 30 points (each person has scored ten points). I won’t tell them if their answer is right or wrong until after they select one using the fly swatter, but they can always double check with their teammates before submitting their final answer. This one was a big hit. There were lots of thank yous and cheers when they got it right!
3. Letter Slap – The Active Teamwork Edition
When the fly swatting each other, the table, and other random objects in the room gets out of hand we switch over to the active teamwork addition. In this version of the game the kids have to move the correct letter (based on it’s sound or name) to a bin.
There are two additional rules
- they cannot touch the letters with their hands and
- if the letter hits the floor before it hits the bin, they have to put the letter back on the table and start all over.
I love watching them work together to figure out the correct letter!
When big siblings used their hands to help little siblings keep their fly swatter stable, well that’s an acceptable bending of the rules!
Look how happy he is to have gotten the letter on to his fly swatter with a little help from big sis. Totally worth it!
Did I mention I sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to distract them and as a method of timing them?
If the song ends before the letter is in the box, the letter goes back on the table and we move onto the next letter.
I love watching them get excited when they figure out which letter is the correct answer. Then they strategize about how to get the letter to the box. They will often have one person scrape the letter from the table to the fly swatter and then have another person race underneath the person going to the box with another fly swatter just to catch the letter if it starts to fall. It’s so much fun for them to play and for me to watch! Sure they are getting some letter names and phonic practice. The sibling and teamwork skills they are getting are ever better!
I also can’t help but love the “I rock” pose when the letter goes into the box on the first try! Love it! Love him!
I hope you’ll try this alphabet game with your kids.
If you are interested in reading more about our experience with Mother Goose Time, check out our curriculum page!
If you love finding new fun ideas for games and crafts for early childhood be sure to follow us on Instagram!
As a blog ambassador for Mother Goose Time, I am happy to share preschool curriculum ideas, activities, and crafts with my readers. Mother Goose Time provides our family the opportunity to use their curriculum free of charge in exchange for honest and authentic stories based on our personal experience.