Study: Board Games Boost Preschoolers' Math Skills - Inside School Research - Education Week
Great summary of research findings that that show the link between board games and numerical knowledge.
My lil' Roo at 2.75 years old impresses me daily with her ability to count fairly accurately up to 5 objects at a time and sometimes further. The first time she counted along with me it blew my mind. It was several months ago now and we were eating breakfast. She had a few grapes, or maybe they were blueberries, on her plate (I'm so happy I'm blogging now so I can keep better track of details along with dates and ages). She was using one of those segmented children's plates so I picked up the first grape and moved it from one side of the plate to the other. As I did this I said, "One." I picked up a second grape and said, "Two." As I picked up the third grape, Roo looked at me and said, "Three" and continued on to four. My jaw dropped. She preceded to keep on counting. I was so amazed. I had counted with her before but didn't realize she was paying attention. Quite honestly, I think Dora the Explorer had her hand in Roo's counting abilities too.
Now we play a great game called Share A Berry. It is a game designed for toddlers that helps them with early counting, one-to-one correspondence, left and right, fine motor skills, and SHARING! We played yesterday with the twins during my mommy preschool. I was so pleased at how well all three kiddos were taking turns and shared their berries without hesitation. You can learn more about this game here. It's recommended for ages 3 and up but can easily be played with your two year old as long as you are involved. The berries are about the size of a grape so they are a choking hazard if you take your eyes off your munchkin.
S.O.A.K. (Supporting Our Aspie Kids). There was a family there with their 4 y.o. son who has been diagnosed with aspergers. I sat down with them and taught them how to play the game. The first few rounds of the game you are adding berries to your berry string. It's not until you reach the last two cards that you begin to share your berries with the player on your right or on your left. The first time this lil' boy had to share it was not a pretty scene. His parents told me that sharing is an area where their son really struggles. We explained to the child that he would need to share but when it was his mommy and daddy's turn they would also be sharing. After a few rounds he was happily sharing and truly enjoying the game. The parents bought their own copy without hesitation and were so thankful to have found such a fun way to teach their child how to share. That reminds me -- I need to give them a call and see how they're doing. I always love to here how SimplyFun games have impacted families.