A Family Approach to Photos
Your Photo Albums:

Edit Albums
Upload New Pictures
Infant - Month #40

Get Weekly Updates on your Child E-Mailed to You
Complete Privacy - Your information will be used by edHelperBaby only and will never be shared with another company.

  Enter your E-MAIL ADDRESS:  

Learning Important Preschool Skills? Go Fish!

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Child's Development
           Three-year-olds thrive on interacting, experimenting with cause and effect relationships, and  playing games.  Use games to help your child master basic preschool skills.  Take the classic and yet basic game of Go Fish, for example.  Two or more players hold a set of cards, ask other players for a specific card to form a match, and pick a card from the remaining pile of cards in effort to find the card she asked for if the opponent doesn't have it. The player with the most matches at the end of the game wins.  A list of basic preschool skills has been outlined below.  Keep in mind the rules for playing a typical game of Go Fish, and use the following activity to help your child master important preschool skills.

       Preschool Skills
  • Recognizes the difference between big/little and long/short
  • Recognizes and matches basic shapes according to size and shape
  • Counts objects using one-to-one correspondence
  • Identifies and names letters of the alphabet
  • Counts and identifies numbers up to ten


  Something Different Activity
           Peruse the game aisle of your local store, and you will undoubtedly see boxes of flashcards and card-style learning games that will send your head spinning as you try to contemplate which box is the best fit for your child's development.  These materials are very convenient; however, consider developing and/or using free materials that are designed specifically around your child's development. You will be amazed at how a little construction paper, scissors, and a few markers can stimulate and increase your child's intelligence.  How many sets of Go Fish cards do you have at your house?  We find it difficult at our house to keep all the cards together in their separate boxes.  In roughly ten minutes you can consolidate the multiple card decks into one by simply following the directions below.  The beauty of making your own set of Go Fish cards is that you can tailor the content on the cards to meet your child's individual needs.  You will also save yourself a lot of time you would have spent shopping for cards with new concepts and sorting through piles of mis-matched cards.  You can continue to add new cards to your own deck as your child's skills progress.

       Materials:  Construction paper, markers, scissors, paperclips (one per playing card)

       Making the cards:  Decide how many cards you wish to make.  Keep in mind that each card will be duplicated to form an exact match for game purposes.  Let's say you decide to start with eight unique cards.  You will need to cut out sixteen equally sized squares of construction paper.  Refer to the outline below to get an idea of the concepts to incorporate onto your cards and the placement for each one.  Once you create your cards, you can use them to play Go Fish, or you can also play games like Memory and Old Maid (just create one extra with a clown face.) You can also use them as basic flashcards.  Focus on just one concept at a time when playing the games or using these cards as flashcards.  Place a paperclip on the concept you will be focusing on during your playtime activity.  For example, if you will be concentrating on shapes then place a paper clip in the upper left hand corner of each card.  Then no matter which way the card gets turned, your child will be able to use this visual clue to quickly locate the concept at hand.
  • Center - numbers one through x (x = number of total matches)
  • Upper left - shapes (triangle, circle, square, heart, rectangle) Make the shape big on one card and the same shape small on the other card to reinforce the concept of size.  When your child asks you if you have a heart, he will need to also tell you the size-big or small.  During this process, mix up the vocabulary and use the words tiny, small, little, etc.
  • Upper right - Pick five letters you know your child hasn't mastered.  Write one letter on each card in the upper right hand corner.
  • Bottom from left to right - Draw dots to represent number on the card


  From A Parent's Perspective
           I got down on the floor with all the materials for creating this deck of playing cards.  My daughter immediately asked me what I was doing and if she could help me.  She loves anything crafty.  I explained to her what I was planning to do, she decided how many cards we should make (working on number sense regarding too many and too little), and I began cutting out the squares.  She lined them up along the floor and shouted when we reached fourteen.  At that point I mentioned that we were going to make two cards look exactly alike.  The teacher in me hoped that she would think about turning her row of fourteen into a double row of seven. I quickly realized that my hopes were set way too high.  I reworded my approach by asking her to place two cards in each stack so that there were only seven cards touching the floor instead of fourteen.  Wahoo!  She did it!  Just by making the task less abstract she was able to better understand what I was asking her to do.

       After we created the cards together, we began a game of Go Fish.  We each got three cards and she decided we would fish for shapes.  The paperclips worked very well as corner card markers.  I found feet-shaped paperclips at our local supermarket that we specifically use for this deck of card to help make them even more special.  Each time she went "fish" she picked each card up by the paperclip and knew that was where she was supposed to look for the shape.  As we use the cards more, I anticipate we will be able to forego the paperclips altogether.  But for now they help speed the game up by helping her to maintain focus.  Also, as she begins to master the shapes, numbers, and letters we placed on the card, I will make new ones to replace the cards that no longer challenge her thinking.  The possibilities for enrichment are endless!


  Family Togetherness
           Consider the many things that occupy a family's time during the course of a one-week period:  work, school, extracurricular activities, housework, etc.  Culture tells us that as parents we must become involved in the popular sports and/or clubs, we must work harder to have more stuff, and yet we must still be able to keep our house up with the Jones's that live next door.  Does this all sound way too familiar?  If so, consider establishing a weekly family tradition based on the concept of family togetherness.  Setting aside one evening a week solely for the purpose of connecting with your children will serve many purposes, as outlined below.  Make this one evening an expected part of each and every week.  Your children will begin to look forward to the time together, and they will learn that your time together each week is based on your commitment to them as their parent(s) and your overall love for them.  So basically, use this time as a stress reliever from the hustle and bustle of your busy week to be silly, playful, and just plain giddy with the ones you work the hardest for...they deserve it and so do you!

       Five Reasons For Establishing A Family Fun Night
  1. Communication:  You will establish a foundation for communication which is important as your child gets older and into social groups.  You want an open line of communication because when you don't talk to your child, someone else will, so let it come from you!
  2. Trust and Respect:  Your child will be more likely to respect your authority and decisions throughout the week and, therefore, less likely to argue.  You can use your time together as a springboard for important discussions.  For example, "Right now, Jack, this is the decision I have made regarding your request.  If it truly means that much to you, then compile a list of reasons why you feel this way, and we can discuss it as we play checkers on Friday night.  Just remember that I may not change my mind." If this issue is truly important to your child, then he will invest the time to write his defense and present it to you.  Obviously, this scenario is not geared for a three-year-old, but the whole idea of communication and the role it plays in your family relationships draws the parallel.
  3. Modeling:  You are modeling for your child the importance of being together.  In the midst of all the temptations society tries to bestow upon you, you demonstrate that spending valuable time together is ultimately your number one priority!
  4. Playfulness:  Act like a kid again.  Your kids give you an excuse to crawl on the floor, swing a bat, toss popcorn into your mouth, dress in unmatched clothing, and a ton of other things that you most likely would not dare do outside the comfort of your own home.
  5. Family Ties:  Families who play together stay together!  What are you waiting for?  Start planning your new weekly tradition.

       Ten Family Fun Night Ideas

       Use the following list to help kick-start your flow of ideas.  Remember the five senses as you plan your evening.  What will the place sound like (music or lack of sound altogether), taste like (treats), smell like (aroma of food or candles), feel like (games), and look like (movies or other enticing "I don't want to miss that" things)?  Don't overstimulate, but do consider how you want your evening to flow to ensure a secure, playful, and loving place where your family looks forward to gathering week after week.
  1. Forts - Pull the couch out from the wall or rearrange some chairs.  Then throw blankets over the furniture to create a little hidden oasis where you can read books with flashlights, color, or play games.
  2. Popcorn - No matter if it's homemade, caramel, kettle, or butter popcorn, just pop it.
  3. Movies - You don't need to drive to the movies to get that movie theater feel.  Simply grab your favorite treat, turn the lights down low, cuddle up with a soft throw blanket, and push the play button.
  4. Games - Rummage through your game cabinet and find one game the whole family can enjoy playing together.  If you have an abundance of electronic games, then pile them up on the floor along with a pile of sticky notes.  Each person can grab a game, set the timer for five minutes, and when the timer sounds, record your name and score on the sticky note.  Then pass the game to the next person.  Compare scores once everyone has played each game.
  5. Walk it out - Take an early evening walk or bike ride together.  Stop every so often to sit under a tree and/or to collect small treasures that can later be used in craft projects.  Each time you take a walk, each person can collect one small treasure (ex. an acorn) that can later be placed into a large glass display jar.  Over time you will fill it and will have created a jar of family fun night treasures.
  6. Camp out - Throw a tent in your back yard or your sleeping bags on the family room floor.  Mixing up your child's sleeping routine every so often will seem dreamlike.
  7. Silly pajamas - Challenge each other to dress in their craziest mis-matched pajamas
  8. Backwards night - Eat dessert before dinner, wear pajamas backwards, play a game backwards (Candyland works well for this one), etc.
  9. Performance theater - Act and be silly with puppets, jokes, rock concerts, plays, etc.
  10. Service projects - Consider the needs of your community and work together to help others in need.  Your efforts will go a long way!


Ask Your Own Question

Ask a Question

Give a Suggestion     Contact edHelperBaby
Note: All information on edHelperBaby is of a general nature for educational purposes only.
For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
Your use of this site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.