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Fun Games For Kids
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Coming up with fun kids activities is one of the most challenging aspects of mixed-age childcare. While some children may be content to sit quietly and color, most prefer games that allow them to sharpen skills and interact with their peers. In a mixed-age setting, finding appropriate activities that can include all children is essential to creating a welcoming, inclusive environment.

Thankfully, there are some things that are almost universally enjoyed by children. Art projects, music, story-time, and animals are liked by most children, regardless of their age or developmental level. Caregivers can use these things to create their own fun activities for mixed-age groups. Here are a few examples to try:

Create a Zoo. Gather stuffed toys to represent all the animals in a zoo, such as lions, zebras, elephants, and so on. Have the older children place the animals in groups of herbivores and carnivores, and use toy foods to feed them. Allow the middle age children to act as zookeepers and bottle feed the baby animals, make animal noises, and otherwise bring the stuffed animals to life. The youngest children in the group get to be zoo patrons, or have them pretend to be animals you don't have toys to represent.

Open an Art Studio. Allow younger children to dress up in funny hats, fancy dresses, or whatever else they like. Have the older children paint the younger children's pictures. Encourage the models to pose with funny faces, props, or in exaggerated positions. Then hang the paintings gallery-style around the room where everyone can enjoy them.

Write a Book. Explain to the group that they are going to write a story together, and it has to be funny. Ask the first child who the story is going to be about. The next child describes the character, and the next child says what the character's problem is. Continue going from one child to the next until the problem is solved and the story is over. Write down the story as it is being told. After the story is finished, have the children draw illustrations for their story, and then turn it into a real book using a free, online print-on-demand publisher. The children's parents can choose whether or not to buy a copy of the book, and the book profits can be used for special treats or toys for the entire group.

Help Other Children. Children are naturally sympathetic creatures, and enjoy helping others. Encourage their natural empathy by allowing the group to choose ways to help other children. Maybe they would like to donate toys to a shelter, or sponsor a child in another country. Socially aware children may want to create anti-bullying posters or tee shirts to give to others. Involve the entire group in whatever project they choose.

Sometimes, the best activities for children aren't planned at all. Ask the group what they would like to try. Allowing the children to create their own activities ensures that everyone gets to have their say, encourages cooperation, and helps caregivers foster a sense of fair play.


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