Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tot School: Monster Match

Tot School
B is currently 29 months old.

B loves to play games. Of course, we have many games that are intended for his current developmental level, and he does enjoy these. Lately, though, he has wanted to play the same games his older siblings are playing. We've had a lot of fun finding ways to modify "older" games so that he can enjoy them, too. As a result, I've decided to work on a series of blog posts on this topic. I hope that you will share some games (and ways of playing them) that your tot loves, too!

One gift we got for Christmas is a game called "Monster Mix Up". I couldn't find it online to link to, but it is exactly the same concept as the classic Guess Who? game (which we also have), just using monsters instead of people. (In B's opinion, this makes it much more fun! I have to agree that it's more interesting to ask for clues using words like "eyestalks", "horns", and "tentacles"!) B loved watching N and K play, and soon after I found him "playing" it by himself, even mimicking the questions he'd heard them ask, such as, "Does your mystery monster have green skin?" After a while, I asked him if I could join in the fun. He decided to let me. :)

Here are a couple of different ways we have enjoyed this game together:
  • SIMPLE MATCHING. We put all the monster cards in a bag and take turns drawing them out. B then finds the matching card on his game board and flips it down. At first, he only wanted to do this for a few turns. Now that he's gotten a little faster at it, though, he usually doesn't want to stop until we've flipped down all the monsters.
  • MODIFIED "GUESS WHO?" GAME. Of course, B isn't quite ready to understand the idea of logically eliminating some of the monsters after asking for an identifying clue. He does like to feel that he is "really" playing the game, though. It has been working great for me to help him. If he can't think of a question to ask, I'll suggest a few and let him choose one. Then, I'll say something like, "Yes, my monster has three eyes. That means we need to flip down all the ones who have one or two eyes." I'll guide him to each monster and ask, "Does this one have one or two eyes? Okay, looks like we need to flip it down!" I talk through my thought process on my turn, too. (This is part of a technique called metacognition.) Doing it this way takes a long time, of course, but I feel it's worth it! B is already beginning to catch on to the idea in a very basic way.
  • SORTING. I haven't tried this one yet, but another way I thought of to use this game is to just give him a category of monsters to look for and have him flip them down. For example, I could say, "Can you flip down all the monsters who have teeth showing?" This would be a simple way to practice one of the steps in the "full" game, and I think he would enjoy it.
I would love to hear other ideas on how to use this game with a toddler as well as about other games you are playing with your tot!

To see what other Tot Schoolers are doing and learning, be sure to visit Carisa's blog.


Lindsay said...

What a super fun idea! I can't wait to see what else you come up with!

Giggly Girls said...

What a great idea. We have two versions of Guess Who?, disney and classic, floating around here.