This is a continuation of a previous post titled: Game 5: Lego Brain Games: Make sets!
GAME # 6. Follow the Instructions!: This is a great game for kids who can’t read yet (and even better for kids who can!). You can turn this game into a listening game, reading game or even an inspection/quality control game depending on what you would like your child to work on.
Basically, you write down a list of 5-6 colors (of the Legos you have) on a piece of paper and your child has to build a tower exactly as your “instructions” are written. The color at the bottom of the list is the color that will be at the bottom of the tower.
You all know how to get your own child excited about something, sometimes it takes a little overacting ;). With Paddy: I start by pretending i found something brand new, “…Hey Paddy! What are these?! (holding the cards as if I just found them and he runs over to check out this new mystery thing) “What is it Mama?” (Here he feels empowered by his mother relying on him! to solve a mystery. With this new task, he really gives it a good investigation) He reads them & realizes they’re color words and I say, “Do you think they could be instructions for building Lego towers!? Should we try it out?!” and I love when he says, “SURE!!!”
(listening game version): With your child in front of a pile of Lego bricks, start reading from your paper instructions. You can read from bottom to top or top to bottom, just make sure you describe the orientation to your little listener. You can read them one color at a time and wait for your child to find each piece, or you can read them off as a list (2-3 colors at a time is good for a younger child) to force them to use their short term memory. After the tower is complete, tell your child that we need to “check our work!” As you read the instructions again, let your child say “check!” whenever the color on the paper matches the color on the tower built. At the end of the quality control session have your child say, “all correct!” and watch the proud smile develop on his/her face. I played this with Paddy a few nights ago and he preferred to read the instructions to me. So we played that way, while I listened (and I purposefully made a few mistakes).
(reading game version): This is a great game for practicing reading color words. You can make a little cheat sheet with the words in their corresponding color, like this RED, BLUE, GREEN, YELLOW, BLACK, BROWN etc…
If your child already knows how to sound words out or read these words on their own, don’t add the cheat sheet, let them figure it out themselves! 🙂 Once they complete the tower, have them check their own work by re-reading the paper and double checking the tower. Alternatively, you can check their work first and if you find a mistake, tell them, “whoops! I found one mistake.” Don’t tell them where the error is, just have them find it and correct it before handing it back to you again. High-five!
(Inspection/Quality Control game version): This one takes a little more preparation on your end. Make a few instruction pages and a tower for each. It’s important to build 1 tower that has a mistake in them for your child to spot. Have your child check your work. Don’t tell them you made any mistakes, pretend you are very proud of your work. When your child finds your mistakes, have him/her tell you which towers have mistakes, where the mistakes are and what to do to fix the mistake. This is great practice for kids when they are old enough to have homework.
After you correct all the towers, and you still want to play some more…you can put all the completed towers in a row together, pretend you accidentally got them all mixed up, act a bit confused and say something like, “uh oh. I can’t seem to figure out which tower goes with which instruction sheet! Can you help me figure it out?!?” Mwahh haa haa! More reading and matching practice without them knowing it! 🙂
Following the instructions and checking our work is something we will probably end up doing thousands of times in our lives. We have to do this anytime we learn a new technique or skill, put together a piece of furniture we bought at Ikea, trying to troubleshoot a piece of equipment at work etc.
So lets teach our child to be patient, read the instructions & check our work to prevent mistakes. If they do it right the first time, i think they”ll be a lot happier in the end.
And this is why Legos are the best toy you can buy your kid! A million ways to play!
When I was a working mom, some days I would come home so mentally drained. I would bring out Paddy’s Legos and invite Paddy to come play with me. I called it my Lego Therapy. 😉
That’s the last game I have for you guys this week. If I come up with more, I’ll post it as a continuation of this series.
That said, I hope you enjoy your Lego Therapy after a hard day’s work!! and I hope your little ones enjoy all these mini challenges! And of course, the whole fun of Lego is letting your child’s imagination go wild and letting them build whatever they want to. If your child is not in the mood for a little challenge, no big deal! At least you have some ideas ready if your child does wants to play a game with you.