Can I tell you a secret? Just promise you won’t tell anyone else. Ok? Thanks.
Some days we play games all day. Shhh…I told you not to say anything. We’re supposed to be homeschooling all day. Ok, I’m joking. Because homeschooling for us is games! Children learn through play much more than they learn through other forms. For us, play is imaginative and make-believe, but it also means games. A lot of games. We are a game family; what can I say?
Let’s start with the very first game my children have ever played: Roll and Play! (aff link)
Roll and Play is such a fun, simple game. We started playing this when our oldest was about 16 months old. We wanted to start earlier (did you catch that we are a game family?), but really until your child can follow some basic instructions, just have fun and play make-believe.
(The opinions on this game is completely my own. I bought this game on my own dime. I do, however, receive a small monetary compensation if you purchase this game by using my links at no cost to you. Just my way of being able to afford more games for my family!)
When you’re ready though, this is my number one recommendation for a first game! Here’s how you play:
- Roll die
- Choose card that corresponds to the color that you rolled
- Follow instructions
Pretty simple, right? So, give it a try with your toddler or preschooler! Or, get your older kiddos to teach the younger ones.
Some valuable lessons my children have learned while playing this game:
- Color recognition. Yes, it helps to already know their colors, but if they are 18 months and way too young to know colors, you can use this game to teach them!
- Patience. When you have to wait to take a turn, you learn to be patient. Even 30 seconds feels like an eternity to a toddler. But, it’s an extremely important habit to develop.
- Gross motor skills. We dance, stomp, and clap and more!
- Number recognition. We help count for the younger ones. And as you do this, you can teach them their numbers and what they represent.
- Emotional expressions. It’s important to help children (at an early age) express not just happiness, but sadness, anger, being scared, and other emotions. Emotions are part of how God made us, and everyone should learn how to express themselves appropriately.
We love the range of aspects kids are learning in this game: emotions, numbers, colors, gross motor skills, body parts, and animals. But we also add our own twists from time to time.
Sometimes we skip the die rolling altogether and just grab cards to act out. Or we’ll hide the card and follow the directions while the other players try and guess which card we have. Sometimes we roll the die and other times we throw it or hit it across the room (safely…sort of). We have fun and adjust the game as necessary depending on who is playing and their abilities.
And when your kids are done, teach them to take care of their toys by fitting the cards neatly inside the box, back in the cube/die and putting it back on the shelf! Mine don’t ever need to be reminded to put things away though…. 😉
Age range: 18m-5 years (and older kids are great to help younger ones)
Play time: 15 min (or way longer if children are distracted or throwing the die across the room, not like mine ever do that….)
Reading level: none. We play this game without needing to read the cards simply by looking at the pictures on the cards.
Buy your copy here: (affiliate link)