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7 Fun Games and Activities for 6-Year-Olds

Julie Morse
June 11, 2015

Games are a great way for children of all ages to release some energy and get those endorphins flowing. And they're critical for 6-year-olds as they build social, math and emotional skills. Whether they’re playing a group game or a two-person game, 6-year-olds can benefit from the simple lessons that games teach.

“Choose games that you, the parent, are willing to play,” says Susan Newman, PhD, social psychologist and author "Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day."

Participating in your child’s games means “you will be able to teach your child so much more and have fun in the process. When a parent plays half-heartedly, rushes, or seems distracted, a child will sense a parent's lack of interest. The best games engage and challenge the child but are not so advanced that he or she loses interest.”

Are you looking forward to spending the weekend with your child but you’re stumped as to what games to play? Is everyone sick of the same tired board games? Or maybe that last round of hide-and-go-seek didn’t go so well?

Read on for seven unique and creative activities to play with your 6-year-old.

  1. Mancala
    This simple game using a wooden board and glass stones was first played in Ethiopia in the 14th century. The objective of the two-person game is to collect more stones than the other player.

    The game is perfect for 6-year-olds because it encourages light competition. According to author and speaker, Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, “6-year olds tend to be overly competitive. They cheat and get very upset if they lose, and to gloat if they win.”

    “Many children can't handle winning and losing graciously until they're about nine,” Kennedy-Moore explains. “But from about age five onwards, you can begin helping your child to learn to handle competition.”
  2. Snap Shot
    A great game for a group of six or more children. Tell players to form two lines, facing each other, each with the same number of participants. The facilitator shouts out an animal, profession, or sport (i.e., octopus, chef, soccer).

    Children have to act out that particular word while the facilitator counts down from 10. When they shout 0, the children must freeze in whatever position they were in. The line that stays frozen the longest wins.
  3. Mirror
    This is a great game for developing motor skills. Tell children to break into pairs. One member of the pair will act out silly (yet appropriate) movements while the other simultaneously copies them, like a mirror!
  4. Going on a Picnic
    The perfect game for a group of eight or more. Everyone forms a circle and the facilitator announces, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing (name of a food).” The child next to them has to repeat what he or she just said but add on a food. The next player proceeds the same way, tacking on their chosen item.

    The challenge is to remember what everyone before you is bringing.
  5. Team Sports
    “Cooperative games are also a great choice for this age, because all players win or lose together,” says Kennedy-Moore.

    Sports such as basketball and soccer are especially easy for 6-year-olds to learn.
  6. Chutes and Ladders
    This ancient Indian game teaches children about probability and luck. Pull out the old board game.
  7. Statues
    Very similar to musical chairs, Statues requires a music player and speakers. While the music is playing, have children dance and move in place. Every 45 seconds or so, stop the music and tell children to freeze in place. Whoever moves has to sit down and lose a turn.

Julie Morse is a creative arts teacher and freelance writer living in San Francisco. Some of her work can be found here

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