Today’s kids are playing less than any other generation.
Play is losing out to TV, recess times have declined and many children in low-income communities lack safe spaces to run, jump and be active.
But play is essential to kids’ learning. Play helps encourage kids to explore and use their imaginations, increases their ability to store more information and can improve literacy skills by building connections by oral and written expression.
As the school year ends and kids have more free time, you can incorporate play into all of your school or program’s activities – even reading and learning!
Try using the books and recommended games below to incorporate play time into reading time.
Wild Things Tag
Players: 10 or more
Space: medium to large
First, read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Then, mark off a large area to serve as the Island of the Wild Things. One player, the “King of the Wild Things,” stands in the middle of the island, while the rest of the players (the “Maxes”) line up on either end of the island.
When the King shouts “Let the wild rumpus start,” each Max tries to make it to the other side of the island without getting tagged by the King.If a Max is tagged by the King, he or she becomes a Wild Thing. All Wild Things (except the King) must keep one foot planted on the ground at all times while still trying to tag the Maxes.
The Maxes continue to run back and forth across the island until only one Max is left untagged. The last Max becomes King of the Wild Things and the game begins again.
All Tangled Up
Players: 6 or more
First, read Hairs – Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros, illustrated by Terry Ybáñez
Next, have the players stand close together in a circle. Then have each player hold one hand with anyone in the group except the person standing next to him or her.
Repeat with players’ free hands – avoiding anyone standing next to them or with whom they are already holding hands.
Now have the group try to untangle itself without letting go of anyone’s hand. It takes patience and lots of cooperation!
If you have twelve or more people, split into two groups of six and see which group can get untangled first.
Need more playtime ideas? Visit the Read and Play section on the First Book Marketplace to find all of the books and activities created by First Book and Kaboom! to encourage playing to learn. Find more inspiration in our Games & Activities section.
This post originally appeared on the First Book blog on June 9, 2016 and has been updated to reflect new First Book Marketplace offerings.