Kids Games, Children’s Games or English Games, call them what you like, games are an important part of English education in Japan and are a proven form of entertainment and education in many International Preschools, Kindergartens and Daycare Centers around Tokyo.
So what sort of game should you get if you want to teach your child English at home? Flash cards which teach English phonics are very popular among Kindergarten and Preschool teachers while games which aid in categorizing and matching are important for cognitive development. Jigsaw puzzles also come under this category and are highly recommended, (just so long as you don't loose the pieces!)
Music games which rhyme and allow rhythm and body movement are great fun for younger English learners and beginners. There are many CD’s available on the internet, including; The wiggles, Playschool and of course, Barney.
When your kids are a little older Kids Scrabble is a great game to introduce new words (and how to spell them). There are also traditional games which are easy to introduce to your child like “Bingo” and “Hang Man” although its recommended that you adapt this to a not so gruesome version. An important thing to remember with kids and board games however is that small parts are choke-able so be extra careful if you also have young toddlers around.
Any type of English game which encourages your child to remember and write down English Sentences and words in a fun way are also a great way to get your child moving forward in increasing their vocabulary and improving their memory. While we are on the topic of English Sentences, what do you suppose the most popular English sentence for beginners is going to be? Its “My name is……”, followed by “I am ___ years old.” These English Sentences are highly likely to be the first two sentences learned in any formal setting. The third Most common English Sentence would be likely, “I live in (Tokyo)” or some thing similar, followed by “This is a pen” etc and similar English Sentences which help them to explore things in their immediate environment.
Any game which encourages your child to get started in this way is going to be of benefit. Play is always going to be a critical key to any child’s learning and development so the sooner you can get them started at home the better. Of course the full English emersion that International Preschools and Kindergartens around Tokyo offer is also going to be greatly beneficial.