By Resourceful Mommy, Time to Play Guest Blogger

As parents we hope to teach our kids the basics – colors, shapes, numbers – while still having fun and spending quality time together.  Fortunately the toy industry has risen to the challenge by creating new and exciting learning games each year while continuing to update the classics.  But after awhile, even the child who is Candyland’s biggest fan may want a break from playing the same game in the same way.  Rather than run out and by a new product, save time and money by reinventing the way you use the games that are already in your home.

Number Fun: Did you ever notice how many numbers are on the outside of your children’s game boxes?  Suggested age ranges and number of players needed are written on the lid of almost all of your board game favorites.  Have your younger children practice number recognition by stacking all of the games for ages 2 and up on one pile, for ages 3 and up, etc.  Older children can practice sequencing by finding first the twos and then stacking the threes, fours, etc., until all of the boxes are in numerical order by age appropriateness.  Another great way to practice number sorting is with an Uno deck.  Many little ones would like to play Uno with an older sibling, but may not yet understand the actual rules of the game.  Instead, use half of the deck and have your child make a stack of all the like-numbered cards.

Color Time: Keep that Uno deck out and engage your younger children in color sorting.  Have them make stacks of yellow, green, blue, and red cards.  This is your chance to add a new twist to Candyland.  Not only can your children sort Candyland cards by color, but for an added challenge they can sort the single color cards and the double color cards into separate piles as well.

Alphabet Town: Have your children grab all of those game boxes again and place them on the floor in front of them.  Using the first word of each title, have pre-schoolers sort them into alphabetical order.  Older children can choose one box and see how many new words they can make out of the game title.  For example, “Hi Ho Cherry-O” can become “Rice,” and “Chore.”

It’s amazing how much fun games can be when you aren’t following the rules!

Did you like this post? The Resourceful Mommy writes regularly at www.resourcefulmommy.com. Be sure to check out her blog, and start following her at @ResourcefulMom on Twitter.

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1. Good ideas for using what you have in a new way.

2. Great point on reinventing new ways to use current toys and games. It is fun to take out a few games and let your child put together a new game! It really encourages creativity!

3. Great tips for new ideas & saving money.

4. Great post! I used to love Uno as a kid. What a great idea to teach my number numbers with it!

5. Sorry, typo! Great post! I used to love Uno as a kid. What a great idea to teach my *daughter* numbers with it!

6. nightowlmama May 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm · · Reply

What a great way of looking at another side of games. Thanks for the fun ideas

7. Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

8. Great post! I used to love Uno as a kid. What a great idea to teach my number numbers with it!

9. Sorry, typo! Great post! I used to love Uno as a kid. What a great idea to teach my *daughter* numbers with it!

10. nightowlmama May 2, 2009 at 12:19 am · · Reply

What a great way of looking at another side of games. Thanks for the fun ideas

11. StacieinAtlanta May 2, 2009 at 12:51 am · · Reply

Great tips. Thanks for sharing!