My three-year-old is smart, curious, and interested in exploring new things – though I might be a tiny bit biased, I know. The one thing he is NOT interested in is working with letters or numbers. If we’re coloring and I start to draw a letter or number, he says, “No numbers, Momma!” Playing with alphabet or number magnets, foam shapes in the bath, etc. gets a similar response.
But he loves games.
So I started making up little games to build a foundation for number recognition. Maybe this summer I’ll figure out some way to make learning letters exciting for him, though he does love the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book, which I strongly recommend.
The games I made were cobbled together in a few minutes with what I had on hand – construction paper and sharpie markers made the game boards – and completely focused on my three-year-old’s interests. I made the squares big enough for hot wheels cars, and the goal was to get the hot wheels cars into the “garage” at the end of the game. You could do something similar with My Little Ponies, or small plastic animals, or Paw Patrol figurines, or whatever your child is interested in.
I thought it would be really fun to do a Mr. Elephant game that was the same idea – teaching beginning number concepts (with an add-on addition option). And because I can’t draw at all, I got help from illustrator Dow Phumiruk, who designed the game pieces. I have to say, Mr. Elephant might have to go somewhere cold for his next tour, because he looks really adorable snuggled up in a sweater and scarf! The goal is simple – Mr. Elephant’s umbrella was blown away in the wind and he’s chasing it.
So here it is! Click to download the printable Mr. Elephant Game. I hope you and your kids enjoy!