Tips

Talking games for kids

By
Kavin Wadhar
February 4, 2021

In my experience, kids love to be asked their thoughts on challenging topics e.g. "How would you stop people from going hungry?" or "Are driverless cars a good thing?" or "Should children learn at school or at home?"

It’s a novelty for them when questions have no right or wrong answer. Parents we work with at KidCoachApp often report tales of children saying “Mum, ask me another question from that app!”

Kids being kids however, sometimes the mood isn’t quite right. Maybe they are tired, or it’s been a tough day at school or certain hormones have started flying around! In this situation a bit of warming-up helpful, which is where “talking games” are super handy.

I thought you might appreciate this short list of classic talking games, all of which can be played without any materials whatsoever (just voices required!). They are a fantastic way to inject a bit of fun into proceedings 😀

 

1) Connecting Words

How to play: Take turns saying a single word. Each words must somehow be connected to the word before. Go as fast as you can!

Skills developed: Being creative, thinking laterally.

Example: "Tree", "Leaf", "Green", "Paint", "Wall", "Clock", "Hands".

Extension idea: To make it harder put in a rule where you have to cycle through letters in the alphabet e.g. "Apple", "Bowl", "Cup", "Drink", "Eat".

 

2) Twenty Questions

How to play: Think of a famous person or someone that both you and your child know well. Have your child guess who you are thinking about, letting them ask 20 yes-no questions first.

Skills developed: Problems solving, being deductive.

Example: Say you were thinking of Harry Potter. Good questions your child could ask are – “Are they male?” (yes), “Are they famous?”(yes,) “Do they play a sport?” (no), “Were they in a film?” (yes) etc.

Extension idea: Once they have guessed correctly, see if your child can map out the most efficient series of questions that would have led them to the answer.

 

 

3) Guess The Number

How to play: Think of a number between 0-50 and have your child guess it. They are allowed to ask you five yes-no questions first to narrow their options.

Skills developed: Numeracy, asking questions.

Example: Say you were thinking of the number 36. Good questions your child could ask you are – “Is it odd?” (no), “Is it more than 25?” (yes), “Is it a multiple of 3?” (yes), “Does it have the number 4 in it?”(no), “Do the digits add up to 9?” (yes)

Extension idea: To make it harder extend the range of numbers, say to 0-100, or reduce the number of narrowing questions you let them ask you first

 

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4) Yes, and

How to play: Take turns building a story together. Each of you must contribute a sentence, starting with “Yes, and…”

Skills developed: Being creative, thinking fast.

Example: "Once upon a time there was a magical island…", "Yes, and it was invisible so nobody could find it…", "Yes, and one day a family got shipwrecked and accidentally found it…", "Yes, and when they climbed up the beach they saw to their amazement there was a…"

Extension idea: To build vocabulary you could write down in advance certain words to try and weave into the story. It’s a great way for children to use new words they are learning in context.

 

5) Shopping List

How to play: Take turns to add imaginary items to a shopping list. Before you add yours you must recall all the items on the list so far.

Skills developed: Listening to others, memory and recall.

Example: "Apples", "Apples and bananas", "Apples, bananas and milk", "Apples, bananas, milk and eggs" etc.

Extension idea: see if your child can group the final list by category e.g. “For fruit we needed apples and bananas, “In the dairy section we had milk and cheese” etc

 

6) Many Questions

How to play: Grab any object around you e.g. a cup, pillow, pen, phone etc. Ask your child to come up with as many different questions they can about the object.

Skills developed: Being curious and asking good questions.

Example: "What is it made of?", "What is it used for?", "Why is it that colour?", "Who invented it?", "What could we use instead?", "How much does it cost?" etc.

Extension idea: see if your child can come up with a really great question that you do not know the answer for, and then go and Google it together

 

But wait - If they are playing then are they learning?

Yes! A resounding, YES!

Think about it for a moment. When you are playing a game you enjoy you are:

  • Listening to understand rules
  • Communicating to participate
  • Thinking about your next “move”
  • Predicting what our opponent or teammate would do
  • Competing to win
  • Reflecting on why you won or lost
  • Learning how to do better next time

 These are all good life skills in themselves.

 

Reflection questions to ask

 

One last thing.

At the end of the game is a great opportunity to reflect and keep building skills through conversation.

Try asking these sorts of questions below -

  1. How did you win / lose?
  2. What did you learn?
  3. What can you do better next time?
  4. Is this a game of luck or skill? Why?
  5. What questions do you have about this game?
  6. How would you explain this game to your friend?
  7. What would a professional at this game do differently to an amateur?
  8. Can you come up with a game similar to this yourself?

Hope this helps you have lots of fun with your kids, while also building key skills for their future. For lots more questions and inspiration like this then go ahead and download the KidCoachApp. You can get started for free and immediately make an impact on your child's future happiness and success!

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Written by
Kavin Wadhar

Kavin Wadhar is a parent of 2 kids and founder of www.KidCoach.app: guided conversations for parents to get their kids talking, thinking and feeling. Kavin left his corporate role in education publishing to pursue his passion to help parents develop in their kids the skills they need to thrive in tomorrow’s world. Working with a team of parents and education experts, Kavin has built an App for parents with hundreds of questions like those in this article, and with additional guidance / prompts to take conversations deeper. Check it out!

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