We’re loving hide and seek these days. Although Joe is a much better “seeker” than “hider.” We have two variations when we play with me as the “hider.” Either both Matthew and I hide together while Joe counts, or I hide and Matthew watches where I hide, and gives Joe hints. When Joe hides, he pretty much always hides in the same place I’ve just hidden, and if I don’t find him within seconds of entering the room, he’ll jump up and shout, “HERE I AM!”
When we play hide and seek with a stuffed animal as the “hider,” we pretty much have the same outcome.
So, what can we learn academically from hide and go seek? Isn’t it just a game?
Well…it is a perfect opportunity to practice rote counting. How many times can you make your child count to 10, 20, or 30 before they get bored? You don’t want them to hate counting, you want them to see it as something fun and exciting! But really, how can you make them feel that way when even you don’t want to hear them count to 20 for the 20th time? Hide and seek is the perfect game for rote counting. If your child is anything like mine, the seeking part of the game doesn’t really take that long. So, really, they’re just continuously getting an opportunity to practice counting, then to they get to listen to someone else counting if you’re taking turns.
Want to go one step further? Give them a number line! Now they can practice counting while looking at the numerals to associate the written number with its name. Don’t have a number line? Do you have a book about counting with a page that has all the numbers written on it for them to point to? If not, just make a number line. Write the numbers clearly with at least an inch between each number across a strip of paper. I like to put a dot below each number so that they have a concrete spot to put their finger. A true number line will connect these dots with a straight line. Also, if they haven’t used a number line before, start small. If the can count to 20 but occasionally mix up 13 and 14, only make the number line go up to 10 for now.
You will have to model for your child how to point and count, probably several times if they haven’t done it before. First, explain to them what you’re doing and what is on the paper. Then, slowly, move your finger to each number as you say the number. Next, do it with them, holding their pointer finger to the number and encourage them to count with you. Once they seem more comfortable, have them try it alone. See how they do, and repeat earlier steps if they are not ready. Now tell them that the “seeker” has to point and say each number and when they get to the end of the paper, they can come and find the “hider.” Have fun!!!