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PARENT'S TALK

Using Fun Games to Help Children Remember Animal Names

Teaching your child some key animal names is very important and there are lots of fun ways to do this. Using a variety of games and activities on a regular basis will help them remember the names. If you're in the house or out and about there are a variety of ways they can learn.
Children are naturally inquisitive and are always looking for new things to learn. You should embrace this hunger for information and try and teach them new words and memory skills, while still having fun. Most children love animals, from pets to wild animals, so use this interest to create some games that will help them remember the names.

Memory Games
Whatever games you play should be adapted to the age of the child, as if you make them too difficult they'll become easily frustrated and bored. Start each new game on an easy level and then make it progressively harder as they build up their confidence. There are lots of free kids games you can use by making your own from pictures online and in magazines. Matching pairs is a good game to start off with and you can begin with a few pairs and add more as they develop their memory skills. As most children know animals it's a good theme to use and as they turn over each picture ask them to name the animal. As your child becomes older show them an animal based picture and then turn it over and ask them questions on what they saw. For example, how many cows there were or what colour was the horse.

Get Creative
Using craft activities is also an excellent way for them to remember animal names and they make good free kids games. They can colour in different animal pictures and then write underneath the name of each one. As you build up a collection, go back over ones you've done in the past to make sure they can remember them. You can also act out different animal movements and sounds, either yourself or with puppets or soft toys. Children will have great fun making up the stories and having conversations with the different animals. There are some good songs with animal names and sounds that can encourage them to remember. For example, Old MacDonald and There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.

Take a Trip
You don't have to stay indoors for children to be learning. Plan a trip to the local farm or zoo and use it as another opportunity to help them learn all the animals' names. Before you leave make a chart with pictures of different animals, so they can cross them off as they spot them. You could also play animal bingo, where you all have a card with some animals on and the first one to cross them off wins a prize.
There are lots of ways in which children can be learning animal names without even realising they're doing so. The key to getting them interested in a task is to make it as fun and interactive as possible. Don't forget to give them a chance to get the answer right and always praise them when they do well.

About the Author:
Jones writes regularly on pre-school education for a section covering parenting and lifestyle at Cartoon Network. As a mother of two girls she understands the importance of developing their memory skills with free kids games and showing them how learning can be fun.

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