[kids-lib] In the News: Simon Says Don’t Use Flashcards (games you can play with kids to increase executive functioning)

Korie Jones Buerkle korie.buerkle at newbergoregon.gov
Thu Aug 23 15:03:18 PDT 2012

I know I learned this one from some children's librarian out there-sorry I can't remember who- it's a favorite at storytime:

Librarian: Say "pup." Now stand up.
Librarian: Say "tree." Now touch your knee!
Librarian: Say "bear." Now touch your...(add a pause and the kids will scramble to figure it out and say it first).

Korie Buerkle
Children's Librarian
Newberg Public Library
503 554 7734

From: kids-lib-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us [mailto:kids-lib-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Katie Anderson
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 8:34 AM
To: (kids-lib at listsmart.osl.state.or.us)
Subject: [kids-lib] In the News: Simon Says Don’t Use Flashcards (games you can play with kids to increase executive functioning)

Simon Says Don’t Use Flashcards by Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times

We’ve been reading the research that indicates play is how kids learn and is important for their future success. This short article provides more explicit guidance around what types of games and how you can alter games to increase a child’s ability to pay attention, remember rules, and exhibit self-control—all strong predictors of academic success!

Here are a few things I took away from the article that you may be able to try during storytimes!

·         Play games like Simon Says, Red Light/Green Light, and clapping and signing games which require kids to pay attention and focus, follow instructions/rules/the leader, and exhibit self-control.

·         Change rules or add new components to games develops mental flexibility and requires increased concentration and memory skills—examples include having kids touch the opposite body part than what is being sung during Head and Shoulders (touch your nose when you sing the word ‘toes’), switching green to stop and red to go in Red Light/Green Light.

·         Do more singing and clapping games! Make up a new verse to an old favorite action rhyme that kids have memorized and try singing in the round (Row, Row, Row your boat is a good one to start with).

Have a favorite games that requires kids to pay attention, remember rules/actions, be mentally flexible, and exhibit self-control? Please share with the group!


Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

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