As children grow and develop, their toys change. The baby who was once thoroughly entertained by a hanging mobile and a squeaky toy learned to love dolls and trucks.
Okay, well, Brady P. was really never into dolls or trucks. He moved on to puzzles, anything that played music and animals.
But now he is at a different stage. A rather fun one that takes more of my (and other people's) time in order for him to play.
The first game I remember playing with him was the Memory game. You know, a bunch of cardboard squares that you flip over then have to find the match by remembering where the heck you saw it last.
Our memory game was made from animal drawings by Charlie Harper. Braeden already loved animals and Charlie's art, so I figure, why not.
Braeden was about three when we first started. I didn't have very high expectations for his level of performance. I didn't really know how much he understood because he didn't really talk. And a few months before, when we tried it for the very first time, it was pretty useless.
So back on the shelf it went.
But during this second try, I was stunned. He understood the concept of taking turns. We worked on that in other ways before hand, so I wasn't too surprised about it, but it was apparent.
His slight OCD of feng shuiness made him excellent at putting the cards that were not a match back to the exact same place he got them from, and even making sure they were straight. I don't even do that.
The smoothness at which we played the game was pretty effortless. I think that he wanted to play the game so much that he made that extra effort to follow the rules, pay attention and keep it neat.
So we play again and again. It's one of his favorite games. But can I tell you the biggest surprise of all?
He is awesome at it.
As in, he can beat me.
We started off putting all the matches into one pile, so nobody felt sad about losing. But now, he keeps his pile and I keep mine.
I kid you not. He usually wins or ties me. He remembers where the monkey was from a couple turns ago when I had forgotten. He hastily finds both ladybugs after I just guessed wrong.
The boy has a photographic memory.
I'm glad I like that game too because he makes me play it almost every day.
Then one day at speech therapy, Miss Dawn had the "Let's go Fishing" game, and he really enjoyed pulling the fish out of the "pond" with his finger.
Well, Nana Mary thought he should have that game at home, so she got it for him the next day. I mean, that's what grandparents do.
Now this game has a pole that the player holds as the "hook" is supposed to make it into the mouths of the fish as the whole pond spins and the fish open and close their mouths.
Oh me of little faith. I didn't think he'd be very good at it.
I was wrong.
Now I can't say he was as good as Nana (who taught me to fish in real life when I was a little girl), but he was doing really well.
Concentrating on the next fish
With a little carefulness and patience, he learned how to pull the fish out without dropping them back into the pond. Just awesome for his find motor skills.
Also, on a daily basis, he wants to play this game too.
So I have observed that he loves games. He is really good at following rules. He loves to be challenged. He loves to play with another person.
And, over all, these games are really good for his fine motor skills, his patience, his concentration, his attention span, his learning and his amazing photographic memory.
I am really excited to visit the toy aisle this year, because that good little boy is going to get some new games under the Christmas tree.