Family meals benefit kids in many ways. They get to spend uninterrupted time with you. They get to share about the day’s events. But you can also give your kids a learning experience at the dinner table without feeling like they’re still in school. Use these ideas to keep your kids learning at the dinner table.
Read About It
Reading nutrition labels is a double benefit. Kids improve reading skills and learn about healthy eating. Check out the food labels on items you use at the dinner table. For young kids, have them find certain letters or words on the containers. Older kids can read the labels and look at the nutrition information. It’s a good opening to talk about what to look for on a nutrition label to find healthy food choices.
Games that involve guessing put your child’s logic and reasoning skills to the test. Twenty Questions is a classic guessing game in which you think of something and the other players ask yes and no questions about it. I Spy is another game you can easily play at the dinner table based on things you see in the kitchen.
Talking about the day is a natural conversation families have at the dinner table. Go further by asking everyone thought-provoking questions. You might ask everyone to name a person who made them smile that day. Or ask deeper questions like, “Who would you invite to dinner if you could ask anyone?” Don’t forget to ask the kids to explain their answers to make it more interesting.
Round the Table
Since you’re already sitting around the table, you’re in the perfect position to play group games and activities that go from one person to the next. One simple option is to tell a group story. One person starts the story. After about 30 seconds, the next person takes over the story. Keep passing the story around the table until everyone has at least one turn adding to the story.
To bring a little math to dinner time, go around the table counting by a set number. For example, if you count by 5’s, the first person says, “5,” the second person says, “10,” and so on. Go as high as you can until someone makes a mistake.
Play With Your Food
Dinner doesn’t have to be boring. With a few simple games that don’t require any special gear, you can play your way through dinner and help your kids strengthen their brain power.