All you need is scissors and colored paper.
Peter and I sat at the dining room table with nothing to do for an hour.
But we had a pad of construction paper of different colors and a pair of scissors.
We cut out circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles of all different colors and laid them in a big pile.
We started out with a simple imitation game. We each had a piece of white paper. I laid down a circle in the middle of my paper, and so did Peter. Then I put a triangle on top, and so did he. Then a square and a rectangle below, and so did Peter. We drew in arms, legs, and faces, and viola! We made people. You can ask your child if you should make a happy, sad, mad, or scared face, and you may draw in matching scenarios together (you can do the drawing if you’d like, and have your child color or choose the colors if he’d like to). See Ed Emberley’s books like “Picture Pie: A Cut and Paste Drawing Book”, “Drawing Book of Animals”, or “Drawing Book of Trucks and Trains” for easy to follow instructions on how to make all kinds of figures out of the simplest geometric shapes.
Each player gets a little paper plate containing ten cut-outs of a variety of shapes, colors, and (optionally) sizes (big and little). There’s a big paper plate on the side full of cut-outs to draw from. The first player puts down a cut-out and tells the next player to match it by color, shape, or size. The second player puts down a matching cut-out and then tells the next player whether to match it by color, shape, or size. If the next player doesn’t have a match, he may select one from the draw pile. He then tells the next player whether to match it by color, shape, or size. The first player who gets rid of all his cut-outs wins.
Make a big chart such as the one below, but with spaces big enough to hold your cut-out pieces.
Each player gets a little paper plate containing ten cut-outs. There’s a big paper plate on the side full of cut-outs to draw from. For his turn, each player puts down a cut-out in the correct space on the chart. If all the appropriate spaces on the chart are already taken for the pieces the player has left, he may use his turn to trade in a piece from the draw pile, but he doesn’t get to lay it down in the chart till his next turn. (Help your child understand how to select a cut-out that will go into one of the remaining empty spaces in the chart.) The first player to get rid of all his cut-outs wins.
You can make the game more enticing if you use shapes that appeal to your child, such as animals or vehicles. Making the game pieces can be a whole fun and educational activity in itself. You may have your child select figures from one of the Ed Pemberley books for you to draw in (or help you draw, dot to dot), help you color shapes and cut them out, or use stamps on different colored papers.
Add an extra social element to these games by having one player be the keeper of the draw pile so that other players have to get his attention, ask for a specific shape/color/size, and remember to say “thank you”/”you’re welcome.” You might even put different players in charge of different colors of draw pile shapes so that the person whose turn it is has to shift his attention to the correct keeper. You might even try to do the requesting silently with only gestures or eye gaze, practicing the “three point eye gaze” of joint attention (looking at the person whose attention you want to get, looking at the piece you want, and looking back at the person to make sure he understood you).
The variations are endless! Enjoy!