WELCOME BACK Freelance Dad is

WELCOME BACK

Freelance Dad is back from the Jewish New Year break and ready to blog anew. Today is also the first day of school here at FD.com headquarters. Small Fellow began his second year at Preschool State, in Classroom 8, which he'll be happy to tell you is the highest numbered room they've got. Harrumph!

We have high hopes for the school year. Fellow is planning to try out for the school Climbing team and, yes, it's an election year, and, yes, there may be a run for Teacher's Pet in the offing, depending on who else declares for the race. Stay tuned.

JUST LIKE "CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN," EXCEPT WITH NO CELEBRITIES, NO POKER, AND NO SHOWDOWNS

Freelance Dad has two pieces in the October issue of PARENTS magazine. The first is an item on the "Dads" page about playing cards with preschoolers, called "Deal her in." The article points out that while your youngster may be too young for Texas Hold 'Em, you can still introduce him to card games, starting with the classic Concentration. To play it, start with a dozen pairs matching in color and rank (red sixes, black aces, etc.), mix them up, line them up facedown, and play. At each turn, a player turns over two cards. If he makes a match, he takes another turn. If not, he flips he cards back over and the next player goes. As the child gets the hang of it, increase the pairs until you're playing with a full deck.

WARNING: If you don't pay attention, a well-rested preschooler with a full stomach and an empty bladder CAN beat you at this game. (Or so we've heard . . . )

Once you've got Concentration down, move on to games like Go Fish and the regrettably named trio of Crazy Eights, War, and Old Maid. (Or, as we call them here, Special Eights, Coalition Skirmish, and Library Lady.) If you need a refresher on the rules for any of these games, visit this site and click on the Game Rules Archive.

Note: We strongly discourage parents from using "kiddie" decks of cards that substitute puppies and dolphins for hearts and spades. There's no card game you can't make work with a regulation deck, and besides, why put off that special moment when your son looks up at you and says, "Daddy, why there's a knife in this king's head?"

September 20, 2004 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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