Blow up many different colors of balloons. Place scotch tape upside down in a band around the hand taping it to itself. Then yell out a color. Your child(ren) will try to stick as many balloons of that color onto their hands. The one with the most balloons wins. Great way to teach colors and to learn counting.
Variation: try scotch tape on other areas of the body like a leg, foot, or rear-end to make it more of a challenge. Don’t use duct-tape or stronger tape or it will pop the balloons when you try to take the balloon off.
My son really wanted to play with our Scrabble game the other day so we made up a 3-year-old version. I would yell out a letter and he would have to find all the tiles with that letter on it. Afterwards, he would count how many letters he found to get points. If you don’t have a scrabble game you could use Boggle or another letter game or just cut out pieces of paper and write letters on them. What is not fun about this game is when the 3-year-old beats you.
It is probably because I am a tactile learner that I teach things with things instead of using pictures or videos, but my sons seem to have inherited that from me. Also, the younger the child the harder it would be for them to sit and be still while you teach them something. My 3-year-old made this bridge so we played the game “Over and Under.” Simple. You yell out one of the words and have them act it out. Word of caution: Two kids might try to go under at opposite ends at the same time and collide. I speak from experience.
This is a game my son helped invent. It is called Swat the Fly. I drew flies on Post-it notes and he would swat them with a fly swatter. We counted how many he would hit to the floor and how many were left to attack. You can do any variation of this game: mosquitoes, wasps, or maybe pictures of relatives you don’t care for.
Spots and Stripes is a game to spot spots and spy stripes. Have a child look through the house: cabinets, books, movies, etc. to find objects that have spots or stripes. If you have an animal book have the child pick out animals with spots or stripes. Also, find out why certain animals look the way they do. Camouflage? Attracting mates?
Dollar Diner is a fun game to teach counting money. Make up a menu. Ask the child what food they would like to sell. Make money and coins out of paper or use real money if you don’t have an infant around. Since I have a 9 month old crawling around I prefer paper coins in case big brother drops one on the ground.
The Color Game makes learning colors into a game. Tape color signs on the wall and tell kids to put toys that are the same color underneath the sign. If they are older you can use more unique colors like silver, teal, maroon, etc. Allow them to use items that aren’t just toys for the more unique colors.