Yes, it is a sheet of paper with circles and some numbers but it is so much more than that.
One random day as my big kid is playing, she decides to do this. She then informs me that it’s a game involving a coin of your choice. The idea is to toss your coin and you get points based on where the coin lands. That’s the basic premise of this game. I think she may/not have told me the name of the game but of course, I can’t remember that bit of information now when I need it most.
What’s fascinating about this one sheet of paper is the brain power involved. There was a distinct choice to put the circles in the middle of the paper. There was a distinct choice made to assign points in such a way so that the bigger spaces would have only 5 points while the small tiny center location is worth 100 points.
Now, as an adult, you may think, ‘Yeah, but I know a ton of kid’s games that are just like this” and that may be true. However, all that being said, it takes a lot of brain power for a child to then to be inspired by those ideas to come up with another version. The brain has to remember what those ‘other games’ are based on, how those point systems work, make decisions on how you want your game to look like, while assigning your own set of rules. To do all that juggling effectively means the child is really tapping in to their working memory, holding a number of details together, juggling all those thoughts, to achieve an end goal.
Once my big kid was done making her game, she then explained it to me and to her grandfather so that we could play along. That takes on a whole new skill set because it’s one thing to have the ideas in your head, it’s a completely different process to organize your thoughts and express them in a way that the other person will understand. That’s a skill we adults are still learning to master and we’ve had years of experience doing it!
That’s what this paper represents – brainpower.
Things to do: give your child the freedom to create, to explore, to discover. Empower your child to be, to live in the process, and to be proud of all the learning that takes place along the way.
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