Games for Developing Skills in Children
In early childhood, and specifically in an educational context, educators base their teaching and learning activities on games for developing skills in children. Games foster imagination and creativity and allow children to learn without even realizing it, because they’re enjoying themselves throughout the process.
Types of games for developing skills in children
There are multiple games that can be classified according to where they’re played, for example. Some games can be played indoors, such as symbolic games or reasoning and logic games, while others can be played outdoors to develop physical and motor skills.
Games can also be classified depending on whether they’re free and spontaneous, or guided. In the first case, children let their creativity and imagination run wild. In the latter case, an educator sets specific rules regarding how the games should be played.
On the other hand, games are also classified according to the number of participants. There are solitary games, such as puzzles, and games played in pairs, as well as many other games that more than two children can play at once.
Games according to the skills they help develop
In addition, games also vary depending on the skills they help develop and the characteristics of the activities children do. Here are a few:
- Games to exercise the senses. For example, identifying sizes and textures or listening to sounds of nature or animal sounds.
- Games to develop motor skills. These involve movements such as jumping, running, going up and down, etc.
- Manipulative or construction and assembly games. To exercise catching, pressing, threading, screwing, clamping, fastening, emptying, filling, balancing, etc.
- Symbolic games. They imitate real-life situations and scenes, representing roles, situations, and people.
- Verbal games. Such as puzzles, riddles, stories, and tongue twisters.
- Logical reasoning games. Games such as puzzles, Tetris, or chess lay the foundation for the development of computing capacity through mathematical concepts such as serialization, classification, and correspondence.
- Games to exercise spatial relations. These games are played in large spaces that involve obstacles, exits, hideouts, measurements, and distances.
- Games to exercise temporal relationships. In these games, children can learn to differentiate the seasons or the parts of the day and their relationship with the activities they do. For example, children go to school in the morning and enjoy snacks in the afternoon.
Main characteristics of games for developing skills in children
As you can see, there are many different games. These games can be classified according to various criteria but, ultimately, they all share some common characteristics that define their nature. These games:
- Are a way to interact with the environment and reality.
- Have an intrinsic purpose.
- Are spontaneous, voluntary, and motivating.
- While playing them, they allow children to develop both mental and physical capacities, contributing to the progressive construction of identity and autonomy.
- Are an educational resource because they favor increasingly complex and significant learning. Allow children to acquire skills, abilities, behavior patterns, and values.
- Are a source of pleasure, satisfaction, entertainment, and fun.
- Allow children to freely express their feelings and moods.
- Bridge the gap between differences, are inclusive, and rehabilitative.
- Allow children to relate to others and promote socialization.
- Develop imagination, fantasy, and imitation, allowing children to create fictional realities.
Games and early childhood education
Early childhood education is an educational stage that relates to the teaching of children from birth until the age of six. This stage is organized into two cycles. The first ranges from birth to age three, while the second ranges from ages three to six.
This educational stage is a critical period in children’s growth. During this stage, games represent the perfect way to organize teaching and learning processes and content.
Games for developing skills in children foster the gradual development of social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and motor areas. Specifically, games at this educational stage develop the following skills:
- Language. Enrich vocabulary and improve oral expression and comprehension.
- Physical-kinesthetic. They help develop gross and fine motor skills and bodily control.
- Mathematical and logical. Through problem solving, attention, and memory.
- Spatial-temporal. By exercising location, orientation, and visual memory.
- Musical. Through discrimination and auditory memory.
- Interpersonal. By fostering cooperation, communication, solidarity, teamwork, and conflict resolution.
- Intrapersonal. By fostering the management of feelings and emotions, self-esteem, self-discipline, self-criticism, patience, and responsibility.