Games make children happier and prepare them much better for life than regular lessons. Peter Gray, author of the book “Freedom to Learn,” is convinced of this. He helps parents, distracted from their routine and games of online roulette in Canada, to take a fresh look at the learning process and understand the importance of play in a child’s life. We provide five arguments from the book for making learning more playful and fun.
1. If You Force a Child to Learn Well, You Can Take Away His Desire to Learn at All
These are the results psychologists came up with within the following experiment. They observed students playing billiards. At first, they discreetly recorded the results of each player, then did it more obviously so that the players noticed that their game was being evaluated.
The researchers concluded: experienced players (which can be called masters) played significantly better, beginners, on the contrary, scored significantly fewer points.
It turned out that this observation is also true for schoolchildren: grades have a positive effect only on those who already know or can do something, and if a child is just learning, the grades disturb him and make him learn the material much worse.
2. If Creativity is Stimulated, Then the Child’s Abilities Won’t Develop
Psychologist Teresa Amabayl has been studying creativity for many years. She conducted such an experiment. Children were asked to draw a picture or make up a story. They had to do it at speed.
She motivated some participants by telling them that their work would be entered into a contest or a prize would be awarded for the best one. Others were promised nothing.
Why You Shouldn’t Help Children With Creative Tasks
Then Teresa asked the experts to evaluate all the works. It turned out that the works of those who were motivated turned out to be less creative and innovative.
This proves that any incentives reduce the ability to think creatively and harms creativity.
If a schoolchild draws something just for fun, his or her creative abilities open up to a greater extent.
3. A Game Helps to Develop Creativity
This experiment helped scientists figure out how to develop creativity in children. A group of young children was asked to make collages. Before they started, some kids were told to play with salt dough for 25 minutes while others were forced to rewrite the text. In the end, the collages of the kids who had time to play before the experiment turned out to be more creative.
4. Laughter Improves a Child’s Analytical Thinking
Alice Isen, a professor at Cornell University, figured out how mood affects our analytical abilities.
He asked students to solve a classic analytical problem. The essence of the experiment: each of the participants is given a box of buttons and a candle. The task is to fix the candle to the wall so that it can burn and the wax does not get on the floor.
“If kids don’t play, it’s the adults’ fault.”
Before giving the students the task, he showed the first group of kids a fragment of an amusing movie, the second – an equally long piece of a rather boring movie, and the third – nothing.
The results were amazing: ¾ of the students who watched the comedy solved the problem, and only 20% of the guys from the other groups were able to attach a candle to the wall correctly.
The conclusion is simple: even five minutes of humor stimulates creativity and wit.
5. Games Help Develop Logic
Kids can solve complex problems for their age in game mode. This is the conclusion reached by British scientists. They asked children the following logical task:
- All birds meow.
- Kesha is a bird.
- Does Kesha meow?
- The 10-11-year-old children could not cope with it.
Then the researchers offered them to four-year-olds. When the kids were asked in a serious tone, they answered predictably: “No, birds don’t meow. They chirp.” Children couldn’t imagine a judgment that didn’t match reality.
But as soon as the scientists asked the riddle with humor in their voices, the children knew they were talking about a fictional world. Then they gave the correct answer: “Yes, Kesha meows.
These studies show how important play is in a child’s development. At the same time, assessments, praise, and rewards have the opposite effect and do more harm than good.
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