Playing the game
Rock-paper-scissors remains a favourite.
But we also play:
- Who am I? - in which we take turns to guess who the other player has in mind, by means of them answering only yes or no to our questions. Variations on this theme include 'Where am I?' and 'What am I?'
- Clues - in which one player slowly gives the other clues to help them guess the person, place or thing they have in mind. The idea is to start with quite vague clues and work towards more specific ones, while the other player shouts out their guesses. So, Lyddie might start by saying: "I'm white..." and I'd start guessing: "Wall..? Paper..?" Then, shaking her head, she'd say: "I'm made of cotton..." "Sheet? Shirt?" "I begin with C...." "Um.... cloth?" "And I hang in the window!" after which I'd probably - finally! - guess: "The curtains!" And then it would be my turn.
- Spellings - in which we take turns to spell out words while the other one guesses them, or to say words while the other spells them out.
- Sums - which works like spellings, but with sums. (Lyddie will play these two, but not for long.)
- "I went [somewhere] and I took/bought/found/saw..." - which are all variations on a memory game, in which we take turns to add things to the list and must each recite the whole list every turn.
- Alphabet games - in which we take turns to think of items from a group for each letter of the alphabet, so we might, for example, choose food for a category. Then the game might go: "Apple," "Banana.." "Crisps!" etc. Other categories we've used for this game are: animals, names and toys.
We play these games a lot - several times a day. If I added up the time we spend on them, it would probably be up to two hours every day. They don't need any equipment, they don't cost anything and you can play them anywhere. All they require is time and attention - the best learning aids!
And of course they're developing and reinforcing her structural thinking skills and neural pathways in many different ways. And she usually suggests them herself and is in charge of which games we play, and when and for how long. In fact, another game I forgot to list which is fast becoming a favourite is: "Let's think of a new game."
I love the autonomous, free-range learning method for this reason, because if we were following more of a preplanned schedule I don't think we'd have the time to give these games the immediate and concentrated attention we do, and they're obviously crucially important for Lyddie's education at this stage. Having the time and the freedom to be able to identify, recognise and accommodate this kind of need is invaluable.