Learning by Design – Interactions and Play for Ages 6-8

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Children in this age range begin to exhibit creativity and deviate from the constraints of mimicry to explore the world, though they still enjoy copying patterns and shapes.  They also prefer to play with children similar to themselves and want to spend increasing amounts of time with friends.  As their physical skills develop, these children want to test their skills and get better with them.  And this is where differentiation between children begins in earnest.  Their likes and dislikes become more pronounced as a child gravitates towards their particular interests.

The games a child often plays during this time take into account the increased desire to problem-solve, plan, and build.  Games like Monopoly, Aggravation, and Battleship, play into these strengths and foster further development of these skills.  Physical games like tag; hide and seek; and duck, duck, goose (a game about risk assessment) also help this age range learn to navigate the world through snap decisions while also acclimating the child to the growth changes they undergo with the lengthening of their limbs.  These games also help combat the ungainliness children may feel during this phase of their lives.  The awkwardness they experience includes growing awareness of not just the world, but the distinctness of gender identification.  It is partially from this and cultural norms that gendered board games exist and garner the children’s attention.

Some of the areas where individualization comes in is the concept of personal collections.  Kids begin to create collections of their belongings.  This coincides with their growing sense of order and structure.  At the same time, this age group sees the dawning of empathy as the child goes from being self-centered to viewing things from the perspective of others.  While these kids may or may not be selfless, they are more likely to share and prefer communal activities.  Kids of this age are also starting to internalize information and rely on conceptual frameworks as much as literal and external references.

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