Preschool Social Development: Making Friends through Play
Our team of testers love Orchard Toys Shopping List and we were not at all surprised to discover that it is Orchard’s best selling game of all time. We were intrigued when we heard that Orchard were revamping and relaunching it. As fans of the original, we were of the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ opinion until we saw the new version – it’s even better than ever. The additional packs of Shopping List Extras keep children engaged, even if they’ve played it many times before.
The benefits of pre-school games such as this are huge. Social development levels as a child enters school have been linked to future academic success right through to GCSE and A level. Helping children to learn to take turns, compete graciously and play fairly will enable them to interact with and learn from their peers at school.
Why is this so important?
In the home, children mainly get 1-1 or 1-2 attention and parents can respond to individual needs, helping them learn at their own pace and giving them personalised support to help them get the most out of whatever they are doing. In a classroom, it’s often a very different situation; a teacher will have up to 30 other children to assist and so individual 1-1 time is very limited. A child who can communicate and interact with his or her peers gives him/herself the opportunity to learn from them and work out challenges cooperatively. More able children are able to develop leadership skills as they help other children in their group. Relatively sophisticated social skills are required for this to happen and that’s where these types of games come in.
The Orchard Toys Shopping List game is very popular with parents as it helps develop memory and literacy skills in addition to the promotion of preschool social development skills already mentioned. Parents can encourage children to link the word on the list with the sound of the item, helping with vocabulary and reading skills. Older children can discuss healthy eating, budgets etc. so it’s a great game for the whole family.
Whilst parents often help young children play the game initially, it’s simple instructions and game play means that children are quickly able to play independently with peers or siblings with little adult intervention. Giving children the opportunity to resolve their own issues around fairness and rules promotes social development and confidence in a way that simply doesn’t happen when an adult is present. Here’s a challenge for parents – The next time you get the chance, remove yourself from a game and watch how the children interact when you’re not there to adjudicate every little dispute.
The thing we love about Shopping List is that the children really engage with it, often asking to play it again and again. It doesn’t feel educational to them, possibly because shopping is a familiar activity for most children so they can put the game in the context of their every day life, but as all teachers know, children learn best when they are having fun, so bring on the games!
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Tags: communication, Play Advice
This post was written by Amanda Gummer