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What was the first game you ever played?

What was the first game you ever played?

Sep 19, 2020 • 7 min read

You played it in the womb.

It was right there at the very beginning, millions of years ago, when life began.

Without it, no other learning would be possible. It's the most fundamental skill. Pre-schoolers love to play it. You'll find it in every children's magazine.

Have you guessed?

Spot the difference.

Light and dark; sound or no sound. A foetus is aware of so much.

From birth, babies can distinguish between mother and not-mother. Toddlers prefer two biscuits to one. Preschoolers look for what's unique about 'b' and 'd'. All learning is about difference.

A child will think, How does this new thing fit into what I already know about the world? Can I put it into one of the existing pigeon holes in my mind? Or do I have to pay attention and investigate further?

Next time you’re sitting with your child, try to put yourself in their shoes. What do they already know? Now, focus on what’s different, what’s new. Ask them to notice this.

They’ll draw their own conclusions. You can’t make them learn. But they will have moved forward on the road to greater understanding.

Spot the difference drives all learning. It's the most powerful game in the world.

Alexis

I'm Alexis, father of four and founder of One Hundred Toys. I taught in London primary schools for thirteen years, specialising in the early years. Now I write about all things play here on the blog. Read more

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