5 Ways Game-Based Learning Makes Kids Smarter

19 October 2022
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Game-based learning is often reduced to learning content via video games and computers. It is often tagged as a modern concept when in-fact, game-based learning in education has been around for decades. Learning through play and games is the essential mode of development in the early stages.

Kids are known to have better pictorial memory, so why not leverage it? We always talk about the ill effects of too much play, but why not put the spotlight on all the good that comes out of it? Here are some ways game-based learning makes kids smarter:

  1. Bateson and Martin (1999) talk about how play is essential, even from an evolutionary perspective, suggesting that an ‘extended period of juvenility’ in the human species enables young children to assimilate to their childhood environments. Play enables a child to be better suited to their unique and complex environments and thus increases their likelihood of survival as a child. Play is not just about empowering a child to become a better adult; however, the play does set a fertile ground for becoming a competent adult, but it cannot be reduced to a cause/effect relationship.

  2. According to Sutton-Smith (1999), play helps a child rearrange their environments and makes them less intimidating and less tedious. For example, in a game of tag, children, while remaining physically active and abiding by the rules, enjoy the thrill of the chase. The rules provide a solid framework within which each player knows their limits and rules, making the play environment a safe and known space for the child.

  3. Play contributes a lot to a child’s sensorimotor and neurological development. Sutapa et al. (2021) conducted a study among forty children aged four to six years to see if goal-oriented play led to motor development. The results of the study showed that there were significant differences in motor skills evaluated pre and post-training. Physical play is crucial to stimulate a child’s motor abilities. Play enhances the development of the nervous system by engaging the child to experience different textures, improving their grip, and holding their balance. So important is the child’s right to physical play that Cristia and Seidl (2015) found that early exposure to touch-screen and passive play will decrease motor skills. A child makes meaningful neural connections while playing, which is crucial to developing the axillaries of the nervous system and, most importantly, the brain.

  4. Play also encourages essential social and emotional development in children. According to Shafer (2018), play encourages social development by noticing and understanding social cues, using listening skills and understanding other people’s perspectives. These are some critical aspects of empathy, and social play enables children to share ideas and feelings while compromising and adjusting to their play environment. Emotional development is also something play promotes as children often experience emotions ranging from anticipation to joy, frustration to delight during the activity. It helps children regulate their emotions, and explore the depth and range of emotions from a young age.

  5. Lastly, children can learn their school syllabus through play, or game-based learning. Through a series of games and activities, drawings, and paintings- children can learn important concepts through play that cements logic and understanding in a fun and child-friendly way. Think, excursions and group activities to learn about different kinds of flowers, animals and plants!

  6. For more content like this, visit the Podar International School blog site!

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