The heuristic game is for children a highly stimulating play activity , ideal to put into practice during early childhood, through which children learn while experimenting with objects and materials of its environment. This type of free play is frequently used in nursery schools and is especially in
The heuristic game is for children a highly stimulating play activity, ideal to put into practice during early childhood, through which children learn while experimenting with objects and materials of its environment.
This type of free play is frequently used in nursery schools and is especially indicated from 12 months, more or less when the child is already moving, until about 24 months.
In the heuristic game the child is the protagonist of his own learning, he advances according to his wishes and needs. Through this mode of learning, the child is encouraged to discover, explore, investigate and interact with their environment at their own pace and without previously fixed norms.
How is a heuristic game session for children
It is essential that we have a large space in which the child can move without limitations and is free of objects that may interfere with the game.
The materials used in the heuristic games are formed by objects that children have to manipulate (transport, classify, touch, smell, shake, stack, fit, observe similarities and differences, etc.) during the game session . These objects attract the child's attention due to their different shapes, colors, textures, appearance, etc. The idea is to use objects that apparently do not have a clear playful purpose and that are not made of plastic or any other type of material that could be toxic. You can use wooden objects with various geometric shapes, metal objects, paper and cardboard objects, leather objects, cloth, rubber or felt and even natural objects such as stones, fruits, nuts, etc.
A series of containers, boxes, baskets or containers (minimum three) are also available to the child, in which the material must be organized once the game is finished.
The duration of the session should not be more than 45 minutes to avoid children falling into boredom, disinterest or demotivation. The idea is for the child to finish the session with a good taste in his mouth and with a pleasant feeling that motivates him to play again. Normally, it is necessary to devote about 15 minutes to organize the material.
Next, we detail the 3 phases that a heuristic game session for children should follow:
- Preparation phase. The adult prepares the material in a space in which there are no distractions or other objects that can alter the dynamics of the game. Children can observe how the adult is placing objects on the floor or can access the room once they are all placed. During this phase the adult places the objects and at least 3 containers in which the objects must be overturned at the end of the session.
- Game phase. This is the most important phase since it is here that children begin to explore objects freely and spontaneously. There is no norm nor should they follow concrete guidelines, rather than letting themselves be carried away by their senses, impulses and motivations.
- Collection phase. In this phase the children have to collect the objects and for this they must classify them and organize them in the containers or containers that the adult has left at their disposal. Do not overturn objects arbitrarily, but the classification of objects must have a certain meaning. For example, a good idea would be to order them by size, color, shape, type of material, etc. During this phase the help of the adult is usually necessary.
What role does the adult or the child's educator play in the heuristic game?
The adult or educator of the child must take a back seat and not interrupt the child's activity if it is not absolutely necessary. Do not forget that in the heuristic game participation and involvement of the adult is very limited, its function should be solely as a facilitator. That is, the adult who will accompany the child, during the realization of the heuristic game, should only be responsible for providing the objects and materials. He must remain silent while watching the child's movements and interfering as little as possible.
In the heuristic game, unlike other types of games or learning, the adult should not stimulate, congratulate, point out, criticize or direct the child at any time. There are no successes or mistakes so anything the child does with the objects that are provided is valid.
Parents or educators can be with the children while they play, the heuristic game does not imply that the child has to be alone and we can not share with him our time, much less !, but it is necessary that we give all the prominence to the child and that we allow him to continue in the game his own rules and not ours.