Should I make that jump? What will happen here? What do I need before I start this quest? What else can I do over there? These are the types of questions your child might ask themselves when playing a video game.
Your child gets the most out of the planning practice they get when they use apps and play video games when you get involved. Talking about and playing video games with your kids not only gives them validation and support, it offers you opportunities to help them reflect on and make connections between the skills they use in the game and the skills they use in the real world. You can help them take that practice to the next level by working on one or more of these activities together.
Talk about pros and cons of decisions big and small. Encourage your child to make a written list of the positive and negative effects of a choice. This can be done with a variety of everyday experiences such as choosing clothing to wear, picking out a game or movie to rent, or sequencing homework, chores, and play. Most importantly, review the results of your child’s choices with an eye on future planning.
Emphasize the importance of watching the entire dance before you focus on learning the sequence of the steps. Engage in other activities that involve seeing and considering the whole process, but learning the steps first. Examples would be completing a science fair project or putting together a piece of furniture. Discuss how understanding the parts and the whole help in planning. Play a game like Dance Central Spotlight together and be vocal about preparing for the upcoming moves in a dance routine.
Work with your child on a craft or hobby that requires planning, such as making jewelry, building models, gardening, or collecting stamps or coins. Gradually put them in charge of determining what is need to pursue your mutual hobby.
Use hands-on building tasks with blocks, LEGOs, bricks, or lumber to complete a paper-based design. Creative artwork with geometric forms also requires foresight, planning, breaking down the plan into steps and building a design. Many toys beyond simple blocks or LEGOs, such as Geomix, Hexabits, and Connex, require planning and visualization skills. Engage in both free play (with a particular design in mind) and tasks in which you use completely pre-designed models. Compare and contrast your approaches and planning decisions. A game like Minecraft is particularly well-suited to this kind of creative planning.