Play is the main activity of young children. Game research assumes that children play around 15,000 hours in their first six years of life. It is therefore worth paying a lot of attention to children’s games.
Play is so valuable for children’s development because it is an activity of their own choosing. They pursue games such as the best god sandbox game with the greatest joy, motivation, and attention. Playing is purposeless and takes place for its own sake. In the free, pleasurable play, children follow their own needs, interests, and ideas regardless of external constraints and expectations.
Adults know the feeling that arises which is the so-called “flow”. In the play, children spontaneously bring in their thoughts and feelings and try out processing options. Adults observing attentively can identify the most important issues that children are currently concerned with and address them in their relationship with the children.
In the play, children deal actively and intensively with themselves and their environment. The game, therefore, offers ideal conditions for successful learning processes in all areas of child development.
Learning and educational goals of games as a method in social science lessons
The method of play ties in with basic human needs. In this way, the instinct to play and the urge to try things out can be used in teaching practice to acquire knowledge and skills. In the didactic discourse, there is no uniform definition of what a game is. But basic characteristics such as active actions and interactions are relevant for learning processes in social science education.
The theoretical justification for using games can also be linked to various conceptual foundations. The sociological approaches see active action and experimentation as the essential basis of the child’s development process.
Role theoretical justification of the game
Play and games ascribe an important part to role play in the development of the child’s identity since children perceive expectations of others by assuming roles. In that, the child alternates between a specific foreign and then his/her own perspective during play.
In the group game and in the confrontation with the group, children get to know certain roles in a social system and societal context. They can recognize the norms and values associated with it. They learn that their own actions depend on others and that they themselves can influence the actions of others.