Both Piaget and Trotsky believed that play gives children valuable practice in adult-like behaviors. Furthermore, Trotsky argued that various forms of play (especially pretend play) enables children to develop increasingly sophisticated ways of thinking about relationships between objects and their meanings. You might want to discuss young children’s play characteristics and behaviors, and elaborate on it to discuss older children’s play.
Tinsmith-Roy (1994) designed the Make-a-Toy project to enable students to develop a higher level of understanding of children’s psychological and physical needs. She explains that this activity is a good alternative to experience-based activities in case students don’t have opportunities to interact directly with children.
In this activity you are to either plan or actually create a toy or game together in a group incorporating what you know about these theories of development. You will bring in your plan or the actual toy or game in the next class so that we can see it.
Construct an age-appropriate toy or game for children or adolescents.(Some supplies will be provided in class the previous week). Pick a close age range (ex. 2yo-6yo).
Consider youngsters’ developmental abilities (e.g., physical, cognitive, social, linguistic) for the age they are targeting. Design a game or toy (e.g., card game, board game, physical activity game) that is age-appropriate and takes into account the children’s developmental abilities.
Another variation is to have students actually teach a child a new game using Trotsky ideas related to scaffolding and zone of proximal development.
Be prepared to justify:
The targeted age group.
The toy’s positive and negative characteristics (including safety issues).
Describe how the toy contributes to children’s psychological and physical development.
Convince the reader that Trotsky would agree that your particular toy would contribute to children’s ability to master increasingly complex cognitive processing skills necessary for understanding cause-effect relationships, taking others’ perspectives (e.g., hypothesizing about what the opponent’s next move will be), practicing skills needed in later life, refining cooperation and conflict-resolution skills.
The game itself does not have to be made, only come up with written up plan for one.
An example of similar games is included (Educational _games.PDF) as are the pages from the textbook which deal with the two educational theories involved.