What soft skills are enhanced through play?
Everything is ready for Christina’s birthday party. Her parents have decorated the house with balloons and the birthday cake is waiting in the fridge, along with the 7 candles. Christina has lined up all of her toys in the living room; she can’t wait for her friends to arrive! The doorbell rings.
George rushes in and hugs his friend. Christina suggests in excitement: “Let’s play with the Akedo battle figures my mom got me for my birthday — the winner gets to eat an extra piece of birthday cake! It’s a fighting game, we place the figures on the Battle Controller and whoever lands the ultimate hit, wins”. In the ninth round, and while it’s a tie, the tension between them has escalated. The winner will have to risk their strikes if they wish to establish the win. George takes the initiative to make his move and… wins. “Yes! I’m having two pieces of birthday cake!” Christina is disappointed but handles the conflict with her friend by admitting that it was a fair battle.
What soft skills did the children develop through this game? Akedo battle figures are designed to provide kids with controlled conflict conditions they must overcome. Conflict management can be defined as the process of dealing with perceived disagreements arising from diverse opinions, objectives, and needs, with effective management techniques limiting or preventing completely the negative effects of conflict. The key to the game’s success is taking risks and showing initiative at the right time. Risk-taking is considered to be the act of doing something that involves danger or risk to achieve a goal, while initiative is defined as a new plan for achieving a particular purpose.
The doorbell rings again. This time, Christina’s three best friends have arrived, along with their younger siblings. The living room is transformed into a proper playground. Christina gives her friends’ siblings her little sister’s favorite Amicicci dolls and the little Cocoritos bird to play with. While the children are having fun, Christina’s mother notices that they have the dolls chat with each other, with the little bird being their pet, which needs to be taken care of and fed.
What soft skills do young children enhance via playing with these toys? By caring for the needs of the dolls and the birds, the children show empathy, the skill that allows us to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and recognize their thoughts and feelings. At the same time, by getting the Amicicci dolls involved in conversations, children strengthen their communication skills, a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a standard system of symbols, signs, or behavior.
Next, Christina’s beloved aunt appears at the door, holding her one-year-old baby in her arms. With the help of her dad, Christina chooses to give the Baby Shark shape shorter to the baby, while explaining to her that, when she puts all the shapes in the right place, she hears the baby shark song! The baby laughs and attempts to do the same. This is more than just a fun game, with the baby developing the soft skills of initiative and problem-solving, the process of finding a solution to a challenge.
All in all, is it just a birthday party or is it perhaps a soft skills party? Soft skills can be developed and improved through daily acts, play included! With that in mind, at Morphoses we expose our learners to real mystery and fun challenges while giving them all the fundamental tools to enhance their soft skills and reach their goals.
After all, when fun and learning combine, anything is possible.