As I have covered in Diagnosing Learning Difficulties and Gifted Children in the Early Years, children have different ways of processing information. Digital kids need order, consistency and logic. The most important thing in the world for them is understanding.
Digital children are sharp-minded and need plenty of stimulation in order to learn better. But to learn best, the new information must be organized well and presented in a factual and detailed way. If they do not get something, they cannot proceed to the next step until things are clear, so they often ask questions.
Here are some ideas that will young digital kids learn better:
- Puzzles – making something coherent and whole from pieces is how digital kids think. Over time, puzzles develop their abilities to strategize (frame first, side to side, find all the blue pieces, etc), which will serve them well for many years
- Patterns – digital children think in patterns and look for patterns in everything around them, so matching games, “what comes next?” games or hear the beat in the music will help develop this skill
- New languages – language is made up of building blocks (words) and ways of putting them together (grammar rules). For a digital child, this speaks directly to the brain
- Riddles – having to crack a code, analyse a problem or find a solution are great fun for a digital child. “It’s interesting”, they will tell you. Anything to sharpen the mind
- Computer – the computer was designed by digital people to make complicated things simple, and they ARE simple for … other digital people, who can get into the mindset of the designers. Your main challenge as a parent will be to control and direct your child’s computer time
- Card games – these games have rules and the person using the rules best wins. Choose card games that require less luck and more skill and thought
- Projects & challenges – digital kids love to discover new information. They can find great ways to reorganise things (reorder books or CDs for easier retrieval), they love to research new topics and organise the material for a proud presentation. When giving a digital child a challenge, make sure it involves thinking, structuring and processing
- Construction games, like Lego – this is another building-blocks-and-rules kind of game and is also a bit like a 3-dimensional puzzle, except the result depends on your child’s imagination. It is important to get a large set of blocks with a wide variety of blocks but no particular designs, or your child will build it once and get bored