Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gifted Children at Play from Planet Smarty Pants
Today for the first time ever Smarty will be officially tested for “giftedness” with the rest of second graders in California public schools. Somehow 30 minutes test will determine if she will officially get a “GATE crown” and will be able to access additional enrichment classes next year. We have little doubt that she will be identified as gifted, since she rocked academic subjects since she was under 3. It’s a joy, a privilege, and a challenge to raise a gifted child, and I am reaching out more to the gifted community of Hoagies Gifted for advice and direction. I am also joining the community in the second blog hop on gifted topics – Gifted@Play. I missed the first one that was rather interesting – The “G” Word.
Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate and this post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure, please click here and thank you for supporting my blog!

Do Gifted Kids Play Differently?

Ever since I learned about the topic for this blog hop, I kept thinking about gifted children and play. I know that Smarty plays differently, but I am wondering how much for this is due to her intelligence and how much is due to her personality. As any Western child these days, Smarty has too many toys, but she never played much with them. She was never into building elaborate pretend worlds and couldn’t care less about dolls. Her most favorite object is not a toy, but a baby blanket. Ever since she started to read fluently at 4, she would spend more free time reading than playing. I wouldn’t say that she doesn’t have imagination – in fact, a lot of her play world seems to unfold directly in her mind, especially when she daydreams new endings for her favorite books or new story lines for her favorite characters.

Importance of Friends

It’s also very interesting to see how Smarty behaves in social situation and plays with other kids. She is social, but bossy. She’d rather play on her own if other children don’t want to play what she wants to play. But at the same time, she doesn’t have difficulties joining games and activities when she chooses to do so. Her imagination really blossoms during successful play dates with children that she “clicks with”. By the end of her second grade she has a girl friend that she has weekly playdates with, and they mostly play school. With her boy friends she climbs trees, puts up puppet shows or plays board games.

Games for Gifted Children

While Smarty is indifferent to toys most of the time (except when her birthday or Christmas are approaching), she loves games.

1. Electronic Games

I will be brutally honest here – right now Smarty’s first choice is always electronic games. I feel that she would be quite content to spend her entire free time allocation on the computer, but we don’t allow it – she is limited to 30 minutes of computer games a day. She dabbled in Minecraft Pocket edition on iPad but didn’t quite “took to it”. Her favorite game of the moment is Hay Day, but she saw our best friend (an adult) playing  Animas Crossing on his Nintendo, and now she is asking if she can have that for her birthday.

2. Active Games

Playing Ball
We strongly believe in an importance of active play, and overall Smarty is an active child with a lot of energy to spend outside. It’s a little hard to get her out sometimes, but she does enjoy herself when she is playing active games. We live in a good climate, and she spends a lot of time outside during school recess. She also goes to a YMCA after school program three times a week and is learning to play multi-children games there, such as various forms of tag. At home we also try to get outside every day – right now her favorite games involve balls (wall ball, volleyball, and soccer).

3. Board Games

Unfortunately, Smarty doesn’t care for single player logic games, but she loves family board games. We usually try to play at least once a week, but it involves some negotiating and compromise based on the amount of time we have and our willingness to play her most favorite game – Monopoly. You can check out our other favorite games in my post on Board Games for Brainy Kids.

Your Turn

If you are raising a gifted child, would you say that his/her game play is different from their age peers? Do they play well with others or prefer solitary play?

More Resources for Gifted Children

Follow my Pinterest board Resources for Gifted Children
Visit Hoagies Gifted website and Facebook page


Ticia said...

I do find it amusing her favorite game is Monopoly. I just introduced the kids to Monopoly, and now Superman thinks that is the coolest game ever.

Debbie said...

You just described Selena to a Tee! Take Anna as she is and add OCD, and Anxieties and you would have a mirrored image of Selena.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

My kids love playing with each other, partly because they have all the rules set out. That being said, they really enjoy finding a friend that they click with. I don't let my kids play electronic games at the moment, but I am quite certain that it would the top pick of at least one of my children, given the opportunity.

Amanda Boyarshinov said...

Mine likes to write and plays creatively making up her own games.

min said...

From our experience, most kids enjoy electronic games, imaginative play, outdoor games, etc. K also loves Monopoly. The only thing I noticed different about how K plays is her instinct to create and the fact that she loved chess before most of her friends knew how to take turns. As for bossiness, I tend to see more in only children (sad to stereotype). I think it comes from not being dethroned by a sibling.

Debbie, anxiety and OCD seems strongly related to giftedness. The child's ability to think deeply and know the consequences increase anxiety. I consider it part of the package. I can recommend books if you like.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Having been tagged as "gifted" in school myself, and now raising a mixture of academically average and above students - only one I think might test as gifted if they were in school - I'd say play probably has more to do with personality and situation than with academic abilities. Anna plays a lot like my oldest did at that age - and while, like her, he was a very early reader, and I think he's fantastic - when it comes to academics, he is not "gifted", or even above average.