Play is the Highest Form of Learning

By: Colin Goh
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Main Points:

1. The game unleashes the imagination and creativity in children.

2. It trains their motor and problem-solving skills.

3. It provides hours of healthy bonding moments when parents and children can work together.

I have always believed in learning through play. That's why I never restrict my children (10 and 6) in playing video games (read my review of Minecraft here) and toys. In fact, I also encourage them to play board games such as Monopoly, Cash Flow and Game of Life (read my review of Game of Life here).

Last year, Minecraft released its line of Papercraft toys. Think of it as Minecraft in reality. I hesitated with getting them for my children, as a full set of 6 boxes cost in excess of $200. In the end, I got them a full set for Christmas. It turned out to be a great decision. Here are 3 reasons why.

First, Papercraft does not come play-ready. The blocks have to be built, or crafted. Hence, the children and I spent hours unboxing and folding lots of blocks, some animals and monsters and then more blocks. And that's really a lot of time, just for Christmas night itself. However, I managed to get some great bonding time with the kids. Not only so, the 2 of them teamed up and helped each other too. That's something we seldom see.

Second, folding the blocks weren't as easy as I thought. Oftentimes, I had to refer to the instruction manual, and origami isn't really my forte. Suffice to say it was many folds harder (forgive the pun) for my 6 year-old daughter. But after 2 or 3 blocks, she was folding Papercraft blocks like a pro. She was even teaching her mom!

Third, when the blocks were all done, they were ready to be played like Lego bricks, only super-sized. They were stackable; a house ccould be built complete with a door, transparent windows and furniture; even a whole story can be created with Steve (the hero), some really boxy animals and lots of evil monsters. My children went wild with recreating scenarios they met in the game. I thought like Lego, Papercraft unleashed the imagination and creativity in my children.

The only issue I have with Papercraft is that they take up a lot of space. A small set of 20 blocks will take up half an Ikea shelf. My full set of 6 box sets created nearly 200 blocks, figurines, tracks, storage chests and trees (man, the trees are huge!). So, if you are keen to get these, do consider the potential storage space required.

So there you have it. I believe my children and I had great fun playing with it. It was essentially a healthier option as compared to letting play on the game on the phone or tablet.


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Posted on 07/03/2015

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