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Discovery
Over Mastery
 
Children are often drawn to games because of the new things they can discover. As they develop and grow this play can move from discovery to mastery. This is a great way for games to create skills, abilities and confidence in specific areas. However, games can also help children (and players of all ages) to keep alive their discovery play.

As Naomi Fisher writes, "pretend play provides a chance for children to think about the way that other people think, and to learn about other minds. It enables them to practice higher-order mental skills and think about different possibilities (Buchsbaum et al, 2012)."

As Rebecca Solnit writes, how will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?” For her the answer is in getting lost. "Not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction, and somewhere in the terra incognita in between lies a life of discovery.”

Video games offer not only a way to think about how other people think, but to try out being someone else and seeing how it feels to think like them. Video games not only offer a way to lose ourselves in unknown worlds but to discover the value of allowing ourselves to stay lost for long enough to see the world through new eyes.

The games in this list offer a chance to hold onto discovery play, before rushing on to (and often in amongst) building a sense of mastery.

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Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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