Game: What If …

What If … is a great game for encouraging children to think about the consequences of actions, which is important for developing good self-control and forward-planning skills, about how the world around them works, and about how to deal with any mistakes and failures which they may encounter in their lives. It’s also a great way to encourage children to develop good problem-solving skills. What If … is very easy to play and it’s perfect for playing in cars or whenever you’re on the move. The concept behind this game is very simple. One of you postulates a scenario about the world where something is different from how it actually is, and the other one has to come up with as many implications as they can for what impact this difference would have. Scenarios can include ones such as what if trees could speak? What if leaves were blue rather than green? What if our solar system had two suns? What if the oceans were full of custard? What if mice grew as big as dinosaurs? What if gravity were to suddenly disappear? What if door handles were made of pizza? What if everyone in the world jumped up and down at exactly the same time? As you can see these scenarios can be as serious or as silly as you like, and so can the implications.

How Long Does It Take To Play? Each round of this game will usually take between two and five minutes, but if you happen upon a particularly interesting scenario, the resulting discussion may last much longer.

Ages: Five and older.

Core Life Skills It Will Help Develop: Critical Thinking Skills – critical thinking; understanding how the world around them works.

What Do You Need To Play It? There is nothing that you need to play this game, other than a few minutes of your time.

Preparation: There is no real preparation required for this game. However, you may find that it is worth preparing some scenarios in advance, and read up about them so that you are able to deal with any questions your child asks.

How Do You Play It? There are two basic ways to play this game. The first is better suited to younger children, and this is where you encourage them to think up scenarios to ask you about. Once they have outlined their scenario, it is up to you to lead the discussions about its implications for how such a world would work. Your aim here is to demonstrate how to use critical and logical thinking to come up with the implications of specific actions or changes to the world. The second way to play it is better suited for older children. In this version, you outline a scenario and ask them to think of the implications. Thus, in this version, they need to put their critical and logical thinking skills to work in order to think through all the possible implications. If you wish, you can guide them gently through the implications, but you should only do this if they are really struggling and it is much better to simply given them free rein to explore the scenario themselves, no matter where it takes the discussion. Of course, you can alternate between these two modes of play, and take turns in postulating what if scenarios to each other, and this is probably the most fun way to play it.

When And Where Can You Play It? This game can be played almost anywhere and at almost any time.

If you find that your child really loves playing this game, then you may find that they’ll also love reading What If … a great book by Randall Munroe. You can find our review of this book here.

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About The Author: This post was written by Colin Drysdale, the creator of How To Raise A Happy Genius.

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