Monday, November 08, 2004

Cards and Children

I just read an article by a writer who condemns the idea of giving your tiny tot a table top poker set for Christmas, claiming it's going to end in a gambling problem. I'm not even going to into the poker isn't gambling arguments which I could but have been well made by others, but I mean, ignoring that, come on. It's not a tiny slot machine or roulette wheel -- which I might add, I had, complete with tiny ball and little mat for placing your bets. Yet, though I had all this (and more!) and learned to play cards at 4 and poker at 7, I do not have a gambling problem.

Instead, I learned at an early age about sequencing, matching, and basic odds, as well as skills in predicting, counting, symbolic thinking... and I don't know, how to have fun in a group. I'm not kidding, really. I did learn how to interact with adults as (more of) an equal because I was playing with them as an equal. Playing cards -- gin and bridge and Euchre -- always gave me something to do and talk about with grandma and at family gatherings from here to Michigan.

And as for whether it really built math skills, and I know it's not the only reason, but I turned out to be very good at math. Like, crazy good. Until calculus my junior year of high school... Then, I kind of sucked the proverbial ass.


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