Lara Croft’s legendary adventures on the PlayStation have done more to spark the interest of children in archaelogy than most textbooks. There are endless other videogame characters who make different career paths more interesting, inspire kids to play together and make friends, enhance problem-solving skills, and stimulate the mind while having fun!
As parents, we frequently place a bigger focus on the potential negatives of video games than their many benefits. In this day and age, video games are a regular part of a normal, modern childhood, and can even be powerful tools to help your children learn and grow.
1. Use video games to inspire an interest in history & culture
Use the games your kids love as an opportunity for them to learn more about history and culture. Age of Empires, the Civilization games, Age of Mythology can spark an interest in world history, geography, learning about culture, and understanding international relations. Kids can gain a better understanding of complex language, content, and connections that help set the base for future learning. Explore and learn about ancient civilizations through these games with your kid while they develop their creative and technical skills through designing and strategizing. Even the popular action game Assassin’s Creed features historical fiction intertwined with real world events and figures that truly existed in real life- games of the series actually have amazingly historically accurate settings and storylines!
2. Get your kids fun, educational games
There are many incredible companies that create video game content specifically targeted towards providing kids with both education and entertainment, and have done so for years. Companies like The Learning Company had an early start in the 1980s and 1990s featuring game series such as The ClueFinders and Reader Rabbit. Games such as World Rescue help children learn about serious issues that affect the world and encourage problem-solving skills, while mobile game apps such as Endless Alphabet help young kids in learning the alphabet and improving their vocabulary.
Developers created these games to enhance reading and math skills in children, and today, you can find countless exciting games created to educate your child while making sure they enjoy themselves. Check out a list of educational games for your kids to play here.
3. Make playing video games a bonding experience
Video games don’t always have to be traditionally educational- they can also help learn social skills and deepen relationships. Read about games you can play with your child- something as well-known as Guitar Hero can transform a post dinner conversation into a fun family evening! Let your kids show you how they excel at games and embrace the reversal of parent-child roles that comes with stepping into their world. Over time, playing games together will help your child maintain easy conversations with you that can lead to more sharing and connecting. Explore games that you can play with your kids!
4. Increase their physical activity through AR & VR gaming
Video games are no longer the forte of couch potatoes- most major consoles have technology that gets gamers on their feet! AR & VR gaming are set to take things to a whole new level. The release of Pokemon Go in the summer of 2016 resulted in a noticeable increase in physical activity in people of all ages. The popular sports simulation video game Wii Sports was developed for the Nintendo Wii and used the Wii remote to imitate actions that were used in the real-life versions of the selected sports, such as swinging a tennis racket or throwing a bowling ball. While the original game came out in 2006, there’s an exciting sequel called Nintendo Switch Sports releasing for the Nintendo Switch in April 2022!
Many mobile game developers are creating more games that are built around real-world location data and AR/VR technology. These games push kids to get up and go off into the real world, in order to advance in the virtual one. Playing video games can even help you perform better in real sports by improving coordination, aiding in decision making, and increasing physical activity. The world’s most popular sports video game franchise, FIFA, shows us how video games can create a love for sports that results in real-life engagement.
5. Encourage creativity through video games
Many video games encourage players to practise a certain level of creativity, with some providing kids with the tools and space that help creative freedom truly flourish. Minecraft and Roblox Studio literally provide children with a world that they can build anything they can imagine in, while other games such as Animal Crossing provide a staggering amount of customization that help young children express themselves.
Read through this list of creative games to get new ideas of what your child can play to help their creativity grow!
6. Introduce your kids to the world of coding through video games
The benefits of coding are countless and well-publicized, and video games can help you introduce your child to it in an easy way regardless of their age. Engaging with platforms like Scratch and Hatch XR can help your child learn coding and build their own simple games that they can create and then play with friends. Games like Hopscotch and Made with Code help explain the beginnings of coding to kids as young as 5 and can even be used by adults to understand some basics before diving into coding languages! This list of the 10 best games to teach your kids to code will help you get started.