Most people are surprised to find out that I am a huge video-game nerd. I wow them with my extensive knowledge and collection of video games and I am proud to say that I am a gamer and that I still play games today. I plan on having my kids play video games, and I incorporate games into my classroom as much as possible. Why? I’ll tell you.
Why you should let your kids play video games
1. Problem Solving:
First and foremost, video games help to teach problem solving. Anyone who has played through a Legend of Zelda temple knows that without problem solving, you would never reach the end of the game. Games are specifically designed for you to think of how to become better, how to solve the puzzle, or how to beat the boss. Games wouldn’t be as fun if you didn’t have to think about what you are doing.
2. Think Outside the Box:
There are many games that have been developed with the purpose of having their game changed, modded, and played with. Games like Minecraft allow users to create anything they can imagine. Games like these want the users to think of something the developers hadn’t thought of in order to create an even more engaging and entertaining experience.
I know many of you think of the infamous name-calling kids, but there are beneficial social interactions in games as well. Putting together a team to fight the darkness in Destiny or building a shelter together and gathering resources in Ark; games bring people together. More and more, games are coming with multiplayer aspects and online features. You have to interact with others in order to reach goals and progress in games, forcing you to talk with others, request, ask, be polite, and work on your teamwork skills.
The next benefit is learning how to strategize. Many games are designed for this exact purpose. “Can you out think your enemy?” is one of the oldest games in the world. Games are designed for you to be put into increasingly helpless situations for you to think your way out of. These types of games also teach you to try out different strategies, as often when you stick to one, you eventually find a level or boss that cannot be defeated using your favorite strategy, and a new one must be designed.
Along with social skills, teamwork is a very important goal for many games. The ability to work together in order to solve a problem or overcome adverse situations is extremely helpful in the real world. Teamwork is an essential skill for almost every job and today, working with others can happen at any time and in any place. Games facilitate the education of teamwork skills for many children. Their teams succeed or fail depending on the strength of the teamwork.
Check Out: World of Tanks, DOTA
Moving objects into intricate patterns or weaving your way through crowded streets, games of all kinds can help you improve your coordination. Most games walk you through how to move and play them in the beginning allowing you to practice the skills needed to play the game. Each level increases the difficulty until you have mastered the coordination skills required.
7. Family Time:
How much fun is family game night?! Now you can all play and work your brains together. Working together as a team can also improve how your family works together. Be silly, have laughs, and enjoy the time you have together. Games can be a great way to interact with your family and get them talking with each other.
In the beginning, video games were not very excitingly creative. They included basic graphics and your movements were minimal (like pong). Now, games can look so lifelike, you may forget that you're even playing a video game. You can even make your own video games using a video game! Endless amounts of creativity can be poured into video games to create, build, and engineer.
9. Interest in History and Culture:
Many games focus on a specific period in time, others travel through time, either way, the games expand your knowledge of the history and culture of the time. Games incorporate famous people, places, and objects from around the globe in order to make the mission and activities seem more realistic. In some games, you even play through some of history’s most famous events (a history teacher’s dream) and gain a better understanding of people and places involved.
Check Out: Age of Empires, Medieval 2
10. Encourages Exercise:
There are a few games that are specifically exercise related, but other games promote exercise as well. I don’t know of any video game heroes that sit on the couch the whole game. The heroes are up, running, jumping, and moving their way to victory. Completing a cool trick in a skateboarding video game encourages kids to go out and try it themselves. A lot of sports games include a slow-motion look at specific moves and teaches you how to do it yourself.
Competition is a healthy and natural reality of our lives. Sometimes competitions are big (horse races) and sometimes competitions are small (beating your brother to the door), but everyone has participated in a competition of some kind. Competition breeds good sportsmanship (when taught alongside) and helps kids to understand that winning is great, but losing teaches you what to do better next time. Either way, you learn from your actions. Working through a competitive video game teaches you a lot about how to handle winning, losing, and working with others. Competitions are a part of life, and video games can help kids to learn how to compete in a healthy way that promotes a growth mindset.
12. Chance to Lead or Follow:
Many kids thrive when they get a chance to teach or lead their peers and are great at giving orders and choosing the best team. Some kids thrive as followers and support and are great at listening and following directions. Both types of kids have their strengths and weaknesses and both are important for a functioning society. Video games allow kids to develop both of these skills and practice seeing the equation for each side. There are times when you have to follow and times when you have to lead so why not practice both?
Check Out: World of Warcraft, Starcraft
13. Opportunity to Teach:
With the growing popularity of games, many kids get the opportunity to teach other how to play their favorite games. It helps them to work on putting their thoughts into words and describing complicated terms and actions in simpler ways. Kids also feel more empowered when they get to be the teacher and see that their words and ideas matter.
14. Positive Reinforcement:
Last, but not least, games help positively reinforce children for their actions. Games teach kids to follow directions and rules and to fully complete tasks in order to progress onto the next mission or level. Games are designed to make your happy and to keep you playing.
How did you learn as a child?
Think back to when you were a kid. You learned through play and observing the world around you. Now, your world can be expanded through video games to include other cultures, peoples, and places. Play is essential to a growing mind and is also essential to a happy adult life. We need play to help us to socialize, learn essential skills, and as adults, relax, unwind, and be ourselves.
Games are an ever-growing part of our world and are becoming a more popular way to teach kids concepts and important life skills. They are a part of us and will continue to be in the future. Embrace your natural tendency to compete, teach, and lead!
Have any comments or questions? Feel free to leave them below!