Why Games Are Good For Kids

A lot of time concerned parents wonder if playing games too much can be harmful to their child’s learning patterns. Other parents may spend tons of money on self-proclaimed learning games to try to boost their kids learning skills. Neither of these usually work well and there are some surprisingly easy methods to use when it comes to boosting your child’s learning process with the world of gaming. The issues with learning games

The idea behind learning games is to make problem-solving fun. Most of these games are dressed up with a unique way to do math or spell words. They will also feature cute characters, generally animals to give the game a more cartoonish overtone. Many of the games will have their own self-contained story that explains why you have to solve math problems to advance the story. While this technically gives all the elements of a solid game to your kids it’s missing some of the most important elements.

The biggest of the elements is draw. What would make your child want to play this game over watching cartoons? AlLot of times these games don’t feature characters they already know or are attached to and the stories as cute as they may be are very obvious learning bait. Due to this, you will find that your child never really interacts with these as much as you would hope. Even in licensed games with characters like Dora or Disney Stars, your kids will generally quickly grow bored of.

This is because another lacking element to most of these games is a rewards system. Yes, your child is technically awarded by getting further in the story, but also they are de rewarded with harder learning challenges causing the games to come unbalanced in the work-reward system. Picture it this way, you go to work and stay late every night but, instead of their being less work in the morning there is always a new batch waiting to keep you late the next night. Most people wouldn’t be very happy with this proposition and would begin to look for a job where they have a better work life balance. Same goes for games, you can’t reward hard work with harder work.

Learning Happens Naturally

Learning although we may not think of it this way is instinctive. We have to learn things in order to better adapt and grow in the environments we are forced into. This, of course, creates some issues in humans as we don’t naturally want to learn things that are no benefit to us socially. This is why you hear a lot of kids have problems focusing in subjects like math. They feel like they aren’t gaining useful information by being in the class and may lose interest more easily. While passing the class and graduating from school is a huge motivator apply this logic to games. If the game is boring, doesn’t give them a story to talk about, or it’s an online game with no one to play with we will deem it useless and a bad game.

Now let’s take a game like World of Warcraft. WOW has a very integrated social system network that gives players a feeling of competition. When a player does something cool or accomplishes a great feat in the gaming they get bragging rights to their peers. Many people will congratulate players for doing things such a leveling up making the player feel like they have accomplished something from multiple outlets. This, in turn, pushes them to play the game even more for some of those same feeling creating kind of a loop effect in most MMO’S. The cycle goes exactly like this effort, reward, and then gratitude. This system literally keeps games like this thriving for years. This also takes us back to the point that the player will keep inputting their efforts into the game to learn how to succeed, this is done by their own choice and creates a natural learning environment.

Kids Look Up To You

You may have some trouble believing it at times, but that sweet little boy that clings to you watches pretty much everything you do. That means if you look to be enjoying something your kids will want to copy it to enjoy it too. This is where you’re going to play a big part in the learning with games category. Most of us with younger kids now grew up during the Pokemon craze and probably still enjoy the games to this day. I’m sure one of the things you did or have done while playing a game like Pokemon was ask your parents what something meant or to help you with a fight.

While this may just be a cute memory for you. You were actively seeking guidance and to learn about the situation you were in. This is how kids view the games they are into. When actively given a game a child enjoys they will do everything they can to get that cool outfit to show to their friends or beat the boss their older brother can’t. This is where their social reward factor comes in pushing them to overcome the obstacles the game presents. This causes a natural push to overcome the material presented in front of them and with popular games like Yo-kai Watch, Pokemon, and Mario this is usually pushed towards the reading and problem-solving areas.

Another thing your child may look for with gaming is someone to relate to. A lot of the time kids can feel a little out of the loop growing up and may attach to characters they resonate with. This can come in two different ways. When a child finds a cool main character they get to play in a video game they can sort of play pretend by living as that player in their world. This will in reaction make the child want to learn as much as they can about their surroundings to fit into this imagery personification they are playing as.

How To Use These Methods

First off, take your kids to Gamestop or the nearest gaming store you can. This doesn’t mean let them go for any game in the store of course, but let them show you what interests them. Chances are that some of your kid’s friend or schoolmates already have games and they may be familiar with some of the mascots. My greatest suggestion is to buy them a 2DS this little device will run you about $100 and can play Nintendo games from both the 3DS and DS. That means games with a lower rating and a lot of problem-solving elements. If your child is younger show them games you would play even The Legend of Zelda can greatly boost their word comprehension skills.

Buy them the game and allow them to get enthralled in it. While it may be a little scary to keep kids active, allowing them to become engrossed is the best way to push their learning curve. Encourage them to tell you about the characters in the game and why they like them. When it comes to understanding words they haven’t learned yet take a moment to look at the game with them and explain the situation the character is in. Let them play games with battles in them to teach them how to add, subtract, and divide the damage they can take or give to beat the bosses. While this may look like you’re just spoiling your child with games they are becoming faster at both math and word recognition.

If you can get them into a game like Pokemon or Zelda where reading is key in the game. Then you will probably notice a huge difference in their English skills. If you wanted to promote learning outside of this you could even make a spelling competition for words from the game. There are plenty of cheap toys you can buy from game series that you can reward them for spelling the names right. Even if you may not find Pikachu on your in school spelling test your child is developing memorization skills that will help them in the long run.

Unexpected Learning

Finally, let’s talk about the things we don’t expect to learn from games. Such as geography, this may have you scratching your head a little bit at first. A lot of child-friendly games like Minecraft incorporate biomes into their games. In these different biomes, different monsters spawn that give you items to progress with. This in turn secretly teaches your child about things like biodiversity. A lot of the time there will even be ecosystems that interact with each other in unique ways teaching them about natural order.

If that’s not cool games are pretty cool about random real world trivia. Trivia is usually slipped into games by creators and has interesting facts about the earth. The Pokemon games even feature a museum with real life sea trivia that could be found on end of years exams. This isn’t just some internet fact either I several times throughout my school year would find problems I had learned about in video games listed on my exams. This was also the case with reading complicated books, games taught me vocabulary I wouldn’t have learned in a normal setting. This all goes to prove that you initially pick up information while having fun. Something teachers struggle with doing in their classrooms.

Jessica has been working with the gaming industry for about two years now. She enjoys playing quirky Japanese games and learning about the newest trivia in the industry. When not working with games you may find her chilling with her naked cat Prince Noko... he's pretty cool we guess.
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