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According to research, more than 164 million American adults play video games. Video games have gotten a bad rap over the years as violent and mindless entertainment. However, while some games can be problematic, many can be wonderful learning tools.
The DeputieTribe wants to see families thrive! This guide can help you enhance your child’s homeschooling experience by gamifying your child’s education. Plus, it’s something that you can do together to have fun!
Consider the Purpose of the Game
Some games are just for fun, while others are just for learning. The best games combine the two.
Determine if the Game Is Age-appropriate
While most educational games are aimed at children, some games are only intended for older teens and adults. It is important to evaluate the content of any game for age appropriateness before buying.
Online resources can be helpful in getting a general feel for what a game is like. However, there is no substitute for playing the game yourself. Some kids might be sensitive to certain ideas or images, or easily influenced in certain directions. Not all people have the same ideas about what is appropriate for children, and you know your child better than anyone. If possible, see if you can rent the game or get a trial version before you buy it.
As you’re making up your mind, consider what kind of skills the game requires. If your child has not learned to read yet and the game has a lot of text, it probably is not a good choice. You also want to keep in mind which skills your child needs to learn and pick a game that specifically improves those.
Monitor Screen Time
Even a quality educational game can be too much of a good thing if your child plays it excessively. As Gizmodo explains, experts recommend that children under the age of two do not have any screen time. Children between the ages of two and five should limit their screen time to an hour or less. For older kids, the specific amount of time is less important than ensuring screen time isn’t taking the place of other healthy activities, such as exercise and socializing.
Prepare for Online
Many games have solo-player modes, but to get the most out of gaming you need to have access to high-speed internet, such as fiber optic connections. For smooth gaming, it is important to have internet service with minimal lag and buffering and high enough speeds to accommodate large downloads.
Best and Worst Types of Games
Not all games are created equal. Some are excellent ways to teach your kids skills that range from coordination to coding in a fun manner that motivates learning. Others are mindless entertainment. While it is OK to allow your child to indulge in the occasional entertainment-only game, focus on the types of games that entertain and educate.
Games That Teach Self Control
Brain Balance Achievement Centers explains many young children struggle with learning impulse control. If that concept sounds all too familiar, Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings helps kids identify and express emotions by playing a variety of fun mini-games. Activities include drawing emotions, singing and playing with a photo booth.
Games That Improve Social Skills
Almost any multiplayer online game can help your child develop social skills, but watch for those that are extremely violent or populated with adult players who may not use kid-friendly language.
If you’re looking for something to play together, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a popular choice with kids and adults alike. Players can build a fantasy island and have friends come over and visit. In many ways, the game is like a multicultural virtual playground, and it encourages creativity and planning.
Another fun choice is Super Mario 3D World. This option encourages teamwork, strategizing and problem solving, and aimed towards companion play from the ground up. And mom and dad can enjoy a nostalgic visit with the Super Mario Brothers!
Video games can be a wonderful resource or a time eater, depending on how they are used. With your guidance, your child can have a great time while learning valuable skills. For maximum value, seek out games you can play together.
Connect with the DeputieTribe for more tips, ideas and information that will help you with your parenting journey!
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