When I was a child, I was jealous of my cousin who had a Nintendo video game system. It was so much fun to play, but my parents wouldn’t buy one. My husband, however, grew up with video games. After we married, he told me that he wanted to make sure our kids have access to technology and video games just as he had. I couldn’t really understand the reason why, but now as a parent of young children, I can see how video games can serve educational value and encourage the development of new skills in a fun way!
Several games require the player to earn coins or points to move forward in some way, whether that is to level up or to purchase additional characters or items in the game. This teaches basic math skills to my sons, helping them also learn to save up when necessary.
Reading and Language
Instructions and character dialogue teach language skills and reading skills. My 5 year old, has learned to read simple commands on the screen to complete a task or mission. My 7 year old can read specific instructions on the screen to the point that he rarely needs our assistance. They have also have developed a greater communication with each other.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Have you seen young brothers work together and follow each others instructions without a problem or fighting? I have, and it is amazing to watch them work together! Many of the “missions” in their games require them to work together closely and complete certain tasks at the same time in order to progress. It took them a little while to figure it out but they have learned that teamwork is the best way to get something done.
Map Reading and Navigation Skills
Most games will have some sort of map to see where to go next or where another player is. My 5 year old has learned to navigate and compare his movement from that on the screen to the small map. They can find each other across New York City in LEGO Marvel Superheroes and it is absolutely amazing to see these skills at work at such a young age!
You might think it is easy to press a button and move around on the screen but for a young child, it can improve their hand-eye coordination drastically! Button configuration varies per game so the memorization and ability to press the buttons automatically takes patience and practice.
These skills can and will still be learned elsewhere, but I love seeing my children learn together while not even realizing it. It will always be a controversial topic on the amount of screen time children should have, whether they should play video games, etc, but I believe that there are definitely benefits. Check out these kid-friendly video games and see what you think!