By Jenna Sherman –
Oftentimes, video games are considered a nuisance to parents. Many games are violent and some kids tend to get completely addicted to playing for hours on end. However, video games nowadays can be a great way for your child to develop cognitive skills and coordination, and even help with schoolwork. It’s important to pick out the right games for your kid, but it doesn’t end there. Read on for some tips from the American Christian Association.
Games for homeschooling
With many kids learning remotely due to COVID-19, most school work and lesson plans now happen online. As virtual classrooms become the norm, video games have also had a resurgence as learning tools for many different subjects. From math to history and science, there are games for a number of topics and for students of different ages.
Many students struggle with learning math, but video games can help make the subject easier and more fun for your child. One game that’s good for younger kids is called Tami’s Tower, created by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It teaches children to use engineering skills and basic math to help Tami, a golden lion tamarin, reach food by building towers. Another great game is Prodigy, which challenges students to battle characters by solving math questions.
It’s quite common for video games to be set in historic time periods, which can help kids learn facts while solving puzzles. Games such as The Time Tribe follows a group of young children who go on an adventure through history to find missing members of a secret group. By solving puzzles and exploring various historical locations around the world, players learn factual historical content.
Games can also be great for helping kids learn science. A ninth-grade teacher in Idaho is using one such game—named Project Hastur and developed by researchers at the University of Idaho—to help introduce his students to the scientific method. In the game, players “defend a turret against onslaughts of alien Proteans, which evolve using biologically accurate models of evolution.” There are also games that allow kids to get in touch with nature like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Stardew Valley.
There are even Christ-centered video games that help teach your kids about Christianity. Christian-based games include Eternal War: Shadow of Light and Dance Praise.
Common video game concerns
While there are great games designed for helping students learn tough subjects, there are also plenty of non-educational games—some of which should be avoided. Games that are overly violent or that contain adult themes aren’t great for kids, so be sure to keep an eye on what your child is downloading and playing when they’re done with homework.
Another important issue is how much time your child spends playing games. Playing games after school isn’t a problem, but it’s a good idea to set some rules around how long they can play in one sitting. It’s recommended that kids play an hour or less of video games on weekdays, and two hours or less on the weekends. While some game time is great for learning coordination and cognitive skills, too much time playing games can take away from other skills, such as socializing.
If your child is playing games online, it’s wise to talk about privacy and safety guidelines. Remind your child that they must always keep their identity anonymous, and should never give out personal information while playing games online. Tell them to be on their guard against harassment or requests for personal information, and check their gaming consoles for parental controls to help keep their gaming safe.
Video games can go from fun to frustrating if your internet connection can’t handle the workload. Be sure to boost your internet speeds to make downloads faster and reduce buffering time. 5G connections are ideal for gaming households because they make games run more smoothly and with better performance.
When approached thoughtfully, video games can be a powerful learning tool alongside being great fun for kids. Pick out games that can help boost your child’s understanding of challenging school subjects, and remember to keep them safe by educating them about online safety guidelines. Consider getting a stronger internet connection as your child gets into gaming—it will make games more fun and responsive.