There’s not one week that goes without some major headlines in the media about whether video games are good or bad for you, right? You’re all bombarded with that. I’d like to put this kind of Friday night bar discussion aside and get you to actually step into the lab. What we do in the lab is actually measure directly, in a quantitative fashion, what is the impact of video games on the brain.
Is Video-Gaming Actually Harmful?
“Video-gaming reduces your attention span. Makes your eyesight worse. Plants violent ideas in your brain.” All of us have heard of/read these and more such disadvantages of playing video games. But how many of these are actually true? An excessive amount of video gaming is surely detrimental. As we’ve been told over and over again for decades, addiction to anything is unhealthy. But according to a study done by Rideout, Foehr and Roberts in 2010, “On average, youth play video games for two hours a day” – which is a moderate amount, to be fair. Now the question remains that is playing video games in itself unhealthy? To find the answer to that, as Daphne Bavelier rightly states above, let us step into the lab. An article published by MomJunction overtly states that playing video games inculcates better problem-solving techniques in the children, sharpens their hand-eye coordination, enhances critical thinking ability, infuses better decision-making skills and magnifies teamwork contribution. Sounds familiar? Yes. These are all the core objectives of the STEM method. Entertainment along with intellectual benefits – why would any rational human being refuse that?
In this blog, we will take a look at some of the best educational video games that can improve your child’s learning skills and even a five-year-old can play. These games have a positive long-lasting effect on the cognitive ability of your kids. Dive in!
We have seen our kids building forts out of playing cards, beach sand, and whatnot. A child’s brain, understandably, likes the idea of having power over the world. (Don’t we, too? Even after all these years of surviving in this world?). Civilization is the perfect blend of fantasy along with a little dose of reality. In this game, the player is required to rule a whole civilization starting from the historical time to the modern era. It requires a fair amount of micromanaging and you are constantly in a competition with two to seven more civilizations. The scope of Civilization is larger than most other games. The game begins in 4000 BC, before the Bronze Age, and can last through to AD 2100 (on the easiest setting) with Space Age and “future technologies”. Your child can learn how to micromanage a whole hypothetical kingdom, which will also row the seeds of multi-tasking abilities in its brain. These are some of the very vital long-term benefits if you want your child to be able to function in this world efficiently.
Fun fact: You can build wonders of the world in this game as well! From the Great Wall to the United Nations, you can build everything if you just let your creative juices flow!
Does anyone here remember Nintendo DS? The dual-screen handheld video game console? It was mostly used for Super Mario games (super nostalgic). One of the games specially created for Nintendo DS by 5th Cell was Scribblenauts. It also won several “Best of Show” awards, the first-ever portable console to win such praise. Scribblenauts is mostly controlled by the DS stylus and the D-pad buttons. The main character of the game, Maxwell, is supposed to collect various objects called Starites. Upon tapping the object, the player is given different options about how to deal with the selected Starite. The objects can be anything from animals, household objects, vehicles, famous celebrities(fictional as well as real), and even memes! In addition to being the archive for objects of all kinds, it is also a kid-friendly game. Your child is bound to learn a thing or two by scribbling on the DS with the stylus. The chief purpose of Scribblenauts is to expand the knowledge of the child as well as make the kid think outside the box.
Made by the same company as that of Scribblenauts, Endless Ocean is a game for Wii console released by Nintendo. Compared to the previous two video games, Endless Ocean is relatively new. In this alternative universe ;), you are a scuba diver that is looking for adventures in the Manaurai sea. The video game simulations have already mastered the land, so why not delve into conquering the sea? As a player of Endless Ocean, your ultimate goal is to find sea life and sunken treasure. Playing this game will make your child adaptable to any challenges that may come her/his way, and teach her/him the art of constantly keeping one eye on the final goal despite the roadblocks.
Fun fact: A sequel of Endless Ocean was also recently released worldwide with various titles like Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep and Endless Ocean 2: Blue World.
One of the rivals of Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation published a series of puzzle-platform video games called LittleBigPlanet in 2008. There are various versions of this game such as LittleBigPlanet 2, 3, Karting, PS Visa, etc. The series is available across four gaming platforms. It follows the basic plot of any other video game, you roam around, avoid obstacles and collect awards. In addition to that, you can also create levels, customize your character and play mini-games within the primary levels! LittleBigPlanet is all about innovation. It has everything from quirky characters to thrilling adventures. As Media Molecule, the creator company of LittleBigPlanet, rightly says –
All imagination is here, and what you do with it all is entirely up to you.
In a Nutshell
Playing video games is not all bad. Everything you’ve heard about video games, good and bad, take it with a grain of salt. Test the statements out scientifically before actually believing in them. That is the core of STEM learning method. Keeping these conditions in mind, we introduce you to four of the best educational video games for kids including Civilization, Scribblenauts, Endless Ocean, and LittleBigPlanet. Each of these games covers different aspects necessary for equitable growth of your child’s brain including multi-tasking abilities, curiosity, adaptability, and creativity.
Feature image taken from rawpixel.com