The best way to learn is to play! And no better play can be had than games, right? The games of yesterday and today are a bit different, but they cross over easily. Today’s games are more and more anchored in the digital world. Video games offer a type of play far different from the backyard or a playground.
In the world of gameplay, both video and ‘normal’ games have some great opportunities built-in to teach life lessons. Here is a couple from my life experience:
I taught my 8-year-old daughter to play chess, and we often play it together. We started from scratch and in order to add to the learning experience, we began what you might say is … betting.
We agreed that the loser has to wash the dishes, take out the trash, or some other quick chore at the conclusion of a game.
When we just started playing, she didn’t take chess seriously, and she’d often make mistakes leading to a lost game and a (dreaded) chore.
Then she discovered the world of online chess (chess apps allow you to play with people worldwide, practice tactics, play the computer and more). She also watched chess lessons on the internet, etc. The tables have begun to turn on the chess board and it’s thanks to video chess. (Papa still wins every game… for now, but the future is not so promising.)
If your child wants more gameplay and fewer chores… try introducing The Sims. Sims is a game where you control simulated characters as if they’re regular people.
The game is something like a life simulator, where your characters should eat, sleep, and do other things that humans do. They also have to go to work to pay the bills and feed their families, and children must go to school and do their homework on time, or else their performance will drop. That drop might lead to difficulty in finding a proper job in the future for example.
I myself played Sims as a teen. I can tell you that the Sims taught me some very valuable life lessons and helped me to reshape and improve my outlook. I personally owe this game a lot. And it’s not just me, researchers have found that role-playing and action video games improve cognitive skills too!
From board games to games you make up on the fly, to the intricate world of video games, there are opportunities and pitfalls all over. A responsible parent should always watch to ensure that their kids balance their play and stay active, while also benefitting from the unique lessons that video games can offer. And that is a responsibility game in real life for all of us!
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