Teaching Kids with Video Games

If you have ever met my daughter, I’m sure you have heard something about sea animals of some sort.  The girl is completely obsessed.  I’m positive she will be a Marine Biologist (or a trainer at Sea World).  She’s 5, and we don’t live anywhere near an ocean, anymore.  We recently purchased Endless Ocean: Blue World for her birthday.  She was allowed to browse through the games at Best Buy and pick out a game that she wanted.  Clearly that was the game she wanted.  I really like this game for her though because she is able to swim around and discover everything about all of the fish and various sea creatures she encounters in the game.  We have purchased her several books about the ocean, and sea animals, but she LOVES discovering them as she “swims” around.  You can click on a fish or sea creature and it will tell you it’s name and some facts about them.  You can feed the animals, and even teach a dolphin tricks (her personal favorite).

Video games such as this, offer educational opportunities to my daughter that she could not get anywhere else.  Just the interactive nature of the game can help a child learn new things that they would not normally be able to discover.  She’s 5, she’s not a certified scuba diver.  She probably wouldn’t be able to get certified for many many years to come.  With games like this though she can go on a dive and interact with the ocean from the comfort of her living room (although she would probably rather be diving in the ocean).

While children can definitely learn ABC’s and 123’s through games (I’m very curious about a couple of new Sesame Street games coming out for the Wii in October to try out on my son), but where you will really gain educational value is for things they can’t get in the real world.  They can explore the African Savannah, dive in the ocean depths, and even go river rafting!

Another game my daughter plays allows her to go grocery shopping and put the right things in her cart from her list.  Kids could also build and create entire cities or theme parks with video games.  There are many people who are against video games, but I say that when used appropriately they can be incredible educational tools.  Not that we only make her learn with the games, she has fun too, but really… she picked the endless ocean game herself with all of the other Wii games at Best Buy staring her in the face.  Kids LOVE to learn, especially when it’s a topic that interests them.  So develop the curiosity and help them learn everything there is to know about their favorite topic.  Seriously, she knows more about the different species of dolphins than I do.

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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com


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