Coming down with cabin fever due to coronavirus quarantine?
Try mixing up your routine with a video game you can easily play with your kids during this time. We know, they’re probably playing Fortnite or Call of Duty and chances are, this is above your skill level, they’ll tell you that. We understand.
But there are many other games out there, you and your kids or grand kids, or frankly any one of any age can equally enjoy and easily get a hang of. And there’s also great benefits to taking the time to play video games with your kids.
In a world that is already so digital, children are going to play video games because they have grown up with it. Whether it be on a console, a web browser, or on their phones, gaming surrounds young generations. So video games create a very easy way to bond as a family, plus there are psychological benefits to these games and moments that go unheard of.
The Psychological Benefits of Sharing Video Games with Children
Within video games lies an entire, imaginative world, filled with interactive learning, creativity, systems thinking, problem solving, adaptive feedback, and most importantly, a freedom of communication and self-expression.
Video games can also encourage one another to reach for big goals, and to always keep trying, although you may fail from time to time. To be completely frank, “parents miss opportunities to relate and communicate with their children when they turn away from video games” says Researchers of Arizona State University. Video games are meant to be shared, that is why there are such extensive “online” platforms within each game and console, so that the individual player who has turned to his/her room to play video games can still practice communication, team building, and socializing with new people.
With video games becoming more and more realistic, one can even argue that these games have now opened doors to various interests, like science, astronomy, patriotism, literacy, and problem-solving. Sinem Siyahhan, assistant research professor in Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, explains how games can become a “point of conversation, not a point of conflict.” Siyahhan adds, “On the flip side, it’s nice for the child to be able to teach his or her parents about gaming. Our research is finding that sharing this experience cultivates family bonding, learning and well-being.” Allowing your child to teach you about the game benefits both the parent and child, as it becomes a common interest, a practice of active listening for the parent, and social skills and leadership for the child.
“But What Games Are Easiest to Play and Most Fit for a Family?”
The most common answer is Mario. Why? Because most parents grew up with a similar controller (Nintendo Entertainment System), and also they were always such very simplistic games.
Mario Party has been around since 1998, and is now up to Mario Party 9, as well as Super Mario Party. Mario Party is a party style multiplayer game, fit for all ages. It is available on Nintendo Wii as well as the Nintendo Switch. (Gamecube and Nintendo 64 versions also exist, but these are the old school versions that you may not have sitting around anymore.) The objective of the game in the most common play-style is to collect the most stars. Stars can be obtained through mini games that range from jumping over obstacles, collecting butterflies, fishing, or anything in between. Best part of all, it tells you exactly which buttons to press and exactly how to play each mini game before you play. This game is incredibly fun by yourself, but the true party starts when the whole family plays together.
This one may come as no surprise. Mario Kart has been around for quite some time, just like Mario Party. The controls are very simple, really you just need to make sure you can steer your car properly. In this classic racing game, you can choose your favorite character and race against your fellow split-screen opponents.
You’ve probably seen Rayman before. He has all the correct body parts, he’s just missing some limbs here and there like a neck, legs, and arms… Anyhow, Rayman Origins is a super fun game, and has an arcade-type feel to it. Both challenging, and sometimes too easy, Rayman is a great way to bond with your child. Whether you take turns on each level, or play co-operative mode where you work together to complete each mission, this game is a blast. And no to mention, if you’re a fan of Rayman, there are many nostalgic Rayman games that your child may not know about, which then you can teach them how it’s done.
Okay, Minecraft may seem like a little much at first, but it is by far one of the most intellectually compelling games out there. There’s even a similar game for much younger kids, called Roblox, that operates generally the same way. But out of all the games we listed, Minecraft captures the essence of your child’s imagination and freedom of expression. Build anything – a farm, a house, a castle, a church, explore a jungle, tame horses, hunt skeletons, mine for resources and ores to make diamond armor to defeat a dragon in the end. There’s a story line to this game, but it doesn’t end when you finish the story line. Minecraft goes on and on for as long as your imagination allows it. Along with the others, this game also tells you what controls are which and offers tutorials during play to make sure you understand what you’re doing. Minecraft has been around for years, watch the trailer from 8 years ago below.
Overall, each of these games listed involve problem solving, imaginative worlds, communication skills, team building, and opens doors for leadership skills and so much more. But it’s not just these games. Even Fortnite, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and all the other video games out there incorporate these many benefits. Improve your skills by starting with these few, or simply just ask your child to teach you how to play a game with them, and keep improving. Don’t lose hope, sooner or later, you can play Apex Legends, Warzone, and Animal Crossing with your child and you’ll be the coolest parent in the world.