The Parent’s Guide to Choosing Educational Video Games
These days, kids’ video games aren’t just for entertainment. They can also be highly effective teaching tools! But how can you choose the best educational video games for your kids’ homeschool curriculum, remote learning program, or even productive downtime? This guide will help you decide!
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Skills-Based Video Games
Before you pick out any educational video games, think about which skills you want your kids to learn while playing video games. For instance, games involving puzzles can help your child improve their logic skills, critical thinking abilities, and pattern recognition. Story-based games can boost their literacy and language arts skills. Games with historical settings, meanwhile, can teach them about different time periods, and games that take place in the natural world can inform them about science and biology.
If your child is playing video games without headphones, the sounds can become distracting, and their gameplay might be interrupted. Choosing a comfortable pair of headphones is a smart choice. Look for a high-quality pair that suits your budget; there are plenty of options available.
Understanding Game Ratings
Are you worried that your children will be exposed to inappropriate content while playing video games? Before purchasing any video games, it’s important to understand the various content warnings you might find on certain games. Child Development Info states that games labeled EC, or Early Childhood, are suitable for children ages three and up, while games labeled E, or Everyone, can be a good choice for children ages six and older.
Examples of Educational Video Games
If you want to incorporate some popular educational video games into your child’s remote learning schedule, or you simply want to give them a few they can play during their free time, there are a few games, in particular, that stand out. Wired states that Animal Jam can teach your kids about ecology and zoology, Prodigy will help them expand on their math skills, Endless Alphabet can help young children master early literacy skills, and Thinkrolls 2 can even introduce your kids to basic physics!
What kinds of games should you avoid? Any games that involve violent scenarios or romance should be off-limits. Games that allow for in-app purchases should also be avoided – your child might rack up credit card charges without realizing it.
Setting Screen Time Limits
Lots of parents worry that their kids spend too much time looking at screens, and this is a fair concern. Setting healthy screen time limits can encourage your kids to balance their time playing video games with playing outside, reading, or doing other creative activities. If your children are between the ages of two and five, try to limit their screen time to one hour per day. Kids ages six and older can spend more time using screens, but parents should determine consistent limits for their screen usage.
If your children will be playing online games or playing video games on a device with Internet access, you might be concerned that they will access content online that you wouldn’t want them to see. Set up strict parental control settings before you allow them to play. Parental control options will vary based on the device your child is using, so research how to work with these settings on their specific device.
Today, online and video games can be a great way for children to expand their knowledge of the world while having fun. Educational video games can make learning feel like playtime! With these tips, you’ll be able to select interesting and age-appropriate games for your kids. Written by Amanda Henderson
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