How can you contribute to your child’s education and development without breaking the bank? The answer may surprise you: video games.
When most people think of video games and children, they picture a child seated in front of a computer or television screen for hours at a time barely seeming to move or react. While that may have once been the norm, the variety and capabilities of learning and educational video games today is staggering. Multiple studies show how limited video game use can aid motor skills, hand-eye coordination, teamwork, social skills, self-confidence, creativity, decision making and problem solving, pain management and therapy for vision problems or chronic illnesses.
Companies like Leapfrog have developed games and devices designed to help in the developmental stages of early childhood. What are essentially very basic handheld electronic devices can be installed with apps catered to nearly every age group. Everything from help with letters and numbers to music and arts is available, and some even have the capability to add a camera extension for early exploration and creativity.
Games like Big Brain Academy for younger kids and Lumosity as they get older are great for practice and training. They offer numerous games and challenges that focus on things like memory and retention, teamwork and competition, critical thinking and problem solving.
My Word Coach and other similar games help with vocabulary and word usage, as well as memory. There are also options that include foreign languages, such as My Spanish Coach or My Chinese Coach. It has long been known that learning more than one language early on can significantly aid in the development and proper use of all languages later on.
Websites like iWin.com can be a great alternative for those families who don’t have access to the devices required for many early-age games. With hundreds of free games you can play online and membership options to be able to download the games and take them with you wherever you go, sites like this can be an easy option and still very effective. Different categories like puzzle or word games let you chose whatever type of game is best for you at that time. Some of the more sophisticated games have social options that can be great for teamwork and cooperation.
As with most things, moderation and supervision is the key. Do your due diligence and research what games are and are not appropriate for your child’s age and make sure to mix in other activities such as social time and outdoor play.