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National Video Games Day: Should Children Play Video Games?

Did you know that today, July 8, is National Video Game Day?

I was basically raised by video games, so I’m pretty excited that there is a national day for video games!

Girl and boy playing video games at home

Some parents are scared to let their children play video games (usually because some studies do suggest that too much screen time is damaging to development), but we tend to be a little more lenient in this area as long as our kids move around a good bit throughout the week.

Rather than being a way to rot your brain and turn children into zombies, some video games actually provide benefits to children in multiple ways, providing a very basic source of STEM activities for kids.

Why Should Children Play Video Games?

Aside from the recreational value (which is also important), video games also prepare children for the future. More and more careers are all virtual-based, so if children are not exposed to computers and technology from a young age, they will lag behind their peers.

Many of today’s video games sneakily teach children basic programming, problem solving, and other techniques that will prepare children for learning STEM topics as they attend college and in their future careers. Many careers today use some elements of advanced math, programming, or online collaboration. At the very least, children can use video games to learn typing skills, quick thinking, and social interaction.

Recent studies have found that certain video games (but not all), improve mental clarity, problem solving, learning power, and thinking skills.

My Favorite Educational Video Games

I like to allow our children to play a mix of recreational and educational video games. In some cases, video games can have surprising educational benefit. However, the following games are more educational than not:

Minecraft Sandbox game that teaches basic programming

Reach for the Sun- Stragety game that uses scientific biology to grow plants

Big Brain Academy Various fun ways to practice the “three-R” skills

Lemonade Stand- Operate a lemonade stand and learn about budgeting, marketing, and other business techniques

Sim City City building game teaching budgeting, planning, resource management, and people skills

Infinifactory- Complicated puzzle solving in a sandbox environment

Video Games: Easy STEM Education

STEM skills are important for children today. Video games provide children with fun exposure to the very basics of technology, programming, and math. Video games can also help children learn how to think quickly and solve problems faster, which are great advantages in today’s fast-paced world.

Do you allow your children to play video games? Why or why not? 

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  1. Yes, I allow my 7 yr. old daughter and 10 yr.old son to play Minecraft. They have been playing for the last two years, on many platforms, including Xbox One, PC and Xbox 360. Originally, my children had “getting along” issues, and since both of them love this game, I used it as a tool. It taught them to share resources and to help each other, not just in- game play. For example, if my daughter’s room needs to be clean, my son will offer to help and vice versa. My son used to complain that my daughter was always in the way and annoying, granted he still does, but I’m not climbing the walls, pulling my hair out or whining to my husband for solutions. BEWARE: on any platform, there are Minecraft adults that used ungodlike language, I appreciate the options on the Xbox consoles that allow me to block and restrict such run-ins, however, my husband supervises PC time, since restrictions are limited or non-existent. God bless and good building.

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