Have you heard that gaming can affect your brain? Some say that playing violent games for twenty minutes can heighten anxiety while escapist video games have the opposite effect, relaxing the player as much as if they watched an entertaining movie. Playing video games can also increase problem-solving and video spatial skills. But how does playing educational games impact your child’s brain development?
Playing Games Can Reinforce Skills
They say that practice makes perfect. This is why educational games can dramatically speed up knowledge absorption. Every session moves them up the learning curve. This is why flashcard games for everything from math facts to sight words to Spanish language vocabulary can be found online. It is certainly cheaper and less stressful than hiring a tutor.
Improve Overall Learning
There are four main categories of learning: visual, aural (hearing), verbal (including reading), or kinesthetic (doing) learning style. Modern classrooms tend toward the visual, aural, and in later grades, verbal/reading. It is hard for teachers to set up labs for kinesthetic learning. If your child isn’t hasn’t mastered phonics or lacks reading comprehension because they don’t know all the vocabulary words, teachers relying on verbal teaching methods won’t be able to teach your child.
One solution for parents is to utilize educational games that better suit their child’s learning style. Your child may learn math through a game that has them manipulate shapes to practice fractions or multiplication. They may play games navigating the body to learn anatomy facts. They could learn vocabulary words through games that show the item and the associated word while speaking it. This allows your child to learn the concept and the word at their own pace. And it is an option if they can’t keep up with the fast pace of classroom vocabulary lessons.
The Kids Learn How to Use Devices
We’ll call this computer literacy. When the child is playing educational games, they may be learning how to use a mouse or a tablet computer at the same time. Depending on the game, they may be learning how to type on a keyboard, too. These are essential skills. Depending on the permissions you give them, they may learn how to update, remove and install apps. Just make sure you have good malware protection so that your children don’t install a game that steals your financial information while they play it.
Be careful of games that ask for financial information aside from what it costs, whether you’re paying for it once or signing up for a subscription. For example, your children shouldn’t be paying for items inside of an educational game. On the other hand, these types of safety lectures are important in their own way. Depending on the child’s age and maturity, you may put tight restrictions on what they and the apps themselves can do until you’re ready to loosen the reins.
What Educational Games Won’t Do
If the educational game improves your child’s reading comprehension or math knowledge, they’ll do better on tests. However, educational games will not increase your intelligence. Brain training games won’t protect cognitive abilities like memory or reasoning skills in adults, either.