Hitting Play on Online Gaming for Kids 🎮
We all know that kids love to play online games…Ellie Sparkles included! However, a parent’s instinct is often that screen time isn’t the best use of children’s free play. Of course, there has to be a healthy balance and games must be age-appropriate and played safely, but here at the Squad HQ we’re spreading the word that online gaming (in moderation) in childhood can actually contribute to the development of many important life skills!
Check out our list of ways online gaming can help the Sparkles ‘grow’… socially, physically and educationally. We think moms and dads will soon be happily changing their opinions!
Are Video Games Good for Kids? 8 Benefits of Online Gaming
1. Motor Skills: online games that encourage movement, such as sports, dance, handwriting or drawing, strengthen muscle memory and improve hand-eye coordination!
2. Creativity: online gaming gives the Sparkles a huge opportunity to develop their creativity, while enjoying the chance to think and make plans on their own! The sky’s the limit for their imaginations as they design online cities, villages, their homes and puzzle-solving gadgets!
3. Critical Thinking: what better way to get the kids problem-solving, without even realizing they’re learning a valuable life skill? Online games encourage them to experiment, search, plan, make decisions and expect consequences – perfect for boosting their critical thinking powers!
4. Organizational Skills: gaming is fantastic for turning the Sparkles into top-class organizers! They’ll get used to new routines, transitioning activities, and checking the time… all great practice for school.
5. Healthy Competition: kids love to compete (and win!) so these games are perfect for using up some of that competitive energy! And for slightly older Sparkles, multi-player games are brilliant for leadership practice… another great skill for later life!
6. Encouraging Exercise: when kids play life-like online sports games, and perhaps see new moves and techniques, they can feel encouraged to get outside and give the real game a go!
7. Developing Friendships: online gaming is a fun topic to chat about with friends! It’s also a good, structured way to spend time with new friends on play dates. And gaming online in teams is fab for bringing different friends together virtually e.g. class mates or sports team mates who maybe moved away.
8. Parent & Child Bond: when the Squad teach their gaming skills to mom and dad, it’s a fun swap of the usual parent/kid roles! Once parents grasp the rules, playing side by side with the Sparkles can encourage chats, and even lead to kids sharing their worries or news. It’s also a good education for parents about the worlds in which kids spend their time.
Wow that’s an impressive list of benefits! But did you know these games are especially handy for children with disabilities? They get a chance to experience all the skills mentioned above, in their own space and at their own speed. Some games are designed especially for those with disabilities but having a go at mainstream games too can be great for these kids’ independence and confidence. As Ellie would say, always encourage them to give it a go and reach for the stars!
One last (but important) point… do talk to the Sparkles about staying safe and switched on while enjoying online gaming. And remember to limit screen time and make use of parental controls, such as pass codes on age-inappropriate games. We’ve put together a super helpful list of online safety tips to encourage both parents and the Sparkles to be more digitally literate.
Having highlighted all the totally awesome ways online gaming can benefit kids, we’re confident it will leap up mom and dad’s list of favorite activities for the Sparkles!
For reviews and recommendations on free online games for kids of all ages, check out Common Sense Media’s list of online games.
Keep sparkling everyone!