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Video games are often blamed for a wide range of problems that affect today’s youth. From increases in childhood obesity to desensitizing kids to violence, the list goes on and on. Because of this overemphasis on the negative effects of video games, the benefits often go unseen.
Studies have shown that some video games can promote spatial skills and hand-eye coordination, and even improve practical skills. Quicken Loans Zing blog previously discussed some video games that bolster basic arithmetic and financial understanding in Five Games That Teach Good Financial Habits. But what else can games teach you? The answer is more than you would think.
Both kids and adults enjoy playing video games. But which ones are both entertaining and best at improving your child’s skills and knowledge? Let’s look at games that help develop science skills, for elementary kids to high schoolers and beyond.
JumpStart (PC, Mac)
JumpStart is intended to supplement a student’s early elementary education (preschool to third grade) in the home in an entertaining way.
Each JumpStart game is tailored to a specific grade level, and improves your child’s skills based on the expectations for their age.
Spore (PC, Mac, Nintendo DS)
Spore is an online gaming experience that’s part of a larger series. Spore is intended to teach children about basic scientific principles, with a focus on the early principles of biology. In later games in the series, such as Spore Galactic Adventure, the focus broadens to include other sciences such as astronomy. With this game carrying an Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating for ages 10 and up, game play is intended for children in late elementary school through early high school.
Portal 2 (PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Portal 2 is the second installment in the Portal series, but boasts dramatic improvement in gameplay and hosts a wide range of new features. The game itself challenges you to use your intellect and futuristic advancements in science to escape your captors. In this world, you’re encouraged to use your limitless potential to create, break and solve puzzles, all while creating an understanding of scientific rules. While this game may involve the least amount of educational lessons on the list, there’s no doubt that it will encourage your kids to pay more attention in their science lessons. This widely popular game is for the little kid in everyone. ESRB rates this game for everyone ages 10 and up.
While not all video games are intended to be educational in nature or appropriate for all audiences, some video games offer more benefits than most people would believe. If you’d like more information about video games that can benefit your children in educational ways, be sure to check out the Open Education Database for a great list of games.
Do you or your kids play any educational games? What are your favorites?
Let us know in the comments below!