If you have a video game obsessed child, it’s tempting to constantly feel the need to tell them to step away from the screens. However, with the right games and a bit of guidance, you can teach your kids to build video games as they play them – helping them to develop skills that they’ll need for the adult world whether they opt for a job in tech or in the gaming industry. Video gaming doesn’t have to be a passive outlet, instead it can be a creative tool where your kids learn to express themselves while developing important tech skills that they’ll need for the future.
Create Gaming Elements
Games that allow your child to construct elements of the game, build items in game, and model 3D objects are great for young children as they develop spatial reasoning skills. Your child learns digital manipulation, math skills like geometry and spatial awareness, and how to create the various elements that a game needs to function. Look for games that expect the player to create part of the world, carefully design a character or NPC, create dialogue, or build in an open world.
Edit Existing Games
Games that allow players to edit the games as they go are another great way to help your kids build up their tech chops. Most use a randomly created base world, which players can then edit with a drag and drop interface. Minecraft is one example of this type of game, although there are numerous others available. If you get stuck, or don’t know how to suggest ideas for your child, turn to tutorial videos created by other players for a vast network of user generated help.
Still other games provide players with the opportunity to learn code as they play, creating entire worlds. Your child’s imagination and coding ability are their only limits in this type of game, where they can create a world, a game structure, characters, and more.
As you branch into the world of game creation with your child, keep safety in mind. Advise them about online interactions and your family’s rules about Internet use, and monitor any online communications carefully. Many games offer the option to turn off chat access, as well, so use this if it helps you to feel safer about providing your child with access to the game. Overall, keep in mind that video games don’t have to be a passive method of entertainment – instead, they can be a robust learning tool that can help equip your young learners with the technical skills and online experience that they’ll need to put their best foot forward as they enter the job market.