Have you ever told your child it’s time to stop playing video games and been met with an argument like, “But I’m learning so much from playing this game!”?
Well, there’s a good chance that your child was actually telling you the truth. While we recognize that well-rounded learning requires far more than playing video games, and that some games are clearly better opportunities for learning than others, there is no denying the power of video games play as a tool for emotional well-being, academic skill boosting, and the building of executive functions.
Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the world, so it’s fortunate that it opens so many avenues for thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and the development of computer skills. Minecraft can also be a fantastic opportunity for developing social skills, giving kids a common ground on which to connect and converse. It’s also a game that is frequently taught from one child to another or from one sibling to another, which gives them the chance to benefit from the self-esteem and advanced understanding that come from teaching.
When I ask the kids I see in my clinical practice how they learned to play Minecraft, the two most common responses I get are that an older sibling taught them to play or that they watched a video that showed other kids playing the game. So, the next time a child tells you that they are learning from playing video games, you might want to accept that as the truth. While you should still insist that they play a variety of games so that they can learn different skills and strategies to help with other things in their life, there can be no doubt that video games teach kids important life skills, including how to learn.
Read more about the benefits of Minecraft and games like it for children on the autism spectrum and children with ADHD. You might also be curious to learn what’s so great about sandbox games or interested in how to find the best online Minecraft video resources for your child. To see the specific thinking skills your child builds by playing Minecraft, check out our Playbook.
Featured image: Flickr user Mike Prosser