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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

How Computer Games Can Help With Your Child's Development

I have never been a fan of kids sitting for hours in front of computer games, but as I am writing this, my 5 year old son is sat beside me on another computer, playing his favourite game, Minecraft, a java based game made by Mojang.

Although I have always known how computer games can generally help with hand to eye coordination, I have just realised how beneficial this game is to his development. Minecraft is an adventure style  game where  the player can create their own virtual world either alone or with friends using "blocks", and also create buildings or machines with levers etc. Blake has just asked me if "coal" is spelt with a "kicking K" or a "curly C", which was when I realised that he was searching for particular "ingredients" that he had gathered throughout the game to craft his own sword, and that he had been typing in other words for items he required from his inventory such as "stick" (to form the handle of the sword) and so on. When the mouse curser hovers over the items in his inventory, the name of the item is displayed, so Blake can see and associate the words next to the pictures of each item, and also the quantity remaining, which is brilliant for his understanding of simple addition and subtraction.

The Minecraft Inventory

He then asked several questions about where coal comes from, the difference between charcoal and coal, and we entered into a lengthy discussion about many of the various items he had. This particular game also stimulates the imagination and creativity of the child, and I am amazed at some of the complex buildings and contraptions that can be made. Therefore, although I still rate traditional games and family time far higher than computer games, I am starting to see the value in some computer games, and will encourage Blake to follow his passion of one day becoming a games designer.

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