by Ryan Rivera
Educational games develop a child’s natural curiosity and imagination, opening up their mind for the assimilation of new knowledge. Some educational games, however, do not an encouraging or positive learning experience. Others don't match the child’s intellectual capabilities.
For these reasons, parents should look for learning games that are carefully designed and include activities that stimulate creativity, independent thinking, and imagination. These games should also provide education and captivate kids’ interest.
What to look for in educational games
With the wide range of educational software being sold on the market, finding the right ones for your children can be confusing. The games should be enjoyable to play; otherwise, they may end up on a shelf gathering dust. The best ones encourage children to think and should ideally comply with the criteria below.
- They should boost learning by developing new skills and bolstering existing knowledge.
- They should encourage the child to develop creativity and inquisitiveness, two qualities that are essential to successful learning.
- They should fire up the child’s imagination.
- They should challenge the child to think about the problem presented and to act on its solution.
- They should help develop fine motor skills in young and older children.
- They should calm anxiety in children who are challenged by conventional learning methods.
To make it interesting, a game should not be too complicated or difficult as to create frustration in a child. Pay attention to how the game is played. If there are more than a few pages of instruction, find out if they can be made easier to understand or if your child is willing to learn the rules.
Games that are too complicated to learn can be hard to play and are more likely to end up at the bottom of a kid’s toy chest. On the other hand, classic games like chess and checkers that are easy to learn but hard to be skilled in are more likely to be played again and again.
Educational games that develop various skills
Educational games for older children can promote learning as well as develop certain brain functionality. Games like marbles, stacking cups, pick-up sticks, and Jenga block-stacking game can develop eye-hand coordination. The action involved, such as stacking blocks as high as possible without toppling them, will keep children absorbed as they develop essential motor skills.
Educational toys are sold nearly everywhere. You can search for them online, or you can find them in most toy depots, bookstores, and even art stores. They can be as simple as coloring books or painting by numbers or advanced like algebra or foreign language teaching games. At home, even such common materials like clothespins, rubber bands, paper clips, tweezers, and straw can be used in playing fun activities that promote fine motor skills.
Choose learning software that are centered on skill development. As an example, there are easy to complicated brain teasers and puzzles that can develop problem-solving skills. Start with the easy ones so that children build confidence and would later be willing to move up to harder game levels.
Classic games are always sure winners, so you don’t have to search long for something new or unique. They have long been around for a reason and are still on top of the list of basic strategy games. And they have very simple instructions that go with them.
Be part of your child’s education. Select a game that you would like to play as well. You’ll most likely be playing these games with your kids most of the time, so it makes sense that you should be able to enjoy them yourself.
Ryan's successes dealing with his own anxiety inspired him to found The Calm Clinic to provide resources to help others that are also suffering from severe anxiety, and show them that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.