First off this is a great category idea! Way to go HB team.
Alright so Video Games. A lot of people we talk to seem to tense up at th' very mention of th' word. Kids get addicted. They stop going outside. But surely we can use even this interest/obsession as a teaching and learning tool.
So Fynn, age 8, has gotten into Donkey Kong Country. Not video games in general, but just Donkey Kong. So we've done all the obvious things, learned everything we can about Gorillas, where they live, how they live, what they eat, etc. We went to th' zoo to see live Gorillas, and have even started learning how to make our own video games. He's improving his reading by learning all th' words in th' game, and self motivated reading is all that's ever worked for him in th' reading department. We got him his own tv and video game system. We've turned our yard and his room into a "Kong House". We've buried some tires in back yard for th' kids to bounce on (like in th' game) Fynn has learned a lot of emotional self regulation through playing his games- he's a perfectionist and tends to have a meltdown if he doesn't beat a level perfectly, which he rarely does. But as time goes on, he freaks out less and less when he dies in th' game. Sure when he's really tired or has been playing too long he'll break down easier, but overall allowing him to play this game has helped him to self regulate better than anything else we've tried. He's also been teaching his younger brother (age 3) how to play, which is big, because when he first got his own game about a month ago, he wouldn't let his brother anywhere near it. Me and his mom have also been playing games with him alot, spending quality time together, laughing, encouraging one another on, setting goals and reaching them. All in all it's been a lot of fun, and Fynn has learned a lot through this process so far.
Does anyone else have ideas for using video games as teaching/learning tools?
Rico and Beth, what great parents you are. You've taken the time, energy and effort to focus on Fynn's interests and use them for many different concepts.
When homeschooling my children when they were younger (they are 23 and 20 now) the game "Oregon Trail" was popular. It was a great way to integrate history, geography, survival, and more. My kids were so different in how they progressed in the game. One child would take time to rest the draft animals, take time to talk to the local people, take time to care for the sick or bury someone that died. The other child wanted to push through the game quickly. She would work her draft animals until they died, she wouldn't talk to any locals and when someone died, she left them on the side of the road and not give a proper burial.
To this day, they remember the names of trails and the geographical points of the game.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rico and Beth
That was an amazing example of how we can turn an obsession for a video game into an extraordinary learning opportunity!
Video games are often seen as a semi-passive activity that one should control rather than encourage. But what if they could be a springboard for learning and teaching activities? Video games classic schemes could be used in real life to boost kids' curiosity and their desire to explore. The key is to design certain activities as close as possible to the ones seen in video games and try to have fun together!
right- and so here's some other things we've done in this arena- and again, this was all fynn's idea, we just helped him set it up and ran with it-
so he likes to make models of all his favorite tv shows and physically play them- well since he got into donkey kong he'd do that too- set up recreations of levels and then take a little monkey toy and run through it- so that's something a parent or teacher could do if th' kid hasn't already thought of it- also, we've used our whole city as a donkey kong level- set up a street or field or forest with obstacles similar to the ones in th' game- then go out on our bikes or running and go through them, often with the intention of rescuing one of th' kongs- if you get creative you can set up some pretty cool levels- then the opportunities for learning are endless- if th' kid helps you set them up they are moving, paying attention, learning all kinds of things, and even if you do all the work and they just go through it, there is still lots to learn, and it's fun and they're moving- it's a bit like the treasure hunts you guys are so good at setting up-
That's sounds pretty amazing! Thank you for sharing with us your experience!
I set up lots of treasure hunt in our wood at New Trails, but I've never done one in a city!
It seems lots and lots and lots of fun!
So another way of bringing video games into life skills and bdnf/better brain function is the world of LARPing. Live Action role Play over the past couple of years Horse Boy Fdn has been developing programs with LARPing - which is where gamers get out and play their games for real, in the flesh (its a HUUUUUUGE thing). we've runs LARP sessions and events at New Trails and other Horse Boy and Movement Method Centers have been doing the same. We can then harness the intrinsic interest - the gaming - to real life skills, physical, social and intellectual. Plus its the ultimate nerd's day out (and I'm a bit f a nerd). If you dont already know about it, type the name of your home town into google and then type LARP next to it and see what comes up.Welcome to a whole new world baby...
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