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Parent-Kid Video Game Night

By Randy Kulman, Ph.D., Founder, LearningWorks for Kids

Kids love video games, but parents often have little knowledge of what their kids are doing when they play, or why they even like video games so much. For parents of kids who love video games, playing with them can be a beneficial bonding and learning experience for the whole family.

  • Category: Digital Play
  • Target age: 4 and up
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Materials: Stuff you probably have at home
  • Prep time: 1 to 30 minutes

What You’ll Need

  • video games that your child likes to play
  • some easy games that you can learn to play
  • a comfortable place to sit together with your child

The Activity

  • Start simplytoca-life-city_icon_512

Pick games that you as a parent can master. Short casual video games that you can find on your cell phone or an app that you can use on a tablet device are recommended. If you have younger kids, some of the best games include Toca Life: City and Cut the Rope. If you have older kids, try Angry Birds and Bad Piggies.

  • Become a student of the game

Switch roles with your child and have her teach you something. In addition to helping you learn the game, this will give her an opportunity to work on empathy skills when she recognizes how inept you are at playing her favorite game. It might even teach your child a little patience.

  • Watch and learn

Sit right next to your child while she plays a console game. This will give you an opportunity to connect with her and spend some quality time together. It will also help you understand what makes video games so exciting and fun for her to play.

  • Talk about what you see

Use this time as a springboard for discussions about learning from games. Ask questions about game-play strategy, cooperative play and overcoming in-game challenges. At LearningWorks for Kids, we try to maximize the learning of problem-solving, thinking and academic skills from video games. Kids get the most out of digital play when they reflect on the challenges they face in video games and connect game-based learning to the real world. Getting involved with your child’s video game play not only helps her learn real world skills — she’ll also learn that you care.

  • Gamify your life

Go one step further and “gamify” real life! Give each other “character names,” stats and missions to make the everyday more fun. You’ll learn a lot more about video games and you’ll get your kids translating in-game skills to the real world, too.

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About the Author

Randy Kulman, Ph.D., Founder, LearningWorks for Kids

Randy Kulman is the father of five kids (ages 21 to 29) who no longer want to play video games or watch his favorite Harry Potter movies with him.

Share a photo and win!

Share a photo of your family doing this activity in the comments on our Facebook post or on Twitter with #31DaysofPlay! Every Friday we’ll choose one photo from the week to win a Toca Boca Play Kit full of swag, stickers and a $15 iTunes Gift Card.