Educational online games for younger children
One of the advantages of kids games online is that many of them are educational. Indeed it can be argued that most online games for kids are at least to some extent educational as the act of playing them encourages the development of a whole range of cognitive skills and coordination.
Many studies have shown that children with computer gaming experience often go on to forge exciting careers, and many excellent surgeons have benefitted from playing computer games when they were young.
So, when should children start playing online games, and is it ever too early for them to do so?
In all likelihood the earlier they start the better. Naturally there needs to be balance; too much time spent playing online could be detrimental to other stages of mental, emotional and physical development. Also it is necessary to ensure that their time online is safely spent, but that is all about good parenting and supervision. Allowing young children access to safe online gaming and even social networking under the right conditions will always be beneficial.
The best way for parents and guardians to learn and to understand games designed for their kids is to play them themselves. That way they can determine which games are most appropriate for their own children and their current stage of development.
Most online games are classified according to age group. For instance infant games are often merely associative and require kids to associate such things as animals with the sounds they make; they may involve colouring in images by pressing keys; recognising and identifying shapes; or simply pressing buttons to make things happen.
Moving up a level to toddler games, jigsaw style building games are popular as are construction games using virtual building blocks; games addressing more complex concepts such as similarities and opposites are often found in the toddler category as are simple word games and games based on children’s popular stories.
The third stage is pre-school games which are generally tailored to address more advanced stages of learning. These might involve learning new skills such as playing virtual instruments and following instructions; understanding different categories of food; selling and buying items from a virtual shop as part of a game scenario; or developing basic skills in computer graphics.
Naturally every child is different and very young children develop at different rates. The key is to find games that are fun and entertaining whist posing a significant challenge to the child. Online games are a great educational resource and should be included as part of a balanced developmental environment.