What Soft Skills Do Kids Learn From Playing Video Games?
Many parents still believe that video games are not good for their children. They have a misconception that it doesn’t benefit them in any way and are time and money wasters. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, kids can absorb long-term valuable skills and knowledge from playing various video games, especially educational ones. Here are 5 examples of the types of soft skills kids can learn from video gaming.
Many video games require a certain level of understanding to clear the stages. This understanding comes from picking up unspoken but fundamental mechanics in the game's design. Meaning, most games are puzzles that require a bit of strategic thinking to solve.
For example, Minecraft requires players to think about basic survival tactics in order to stay alive in the game. Players must learn to build houses to fend off the night creatures, mine for ores to craft equipment, find sustainable ways to produce food sources, and much more.
When kids are exposed to games that require them to understand underlying mechanics and strategize a way to victory, this builds a good habit in them. When it becomes second nature, this habit will carry on into other aspects of their future life, from their studies to their career, and much more.
2. Hand-Eye Coordination
Video games are scientifically proven to build hand-eye coordination. In fact, a 2004 report by CBS News found that doctors who spent at least three hours a week playing video games since they were younger made about 37% fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27% faster than their counterparts who are not gamers.
This increase in hand-eye coordination can come useful in many facets of their life, one of them including becoming a better surgeon, of course. But also, it helps them be more efficient at their tasks. Things such as cooking, playing music, or any activity that requires a form of hand-eye coordination will greatly benefit from a healthy amount of video game playing.
3. Logical Thinking
Most video games require a certain level of logical thinking. Players are required to think of the next best moves in regards to the current situation, and what are the tools around them that they can use to their advantage.
As video games train kids to think on their feet and be calm, collected, and logical about the situation, it becomes a habit that can help them make more mature decisions in the future. For example, video games such as Terraria and Minecraft lets kids build new items and structures based on the land around them. After playing these types of games for a while, kids will naturally have an instinct to react to the situation. If it’s raining, build a shelter. If they need food, find timber and a makeshift flint to light up a fire. These kinds of situations are but a drop of water in a barrel as to the type of things players have to think about in games.
When kids become used to this reactionary state of logical thinking, it helps them make informed decisions much quicker and decisively than their non-gamer counterparts.
4. Building Creativity
Creativity is one thing that cannot be taught, but a talent that must be discovered, trained and polished. Video games are an outlet for players to release their creativity in any way they please. The reason why Minecraft is so popular even though it is almost 2 decades old is that the world lets players do whatever they want, the only limitation is their creativity.
Kids have gone from building mud houses in their first days of playing, to building citadels and metropolises in a matter of years of learning. This nurturing of creativity would not have been possible if it weren’t for Minecraft's ideology of letting players solve problems with logic and creativity.
In fact, there are educational platforms such as Engineering For Kids that hold Minecraft competitions to nurture and reward creativity. Through this game and these competitions, kids have even learned invaluable lessons such as learning how to code or understanding how a city’s infrastructure functions.
5. Financial Planning
Most games have their own currencies which are farmable and used to purchase things such as equipment and potions. Most parents overlook the fact that this mechanic helps kids internalize the value of money, and lets them practice earning and saving without the risk of any financial loss.
For example, in many RPGs, vendors will sell great loot that requires a ridiculously high fee to purchase. Players must find their own ways to save up and earn the gold required to buy that loot. As kids play games that have a trading mechanic involved, they will undoubtedly pick up real-world financial skills too.
Programs like Engineering For Kids integrate video games and STEM concepts allowing students to have fun and also learn about engineering, technology, math or science while gaming. Find a location near you to learn about camps and after-school programs!