5 Children's Video Games That Teach Positive Life Skills

Explore five games that will help boost your child’s skill set by teaching spacial organization, strategic decision making, and more.

As kids try to squeeze in more screen time, they may want to direct parents to a recent study from the American Psychological Association (APA).

According to the APA, playing video games may boost children’s learning, health, and social skills. Who knew?

The study says many people consider playing video games to be “intellectually lazy,” but this kind of play can actually strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory, and perception. These skills translate to school and the workforce, and can’t be found in other activities like puzzles.

Video games help develop problem solving skills and enhance creativity. Children’s moods can improve while playing simple, quick games that are easy to access. These games promote relaxation and help ward off anxiety. Many games require two or more players, so the socially-isolated gamer stereotype is now a thing of the past.

Civilization

What it is: Civilization is a turn-based single or multiplayer strategy game in which players rule a civilization and attempt to build an empire in competition with other civilizations. It has been called one of the most important strategy games of all time.

Benefits: Teaches kids about history, geography, public policy, and diplomacy.

Recommended age: 10+

Minecraft

What it is: A single or multiplayer game about breaking and placing blocks to create items and buildings that many consider addicting.

Benefits: It’s a good entry to programming, allows scripting, and fosters creativity.

Recommended age: 9+

Portal

What it is: Players solve physical puzzles and challenges by opening portals, maneuvering objects, and moving themselves through space in ways that used to be impossible.

Benefits: Portal is great for helping develop 3D mental modeling.

Recommended age: 10+

SimCity

What it is: Players are tasked with founding and developing a city, while maintaining the happiness of its citizens and keeping a stable budget.

Benefits: SimCity exposes kids to public policy and civil engineering concepts.

Recommended age: 10+

Mission US

What it is: A multimedia project that immerses players in U.S. history through interactive games.

Benefits: It teaches kids about history and decision making.

Recommended age: 10+

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