5 Ways Your Kids Are Learning While Playing Video Games

I married a gamer.  Since gaming is ‘Love’s hobby, it’s something the kids have always been interested in, and it’s been a natural activity for them to bond over.  Unfortunately, I feel as if I’m constantly apologizing for the fact that my kids spend an hour most days taking turns playing computer or console games with Daddy.

I’ve decided that the time for apologizing is over.  While there’s always a chance that they’re picking up negative habits or beliefs from slaying pixelated zombies or conglomerate monster-things (and we are pretty careful about the types of games we expose our kids to–though interestingly enough no one seems to think we should abandon Bible reading when the kids role play David killing Goliath or Solomon threatening to cut the baby in half to determine its true mother), the more I’ve watched and listened to them gaming with Daddy, the more I’m convinced that gaming, like most other hobbies, has many benefits.

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the computer conundrum

One of the greatest problems I face in feeling like an effective parent is posed by the glories of the computer.  I use the computer to write (both for pay and for fun), to compile album pages for my children, to research home improvement ideas, to learn about anything that strikes my fancy, to connect with others via email and sites like Facebook…  In short, nearly every hobby or occupation I might consider (other than reading, which I still do in the good old-fashioned paper form) utilizes the computer.  So where am I drawn in any free moment I might have?  You guessed it!

I fear that this seemingly perpetual drive-by computer use will seem to my children an obsession, as if I love the computer more than I love them.  How then shall I live in an age where the computer dominates my life?  How can I pursue my interests without teaching an unhealthy addiction to the computer and all it has to offer?  How do I maintain my connection to the outside world while still giving my children the attention they need and deserve?  Anyone?  Beuller?

kids: the ultimate password protectors

After the recent LinkedIn password fiasco, ‘Love and I found ourselves changing passwords to several accounts, having been a bit security-lazy (or perhaps being realistic about how many passwords we could actually remember).

Side note:  I’ll have you know that the only reason I even HAVE a LinkedIn account is because my father kept pestering me with invitations, so I finally gave up and set up an account.  Oddly enough, people actually want to link to me, though I really present no networking value.  Maybe it’s just an addiction.

Back to the topic at hand:  As we discussed our new password choices, my husband showed me an xkcd comic.  If you follow the reasoning of the cartoonist (who also does some fancy math), your password doesn’t have to include strings of unintelligible gibberish to be strong.  In fact, a few random words can be far more difficult to hack but also much easier to remember.

Who provides more semi-logical, utterly-memorable strings of words than a young child?  Mine are forever coming up with silly phrases that quickly become inside jokes, meaning nothing to anyone but them.

To share one of a multitude of examples: After reading a book that included a reference to the cleaned-up song “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Pop on the Wall,” they began shouting, “Ninety-ninety diapers on the wall!” and giggling hysterically.  Now one of them will occasionally bust out that phrase on a boring car ride or while running around the park, and it will still elicit gales of laughter.  To anyone else “ninetyninetydiapers” has no meaning whatsoever.  To me, it is utterly memorable.

Better yet?  When your kid’s major mispronunciation of a bank or store name or an item you purchase (more than one syllable!) can become the basis for a password for that very location or purchase.  What could be easier?

See—you KNEW there were lots of hidden perks to having children, and I’ve just helped you find one.