Lucas has many passions in life; drawing, crafting, Lego building, pony riding, football. The list is endless, but his main passion is gaming. Whether it be online or offline, Lucas is very competitive! Like everybody, we have found lockdown difficult, especially having moved to a new country.
Winter was undoubtedly harsh as we couldn’t even play in the garden. We have played endless games of Guess Who, Monopoly, Connect 4 and Snap. I like to keep his online game to an acceptable level and time. Like most children his age, he adores Minecraft, Roblox and Lego games.
Can gaming be good for children?
We have all been told not to let our children stay on games for too long and that they should be colouring or playing with physical toys instead but, that’s not to say that some time on the video games or computer is all bad.
Just as playing with a jigsaw can help with cognitive development, so can playing on a computer game. In order to play on any of his Xbox games, Lucas must coordinate his visual, auditory and physical movements.
Lucas particularly likes games that challenge him, in order to complete a level, he has to process what is happening and use problem-solving skills, making decisions and learning where he has gone wrong if he doesn’t succeed.
During gaming, the brain acquires multiple stimuli, both visually and auditory. According to research, people who often play video games can process these stimulators faster than others. These stimulators ensure that the brain is constantly constantly trying to interpret them.
Video games can also help with multi-tasking skills. When Lucas is playing Ninjago, he is coordinating his eyes and hands with what buttons to press to get to where, whilst checking on his energy levels, where his opponents are, the time he has left and what other factors in the game can hinder his progress.
Free online games
The problem with most online games there seems to be a violent element to most of them. I wanted to find some online games for Lucas to play that didn’t involve spending vast amounts of time completing levels.
I came across Plays.org. They have over 200 free online games and are aiming to add 50 new games per week; the bonus is there are no ads or sign-ups. From their home page, you can choose categories such as arcade classics, simulation, retro pixels and base defence. In addition, there is a search facility for you to look for your favourite game. The site is great for children as within a minute, you can play the game of your choice. There are many sites around that I have tried for Lucas. However, after each game, an ad will appear and stop the gaming experience, not with Plays.org. The games are clean and crisp, there is something for everybody, and I must confess I love to play Super Tetris. Most of the games help children use their logistical and physics skills.
Here are two of our favourites;
This is a modern and playful remake inspired by the hit arcade classic Pac Man.
- Eat the cheese.
- Avoid the cats unless you just had a power pellet, in which case treat them like cheese.
This is a physics and logic puzzle game where a player must kick a soccer ball into a golf-like hole in the playing field while avoiding or utilizing obstacles on the playing field.
- Tap your screen or click your mouse to select, pull back to set the strength and angle of the kick, then release.
- Each of the 24 levels has a par score that you must beat to get 3 stars