By Jacob Aldrich

A 2022 study from the Entertainment Software Association found that around 71% of American children under 18 play video games at least an hour a week in some form and about 65% of American adults play video games at least an hour a week. These numbers suggest that there is a vast majority of us that are playing video games in some capacity as well as our children. So why not combine with each other and strengthen bonds and have fun at the same time. Here are some games and tips that might be helpful when trying to play video games with your children.

Most children are obsessed with either Roblox, Fortnite or Minecraft in some capacity and for good reason as it allows for talking with friends while also competing in games that make them think and react to multiple situations. But for a parent who wants something more relaxed and laid back, there are multiple other options. For racing games there are ones from the Forza series and Gran Turismo and of course the ever-popular Mario Kart 8. Any option gives a fun racing experience, but also allows for friendly competitiveness. Minecraft is also more laidback than its peers and can be a fun experience for both parents and kids as they can build amazing structures together or make their own cities monuments or whatever their imagination can come up with together! But maybe there is some lingering tension that might only be settled with fisticuffs. There is the ever present Super Smash Bros. series that brings many favorites characters from different video games series together for fun fighting experience, and another game in this category is Gang Beasts, which is more so sandbox brawling but more catered to kids with less emphasis on image quality and more on fun and fighting. Either series is fun to just hop on and fight it out for family pride and bragging rights.

The most important thing to remember in all of this is that the games are a way to connect more as a family and build and strengthen bonds in a fun way for both parties. In a speech given at a conference for the International Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age, there are some suggestions that indicate that co-playing may positively impact family relationships and that playing with children can impact the kinds of games that kids want to play more often and play with their friends. So matter the kind of game, it’s important to remember to just have a good time, make memories, and try to build a great relationship while having fun.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you have any experience playing video games?
  2. Do you currently play any video games?
  3. Have you ever thought about playing video games with your family?
  4. What experiences have you had trying to play video games or any kind of games with children or family?

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