Games Inspire Real-World Family Projects
Video-games offer creative worlds in which to play, some of them also enable you to create your own games within those worlds — like Little Big Planet and upcoming Disney Infinity for example. However, beyond this virtual creativity they can also fund imaginative play and inspiration in the real world and spark career possibilities.
Playing games with your children is a great way to encourage the conversation about the experience, which then inevitably spills over into everyday life. My family often get into detail discussions about the worlds and characters we’ve experienced in our video-games — something that leads to looking up related history and facts on Wikipedia.
Sports games have also had a nice real-world cross over for us. My children have gained a working understanding of lesser known sports in the UK like American Football and Basketball that has then led to them getting involved in related after school clubs.
Recently much has been made around the cross over between virtual and physical play for games like Skylanders and Cars AppMates. These games use physical toys (cars and figures) to control the game and are a good way to encourage interaction that overflows from the game onto the living room carpet.
However, beyond this manufactured play-scheme there are also other benefits. Firstly, my boys became fascinated with how the Portal technology actually functioned which led to looking up all manner of electronics online. This opened the door to electronics and a project they found that was a kit to make a salt powered car.
Most recently they have been using the Portal itself in other “made up” games. One example of this is their version of Chess they invented using the Skylanders figures. By placing the Portal underneath the board they get certain figures to light up on particular squares — which in turn had benefits in the game.
The key to all this is to find games that naturally inspire your family. By playing a wide variety of games together you will introduce a large number of potential seeds for other activities. It’s also worth noting that the games need to be given time and space to function in their own right, rather than being played for a few minutes and rushing off to a related project.
Perhaps you’ve been inspired by a video-game to start a new family project, why not tell us about it in the comments?