A study conducted in the U.K. found that primary school children improve their math scores and concentration levels by playing online educational games, according to an article released in the BBC last month. Thirty primary school children between the ages of nine and ten, played a game called “Dr. Kawashima’s More Brain Training” game every morning for about 15 minutes before their lessons started. The game consists of several mini-games including reading tests, number challenges, memory puzzles and problem-solving exercises. At the end of the study, the children were tested in math and the results compared to a control group. Children who had played the games increased their test scores by more points than those who did not play, even though the test scores for both groups increased.
So what does this mean? With educational games popping up by various manufacturers all over the world, a trend is emerging. Combining a child’s “play” time with education, seems to have positive results. Making learning fun-as in part of a game-increases a child’s desire to learn. The repetition of playing is more enjoyable than simply working math problems over and over and the concentration needed, as well as the child’s own competitive desire to beat the game, adds to the beneficial outcome.
So is it time to buy a computer for your kid? Possibly.
Setting up a computer desk and computer in your child’s room or play room may help. Give your child his/her own space with a computer desk at the proper height for comfort. We found fully customizable computer desks at excellent prices on Versatables’ website.
A computer just for your child can also be the way to go. Giving him/her his own computer allows you, as a parent, to lock off inappropriate features like internet websites and pop-ups, and download fun games and colorful desktops and screen savers.
Customize your child’s computer work area with fun mouse pads or a mouse (Target sells a Hello Kitty mouse for under $10). Versatables’ computer desks can also be customized with shelves, speaker platforms, and locking CPU holders and cable management systems that provide a safer environment for children.
Stickers can be used to decorate the outside of the monitor and the keyboard, or use the computer and desk to create a themed room. For example, an aquatic themed room would look great with a fishbowl screensaver, or a princess-themed room could have a photo slide show of Disney’s princess characters.
When picking computer games, be sure to do your research. Many have been tested and are endorsed by schools and learning centers. Keep in mind, anyone can put out educational software, and just because it says it’s educational, doesn’t mean your child will learn from it. Choose games that are age-appropriate and that your child enjoys playing. Give your child time to play before studying, as increased blood flow to the frontal cortex (which happens during game play) can increase memory and concentration for hours afterward, making them ripe for learning.
While much of what you hear about computers and kids is negative press, keep in mind that computers allow us to do much more than we could without them and with proper parental control, they can be key in giving your child the educational edge.