Now that s smart…

Guest Blogger
Dec 18, 2012
Smart Games for Kids! Let’s face it. Video games are fun—it’s a big reason why kids are so drawn to them. I recall playing Super Mario Bros. with my cousins on my NES (Nintendo Entertainment System – remember this?). My dad bought me the NES over the summer and my cousins and I would spend hours each evening trying to advance to the next level and beat the game. Video games have come a long way since then. Gaming is far more accessible, and these day kids are playing them on consoles, handhelds and mobile devices. They’re so pervasive that a study conducted by Common Sense Media in 2011 found that 81% of kids 5 -8 have played a video game. If kids this young spend their free time playing games, wouldn’t it be great if there were games that were both fun and good for them? It’s why Scholastic created ‘Smart Games for Kids,’ specifically for kids 5-8, which combines a child’s interests with play patterns they love. For example, one such game, My Amusement Park, leverages the popularity of simulation games like The Sims or Roller Coaster Tycoon to encourage kids to build their own theme park and make it a success. To build the park and earn more money for rides and attractions, kids solve addictive logic puzzles that leverage engage a player’s memory, spatial and math skills. While My Amusement Park brings the simulation genre to young kids, Digging for Dinosaurs draws kids in with a favorite hot topic. It’s funny…dinosaurs never seem to get old. These prehistoric creatures fascinate both young and old alike. Did you know the Stegosaurus could walk from America to Europe? It’s true because it lived before the Atlantic Ocean was formed! Fun facts and games that allow players to play as a dinosaur can hook kids for hours—and at the end, they walk away with a bevy of knowledge that most adults won’t probably know! Gaming can be controversial, but a recent article by Suzanne Kantra in USA Today touted the real-world benefits of video games for kids, breathing fresh air into a continuous debate about gaming and kids. Kantra pointed to research that shows video games help develop social, leadership and problem solving skills as well as improve mental acuity, coordination and motor skills. So while the debate will likely continue, Scholastic is committed to producing content for kids that entertains and educates. – Amabel Ryan, Scholastic Media