Recently, A let R play Club Penguin (run by Disney) because one of R's friends plays it all the time. It's an online game where kids create little penguins, play games, earn coins, adopt pets, change outfits, and interact with each other somewhat. I have to admit the whole thing is pretty cute and fun.
This week, I discovered a few benefits from R playing the game:
- He's reading more. We told him that he has to read all the text without help from us, and he's doing it.
- He hardly ever asks to watch TV now. Overall, he's getting a lot less screen time because he usually only plays the game for about a half-hour or less per day.
- He's learning to save his "money." At first, he spent all the coins he earned in the game right away. Now, he saves his coins and really thinks about any "purchases" he makes.
- He's learning generosity. Over the holidays, Club Penguin had a program where the kids could donate their coins to help others. R was surprisingly generous, and he was very excited to see the total actual dollar amounts that Disney ended up donating to organizations that provide food, shelter, and medical care.
- He learned to use the phone. He wanted to play simultaneously with his friend who lives a block away, so A showed him first how to call me at work (to find out where the school directory was) and then to call his friend so they could coordinate.
I'm still not thrilled about video games, but this week my heart softened a little, especially when R and his friend camped out in our kitchen and played together like this:
I can't decide if this is incredibly cute or incredibly geeky. Maybe it's both. :-)
How do you feel about kids and video games?