Learning a lot from my little gamer
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
At the ripe old age of three, my daughter has become a gamer.
The term gamer is typically used to define teenagers who spend countless hours per day playing the latest Playstation and Wii games, often to the point that personal hygiene and social skills begin to suffer.
While Lizzie's addiction isn't quite so severe, she's become an addict nonetheless.
For Christmas, Tiffany and I bought Lizzie a V.Smile – an educational game console. The games aren't much different than games for older children, except along the way to the end of each level she has certain educational objectives she must accomplish.
Some levels require that she capture all the letters of the alphabet in order. Others require that she find objects that begin with a certain letter.
And, much like games us older folks are familiar with, there are plenty of "bad guys" along the way that she has to get past in her search for letters, numbers, shapes and colors.
Christmas morning, when we first plugged the console into the television, I wasn't too sure how it would go over.
At first, I thought the game was a little to hard for a little girl who occasionally skips a few letters when she recites the alphabet. Plus, I thought the concept of Lizzie being on a mission with the objective to beat the bad guys might be lost on her.
Boy, was I wrong.
After about two weeks, not only does she have the hang of it, she's beating bad guys left and right.
As an added bonus, her word association skills have vastly improved.
She now understands that onion begins with "o" and dog begins with "d." She's even begun to pickup what letters fit where in the middle of the alphabet.
Watching her play is half the fun. She has three games but one in particular has become a run away favorite. In the game, Lizzie plays the part of a little red-headed girl who has to make her way through six levels of alphabet, number, shape and color games to find enough power rings to save an adventure park.
When things chase the little girl, Lizzie screams. When the little girl finishes the level, Lizzie dances with her. When things get a little too hairy, Lizzie asks Tiffany or me to take over for a few minutes. Once the heat dies down, Lizzie wants to take back over.
She's already topped her parent's high score and beats her own about once a week.
In about an hour of gaming a day, I honestly feel that while playing that video game, she's learning a lot.
And in the true spirit of an educational game, Tiffany and my alphabet skills are a lot sharper than they've been in a long time.