The Arcade Workout
Most parents take their children to play in an arcade with the goal of simply having fun. And while that is the most tangible of outcomes, there is a lot more going on in an arcade than playtime. Arcade games offer a variety of ways to develop important skills in children and young people. So next time you walk into Cyber Quest for some family entertainment, consider exactly what else is happening when the kids are at play.
Eye-hand coordination is taking place in all gameplay. Children can sharpen these skills by trying to manipulate controllers at crane games, steering driving games, and a multitude of other options. Fine motor skills are also tested by targeting and applying the manipulation of controllers—from something simple like tossing a ball playing Down the Clown, to the complexity of rolling quarters or taking a shot at Super Star or Fruit Ninja.
In addition, many games challenge large muscle development through leaning and steering the weighted equipment in driving games, virtual snowboarding, snowmobiling, and other race games. Other games, like basketball shooting challenges, air hockey, skeeball-style or mini bowling games require not only to form development but also physical activity when retrieving balls and reshooting or rolling and reaching—all related to reflex and reaction development.
Cognitive development takes place through the understanding of cause and effect, and by creating and applying strategies to win games. Allowing a kid to “think it through” is an important step toward understanding the challenges in front of them and how to overcome them.
But what about math? It’s absolutely in the mix! Many games record scores and the players must do some quick math to determine how they have improved or regressed game to game. Tracking tickets won also encourages kids to know where they are as they collect credit to apply to that coveted redemption prize. With math and music closely related, musical games also allow children to further explore cause and effect, as well as experiment with sequences and associating keys and colors with sound.
Finally, children who are playing in an arcade also get to work on their social skills. This can be accomplished by taking turns at play, as well as learning to win or lose gracefully. Successfully having a conversation with other arcade guests or with that teammate behind the Prize Zone Redemption area is another way to get your child comfortable in social situations. These opportunities give your kiddo practice at being polite and engaging with peers and adults alike.
So, the next time the kids beg to play at Cyber Quest, remember it’s about much more than loading a card and enjoying some great arcade games—you are providing a lot of learning in a fun and exciting environment!