Gone are the days when hopscotch and jacks were the games of choice. Children these days seem to require more stimulating forms of entertainment then my generation did. Although I encourage my children to engage in all the “old timers” games as they call them, they still enjoy dabbling in the some of the latest technology. As a very cautious, homeschooling parent, I see no harm in some time spent enjoying the wonders of technology and the Internet as long as there is some sort of value to this type of engagement.
When my children approached me some time ago wanting to play online horse games I was very skeptical that I would find much good in this endeavor. However, through some very extensive and cautious research, I proved myself wrong. The virtual horse-related games were so real that I could hardly believe my eyes. After watching my children play several such games, I came to the conclusion that there were, in fact, many benefits to be reaped from high-quality virtual horse games, as oppose to small flash games. Below are a few of my findings.
Many online horse games provide an opportunity for children to learn a great deal about horse breeds, horse care and horse ownership without parents having to invest in a real horse. Many horse games on the internet, like Howrse, are based on real breeds and have very accurate animation and detailed information about each horse. If your child talks constantly about wanting a horse, introduce her first to an online virtual game. Even the youngest of horse lovers can benefit from simple virtual games where they will learn all the basics of selecting and caring for a horse.
Hand Eye Coordination and Racing Horses
Recent studies indicate that playing games improves children’s hand-eye coordination. Racing horses around barrels, over jumps and through the countryside all require a certain amount of dexterity and focus. Although some games may be challenging at first, encourage your children to stick with them, and the benefits will be great.
A large number of virtual horse games involve making financial decisions and participating in virtual transactions. Games allow children to earn money and build a business while caring for the needs of their horses. In addition, players must learn how to solve problems, manage their resources and make quick decisions. I found that these were all skills that I wanted my children to learn and that participation in virtual worlds helped with this learning. The best part of all is that my children were having fun while learning.
Video games have long been given a bad rap as encouraging antisocial behavior. With a strong interactive component, virtual horse games actually encourage children to be social. Playing virtual horse games is an excellent way for shy children to learn how to interact with other people. Developing online relationships with other kids that share similar hobbies is a great way for children to impart and gain knowledge. Some virtual games, like Star Stable, are set up to play as teams or even groups which help develop children’s ability to work as part of a team, usually referred as multi-player games. Children learn the importance of taking turns, being patient with others and sharing.
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