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How Games Inspire Outside Skills

07/01/2022 / 12 days ago / Author: Andy Robertson


It's easy to assume that playing a video game will lead to playing more video games. The common thinking is that the more time in front of a screen, the less likely a child is going to go outside.

This can be true, but we hear from lots of parents and guardians who have stories about how video games have inspired a new outside hobby or pursuit in their children. A good video game about a topic will lead to the player being inspired not only to play the game, but to engage in that area of life after playing.

There are, of course, common used examples like FIFA leading to enthusiasm for football and Minecraft resulting in an interest in gardening. These are good example, but by no means the end of the story of how video games can raise aspirations and get children outside.

There's a game that we have been recommending for a while. Alba: Wildlife Adventure is a game where you play a young girl visiting her grandparents on a mediterranean island. You are gifted a prized bird spotters book and a camera.

The book details the habitat of 60 different birds, as well as showing you the sound they make. This leads to an exploration of the island where you go to specific habitats and listen out for specific bird calls (best played with headphones). You then use the 3D sound to locate the birds and take a picture. It really is as magical as it sounds.


We recently heard from a family, who had played the game with their children. Then, on a recent walk it led to... I'll let them tell you in their own words:

"Guys. Thank you so much for the recommendations. Alba may be our favourite - in fact, out on our walk by the shore today my son identified three birds that he had taken photos of in the game. Amazing!"
- Dad of Gamer Son

It's a lovely story, but not isolated in the least. We hear from parents almost every day with stories about video games that have led their children to fall in love with an outside hobby.

My son was already pretty interested in nature and wildlife, we regularly go out looking for birds etc with our binoculars and take photos together so this game was perfect. Certainly a game parents can feel confident about leaving their young kids with unsupervised. Inspires a lot of activities away from the console too.
- Dad of Wildlife Lover


Some have found Moonglow Bay an entry point into fishing, Viva Pinata get them started with gardening, Abzu spark a fascination with diving, Eastward inspire children to paint landscapes, The Endless Forest to inspire walking. There has even been talk of Powerwash Simulator leading to a teenager setting up a car washing business.

We've been keeping a list of these games that are good at inspiring children to get outside for hobbies. Perhaps your children would enjoy playing some of these? Or perhaps there are some games here that you could play as a family, that would lead to other things you could do together.

Get Children Outside

Many video games let children try outside activities and sports. This can be a great way to not only find something new to do outside, but also start to gain some expertease that you can then try in the real world.

The games in this list, are not only set in the wild but let you get your hands dirty (so to speak). They cover outside activities as varied as fishing, gardening, bird watching, swimming, landscape painting, walking, scuba diving, wilderness exploring, wild survival and sailing.

This can be a nice way to see what sorts of activity click with your child. Also, being a video game means that children are often more willing to give things a go in this way.
 
Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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