5 Innovative Ways to Use Video Games to Help Kids Stay Active

5 Innovative Ways to Use Video Games to Help Kids Stay Active

Video games often get a bad rap. Some parents worry that they’re too violent or that they promote a sedentary lifestyle. While these concerns aren’t unreasonable and parents should moderate usage, video games can be a powerful parenting tool as well. With that in mind, let’s explore how we can use your child’s love of video games to motivate them to be more active both inside and out.

1. Encourage Children to Exercise Through Video Games

Regular exercise provides kids with many benefits, including better sleep and increased performance in school. It can be hard to get kids to stick with it because it can seem boring and lack the appropriate short-term rewards. That’s where games like Just Dance and Ring Fit Adventure can make a big difference. Just Dance is just fun and doesn’t feel like an exercise game. Ring Fit Adventure does but makes it enjoyable through an RPG experience with goals and achievements.

2. Motivate Kids to Get Off the Couch Through Active-Play Titles

Active-play video games do include the fitness and dance games discussed earlier. However, it’s a broader genre that encourages children to interface with the game in other ways than sitting on the couch with a controller. Many of these games come with devices other than a controller, such as control wands or mats that the kids stand on and which detect movement. Look for titles that let the kids do something that doesn’t feel quite like exercise, such as exploring a new environment.

3. Install Augmented Reality Games on Their Mobile Devices

You can marry video games with the outdoors through augmented reality (AR) games. Pokémon Go is perhaps the most popular example of this kind of game. Through the app, children hunt for about 150 different species of Pokémon that they have to catch and add to their collection. The difference between this and other Pokémon titles is that the kids are not exploring a virtual environment. They are exploring the real world and places that you can walk and ride bicycles to.

4. Stay Active Indoors with a Virtual Reality Headset

Virtual reality (VR) headsets are still a bit on the pricey side, but they are an effective way to have your kids play games that don’t involve sitting down. They’ll walk around and move their arms. You will need a big enough space for VR, and it helps to kid-proof the area to avoid injuries.

5. Use Video Games as a Reward for Being Active Outdoors in Other Ways

Video games should never be an alternative to going outside and being active. There will be games they want to play that are just entertainment and involve sitting on the couch. So, use those hours you allow them with those games as a reward for spending even more time the way you want them to.

There are many video games on the market that challenge your children intellectually and encourage them to get off the couch and be active. These games are available for PC but also the Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Sony PlayStation. There are, of course, many active titles available for the various VR headsets as well.