Top 5 Apps for Boys
I’m a stay-at-home mom, a work-from-home mom, and a homeschooling mom. Translation: I spend a lot of time with my kids. And like most well-meaning moms who promised never to use the TV as a babysitter, my kids watch a fair amount.
However, my 6-year-old Sawyer LOVES playing video games. I think it’s the interactivity that draws him in. Unlike a movie, a game gives you choices. You don’t just watch the hero. You are the hero! The immersion is so alluring that when he’s not playing video games, Sawyer wants to play the pretend version. It’s not enough to just catch Pikachu. He must be Pikachu.
The immersive nature of video games make them powerful tools. I know screen time can have its downside. But in my unprofessional opinion, not all screen time is equal. Remember when they told us that all fat was bad for us? People quit eating it, and there was a major spike in depression. It turns out our bodies need fat after all—just not too much and not the wrong kinds. We need balance.
I see screen time as kind of the same deal. While sitting on a couch all day watching TV will rot my kids’ brains, there are some incredible benefits to all the problem-solving skills that many games nurture. When Sawyer’s screen time is over and he’s inspired to invent something with LEGOs or defend his brother from evil robots, I know we’ve found a good one.
It’s all about saying yes to the good stuff and no to the bad. Balance.
Our family’s favorite games inspire creativity, encourage exploration, reward learning, and build character. These are (in my opinion) the Top 5 Apps for Boys that do just that.
For inspiring creativity and learning. Blocksworld is for all the future engineers and game designers out there. With some simple tap-on-the-thing-that’s-blinking tutorials, you can make your own simple games and play them! In our case, Sawyer makes the games, I play them, and he laughs hysterically when I lose. Worth. Every. Minute.
4. Pokémon GO
For encouraging exploration. No video game has encouraged physical activity more in my kids than Pokémon GO. To play this game, you have to get outside and walk—a lot. When the weather’s nice, we do our screen time outside. Or I sit on the back porch and read while the kids walk laps. Either way, good things happen.
3. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
For inspiring creativity and encouraging exploration. You can’t go wrong with LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. Other great alternatives: LEGO The Lord of the Rings, LEGO Batman: DC Superheroes, LEGO Jurassic World, and LEGO Harry Potter. These LEGO games are all pretty similar in how they play, and they are super fun for both the kids and the parents. And after being in the virtual LEGO world, they usually result in lots of physical LEGO play.
For inspiring creativity, encouraging exploration, and learning. If you have boys, you’ve likely heard about this one already. Let me tell you, I was hesitant to go down this road after a few moms told me this was all their kids wanted to do. But then I played it. And you know what? It’s actually a really good game! Unlike so many other games, Minecraft is about what you can create rather than what you destroy. And if you want to be really good at Minecraft, you’ll likely end up learning some true-to-life electrical engineering principles. We play offline or only with friends, so I don’t have to worry about Internet safety.
(Other versions: Minecraft for PC/Mac [Online Game Code])
1. The Aetherlight
For building character, encouraging exploration and learning, and inspiring creativity. Not only do my boys love The Aetherlight, but I also love that they love this game! It’s an allegory. So while my boys are racing airships, they are also learning about Jacob and Esau and other stories from the Bible. They do play with other kids online, but I have my own parent account where I opt for the no-chat feature and limit their interactions to helping each other fight the evil automatons. I also opt in for emails that update me on where my child is in the story, and give me some suggestions for talking about the stories and how they relate to Scripture with my kids!
By Guest Writer: Chera Meredith
Hi, I’m Chera. I’m a stay-at-home mom of two boys, a homeschool teacher, and a most recently a video game developer. Seeing the impact that games have on my kids made me realize the need for more games that connect kids with God. So my husband and I started So Peculiar, LLC.
Our current project is titled Closer Than You Know. It’s is an adventure game—the kind of story that kids will love to play and then want to experience in their imaginations over and over again. And that’s great, because it’s all about exploring and discovering who God really is. And, as anyone who’s had that pleasure knows, that’s the greatest adventure of all.
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