It’s Daddy here. Apologies for that last post– not by Lara– just something I found in the drafts by an old author, as I’m supposed to be covering for Lara while she is away at the beach for a few days with some friends. Obviously, I haven’t done a very good job….:-)
Natasha, our six year old, and Oliver, our three year old, LOVE playing Wii. When Mummy is home and in charge, there is a very strict rule that Wii is only to be played on weekends and even then there are time limits. Well when Mum is away, we all come out and play! Parenting Daddy-style. The kids love it of course, as we stay up until the wee hours and they know it’s a one-off as Mummy would be furious!
I admit that it’s completely lame on my part. It reflects on my laziness to be more creative and proactive as a parent. It’s terrible, really, and I do get why. The kids should be outside running in the fresh air using their own imagination to play. And I should be laying down foundations for life that are not based on instant gratification. In my defense, I find it quite hard to be a single-parent to two young chidren (even if just for a few days) when they are so used to Mum being the central figure of discipline. This especially as it’s the holidays and they don’t normally have so much time on their hands. Plus there is little Wills to keep an eye on (who also seems to have an early affection for Wii himself!)
The latest Wii obsession of the kids and I is the Mii Golf game. It’s completely addictive and just an incredible amount of fun!
So here are five points that I have prepared in my defense, in anticipation of Lara’s wrath when she comes back tomorrow. It’s the best I could come up with!
1. Physical co-ordination
There is no doubt that the kids have gotten to improve some of their physical skills. Eye-had coordination for one- whether that be with their aim, timing or anticipation. Nat is naturally sporty and so has a very good eye for the ball already. But she also tends to be a bit clumsy, so Wii games do help learn her own strength and use more “touch” and deftness. Ollie doesn’t seem to have a natural eye for the ball, and Wii has improved his timing.
2. Learning to win & lose
This is a big one. Nat is incredibly competitive and has been ever since she could walk and talk. Especially against her little brother, who luckily doesn’t share the same character trait and is very sweet even if he doesn’t win. So if I take a shot for him and misses, he’ll say: “Don’t worry, Dad, it’s okay…” and have that cute look about him when I could just hug him to death! But going back to Nat, we are talking serious tantrums, sulking, crying and bad moods if she isn’t “the winner”. One might think that Wii would actually make this worse, but in fact Nat has started (very slowly…) to learn that she doesn’t need to win all the time and be more graceful when she loses. I can tell that it still hurts her like mad and she loathes losing, but the fact that she is now pretending not to mind as much is certainly a start in the right direction. And the other side of the coin is also learning how to win gracefully and in this respect Nat is much better than Ollie (probably as she has so much practice at it, as we let her win so much…), who does tend to gloat when he wins and say things like “I’m good, you’re bad, I’m the winner, you’re the loser, na, na..”. Again, from playing Wii, Ollie has started to learn that it’s not nice to gloat over your opponent when you win.
3. An introduction to business
With Mii Golf (& quite a few of the other Wii games) there is a lot of “stuff” that one wants to acquire. In this case things from the “shop” like the Dinosaur mask, the Amazon golf club, the Cat Jester or the Spook-a-Rama hat! And as one has to buy these with “coins” that you win by completing holes and courses, or one has to win them from another player when playing for “items”, a whole new realm of “trade” becomes introduced as a concept. Both kids learn the value of the coins that they have won and that they can’t afford to buy everything with them, so need to selectively choose. Plus they learn to attach additional value to the items they do own according to how hard they worked to acquire them, so it isn’t like a “pocket money for toys” lesson, as they have to also decide which items they care least about when betting them in a game (wait…am I encouraging gambling? Yikes!).
4. Patience & tenacity
A lot of the holes one has to complete in Mii Golf are pretty hard to do, even for me. The only way to master them is via trial and error, sometimes doing them over and over until you want to pull your hair out! Both Nat & Ollie obviously like to get immediate results when they play any game. And this is definitely one of Nat’s weak points when doing her homework, for instance. Unless the answer is obvious straight away, she tends to panic and give up, not wanting to solve the problem with more thought and effort (especially with Maths!). Weirdly enough, Wii has helped them both learn that “trying and trying again until you succeed” can reap rewards.
Quite often in Wii games, as is true in Mii Golf, one has to work as a team to win. In this instance, to beat Barker and win coins from him. With this set-up, nobody is a “winner” or “loser” and the kids have learned to use encouragement to help each other do well in order to defeat their opponent. So Ollie will say “good shot, Nat” even if she had in fact put the ball in the bunker! And Nat will instruct Ollie what he needs to do and so takes on the role of “teacher”. Practically every other game the two of them play (even if it’s just throwing around a ball) involves some kind of competition and thus a winner/loser, so I really like it when they play and and learn to work for each other.
As I said, pretty thin, no? I have surfed a bit trying to find some resources that might back up my “clutching at straws” excuses…
Kotaku has a neat post about the motor skills aspect.
Edutopia writes about the potential benefits of cooperation.
Gamasutra talks about the health benefits.
Evening Standard has a piece on how the Wii improves intelligence.
And some some other interesting reads:
How a University lecturer was paid £5,000 to study benefits of Wii.
Time asks if Wii really is good for your health.
And finally some childish streams of consciousness about Wii.
I fear none of this will suffice when Mummy returns and I’ll be in the dog house! And thus Lara will answer her own question on this blog and we’ll be subjected to an even stricter set of rules…:-(
Photo via Chicamania
Originally posted on January 10, 2009 @ 5:55 pm