|Pokeball cake pops|
Lots of moms will tell you that they don't allow video games because they stiffle creativity. They suck up the kids' brains and spit them out, hypnotized, several hours later. It's a stereotype, right? The moms saying no and the dads saying, "Aww, just wait till Mom leaves for the grocery store, then we'll play them together." In our house, it is the mom that encourages the video games. Here's what I like about the games: because all their friends play the same games, my kids are not clueless about pop culture icons and can have the childhood version of water cooler chat with their freinds. They learn some things from the games themselves--they enhance their reading speed and comprehension by presenting dialogue in a different form, the games the kids like to play have some puzzle solving aspects, which can be brain builders, and sometimes it's nice (for me) to have a moment of peace.
What I don't like is chasing them off of the games when the time comes to end the play. And it does come, oh so soon. They are not allowed to play on school days, but on weekend days they get half an hour a day. (With the possibility to earn extra time during the week, which can be tacked onto the thirty minutes.)
My children love to play on them to the point of obsession. So that if my son were on his ds and you were to say, for example, "Hey, we're going to a bithday party for the Tooth Fairy and all your friends are going to be at your favorite restaurant eating pizza and magical cupcakes that make you fly!" he would just keep playing and say, "Eh, no thanks." That is what I don't like about the players.
The other day my son had already used his thirty minutes and was begging for more time. "What do I have to do to earn more ds today?"
"Well," I said, "I don't really have any extra jobs for you to do today, so you probably won't be earning any extra time. Unless you do something extraordinary, like save a baby from a burning building or something like that."
"Aww, but that's impossible!"
Half an hour later he came to me and said, "Come here, I want to show you something." He lead me into his little sister's room. The two of them had taken red construction paper and cut out paper flames, then taped them all over her loft bed. He climbed the ladder up to where she lay on her back waving her arms and legs and saying, "Goo goo, ga ga!" Then he picked her up and started to carry her 'out of the burning building.'
"Alright," I laughed, "very creative. You can have fifteen minutes."
They both cheered. As I walked back to the laundry room I heard my daughter say "You said it would count for something and you were right!"
I like the equation: thirty minutes of cooperative, creative play, and fifteen minutes of hyperactive relaxation.