Of Learning While Playing Games

Its crazy how times change as if in the blink of an eye, the simpler times end and a new age begins. I was thinking of this while hanging out with my lil nephew and nieces, that how when I was their age TV started broadcasting at 4pm and you would get only one cartoon and that was that until the next day.

Playing games meant going outside to play, running  till we dropped. We flew kites, fell from trees, tortured insects, you know pulled wings and limbs from grasshoppers nothing too psychopathic, we learnt things. The street lights coming on meant you had stayed out too long and could be in trouble. Thanks to TV though, we were never home late always made sure to be home and washed off the dust from the streets in time to watch the cartoon of the day at 4pm.

Now cartoons are available practically all the time especially if one has satellite TV or internet access. The battle for the remote control is a deadly battle of will where one party will throw a tantrum and for peace of mind the other party folds to Coco-what 🍈 and Peppa-who 🐖 and hopefully finding solace on laptop or maybe phone…. But that can be short-lived

Can I play a game on your laptop?

Can I play a game on your computer?
Father and daughter on Laptop
Father and daughter on laptop camera 📸 Unsplash

Well, firstly the games on my laptop come with a MA rating which is why I have had to remove the desktop shortcut so I can confidently reply with “No there are no games on my laptop” and show my desktop. Secondly I am still in awe at how I first touched a computer after completing the ICDL (international computer driving licence) and yet these little ones who can barely speak yet alone read and write can navigate their way on a computer and go to Youtube to watch their favourite shows….

Being a responsible uncle, I bookmarked games for kids with educational games themes, that way playing games isn’t just wasting away the day shooting up zombies. The Mortgage Calculator has a Money Games page which offers Online Entrepreneur, Business, & Money Management Video Games for Kids, which can teach kids all sorts of interesting skills from critical thinking to even basic coding and of course some good old-fashioned hand eye co-ordination.

The games are listed in a one page scroll layout grouped as shown in various categories ranging from Real Estate Games to Environmental Games. They are light Web Applications which can run on any computer browser and even on a mobile phone browser (no installation required). Once a game has loaded you can continue playing offline which is bonus for those who might have limited internet or if you don’t want to leave the little critters alone with a computer that’s online.

The games range from simple to some which can get super complicated that you wish they had a hint button… We are currently stuck on level 4 of Construct A Bridge where you basically construct a bridge which has to pass structural integrity. Talk about advanced problem solving skills.

If anyone knows how to build bridges go play this game then send tips so I can pull off the cool uncle look when I show them how its done!!!

Broken bridge in Construct A Bridge Game
The centre cannot hold, the bridge falls apart

My nephew is obsessed with Rubi’s Coding Class a logic game where you “program” the movements of a robot to guide its path to specific place on the grid. Now that game is actually quite intellectually stimulating and I have to say gives an accurate visual representation of how one debugs code by running it and adjusting for corrections.

I was once again reminded of the keynote speech made by Dr Hapanyengwi at the Freelancers Summit on Developing AI Talent and Capacity Education. He emphasized that we should be invested in what the young generation are learning. They have potential to come up with fresh perspectives that are unencumbered by our “logic” and other social constructs.

Looking at how I solved some of the puzzles versus how my nephew solved them and sometimes in less time than I did gave me a point of reflection at how adulthood turns us into over thinkers… Take me back to that age when life was simpler.

How old were you when you first used a computer?




  1. Amazing to see young children being so creative and problem solving and building infrastructure! I recall watching mine also playing games in Japanese and wondering how they did without any linguistic ability and realised how blocked we had become by our own.


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