Don’t just play video games… Make them

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Video games. They're controversial, and they're also something that kids love.

Psychologist Dr. Isabela Granic has long studied video game use in children and adolescents, and has come to the conclusion that interacting in a video game world can have real world benefits (Bowen 2014). According to Granic, both complex strategic games (Legend of Zelda) as well as simpler problem solving games (Angry Birds) can improve cognitive function. There are also emotional benefits to playing video games says Granic, like improved mood, resilience skills, and increased relaxation.

Kids can take video games to the next level by learning how video games work and designing their own, turning this addictive pass-time into a 21st century skill. Here are five super awesome video game courses we have listed in Thrively that will help your child to get excited about engineering their own digital world.

1. Game Design 1 / Youth Digital

Youth Digital offers kids a unique experience in video game design. With programs for kids as young as age 8, Youth Digital offers well supported, easy to use video game design courses for kids. The Game Design 1 course teaches kids to design their own video game completely - from start to finish. Kids can then burn their work onto a CD to share with their friends.

2. Getting Started with Minecraft/Tech Rocket

Tech Rocket's courses are extremely thorough and easy for kids to access. Kids can work through prerequisites in Java in order to prepare them for the world of Minecraft, then learn how to customize their virtual world with ease and fun. This is a key elements course, perfect for kids who are new to Minecraft but ready to jump in.

3. Hour of Code

Hour of Code is one of the biggest and most comprehensive kids coding sites out there. You'll find just too many cool games for your kids to build and program, with all kinds of amazing characters from Frozen to Angry Birds. Let your child explore their interests here.

4. Tynker

This site lets your child program everything from apps to drones. Kids love this site and find that they're able to do things that they never though possible in the world video games. It's interactive approach is also perfect for kids who aren't sure of themselves when it comes to coding.

5. Codeacademy

Codecademy can help you learn to code for free! They've got over 24 million users teaching and learning how to code any type of computer language, from HTML to Python. Their mission is to get more computer science knowledge into the hands of young people. And of course, being free doesn't hurt either :P


Bowen, Lisa. (February 2014). Video game play may provide learning, health, social benefits, review finds. Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association. Retrieved from



Autumn Robinson is a writer, teacher, martial artist and mom who's pursuing her PhD in Clinical Psychology. Autumn loves her life in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina with her three young boys and loving husband. She is also an advocate for children, who believes that all kids deserve to live out their passion. 





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