Thursday, January 20, 2011

Where is Your Imagination?

I’ll tell you where…lost inside a Wii (or Kinect or Play Station or etc.) The obsession with video games is detrimental to our kids’ imagination and creativity.

I took a poll yesterday and 21 out 24 of my 7 year olds have a video game system of some kind. That’s very interesting to me working at socio-economically challenged school such as mine. Over 80% of my school is on free or reduced lunch. I have to send my own books home with my kids and BEG and bribe them to read, since video games seem to be valued quite a bit more in their homes.

A day doesn’t go by without a mention of what level of Sonic someone is on or how excited they are about the new game their parents just bought them. Most creative writing assignments include at least one sentence about a video game. Every year I do a writing lesson using metaphors, which is a difficult concept for second graders. The kids write a poem to their mom for Mother’s Day. The lesson has the students make a list of their most favorite things. Then we write a poem comparing their mom to their favorite things. It is taken from a very cute book called You Are to Me. Every year several of our moms are compared to an Xbox or a DS. Don’t get my wrong. I like a good game of “Just Dance” as much as the next person. However, the addiction that some kids have to these games seems to be damaging them academically.

I’m sure every generation has a vice that the previous one shakes their fist at but, but before video games kids had to create their own fun. They had to use their imagination to go to far away places and pretend to be different characters. Nowadays make-believe is created for kids. All they have to do is stare (relentlessly) at the screen. That’s not good in so many ways.



  1. I grew up with video games. But, Mom was always adament about "playing outside first," so I had a healthy mix of Mario and hide-and-seek. However, I will say that video games helped me become more proficient with technology! I was the one in the house who had to program the VCR, the TV, and any other appliance! (This coming from an only child). So, when I have kids, I will gladly allow them to play video long as they get some Vitamin D from the sun in first :)

    Great post...came here from Mama's! Hope you can take a look at my entry, too!

  2. We had a Nintendo but NO games. My dad would rent a game for us on Friday nights and we'd play that for a day. I grew up on a lot of property with horses, etc. and we pretty much weren't allowed to come inside unless we had to pee.
    I'm not buying video games for my kid! No way, no how. Great post. Thanks for the comment on my WW post today!

  3. My kid LOVES imagination games. Loves it. His friends always want to watch tv or play a video game when he wants to make up a play. Over Christmas, when Shoshi was here, they made a little movie in the spare bedroom. It was wonderful. It made my heart happy to know that the children I love are able to interact with their creative sides as well as video games : )

  4. The advent of watching movies at home has had a similar effect, PD. Most of my preschoolers aren't that into the video games yet, but man, a lot of them come to school already pre-programmed to re-enact movie characters and scenes. They watch those movies over and over and it really seems to effect their little minds.

    But Disney Princesses are just as bad . . .

    And so many kids can't build with Legos without plans . . .

    Whatever happened to playing with sticks and boxes and rock and toilet paper tubes? Those are great toys!

    I worry that open-ended, child-created imaginative play is on the way out. That's why I work so hard to keep it alive!

  5. I have Grade 3s with iPads! How sad! And they wonder why I still harp on them to be creative....

  6. I wrote on the same prompt.

    I think the key is balance/set rules & follow them. My kids have video games but aren't allowed to play them all day/whenever they want.

  7. Guilty. And I feel really bad about it now. In fact, I was just going to write about it next week and probably will still. However, the tone of it will be different. My kids love the Wii. I hate all video games unless it is Atari Pacman which I haven't touch in 25 years. We are expecting snow tomorrow and I'll drag the kids out, take pictures, create a Post and dedicate it to you.
    Your Friend, m.

  8. I think part of the problem lays with you. But not in a fault way. You are both from different Countries and neither of you speak the others lingo.
    It's one of the reasons why the Nuns were sooooo successful. They came from the same slum many of them. And while they were teaching a prep-school curriculum they knew the cultural keys that would open that curriculum.

  9. It's not the TV or the PS2 that's the problem. If the parents are not engaging then the structure you are instilling is being lost.
    There is only so much you can do in the time allowed.

  10. We just bought Olivia a Dsi for Christamas. Since qw got back to school she hasn't touched it...too busy I guess. I often wonder how they all have those games when I can't even afford one!

  11. Yep...and the kids cannot entertain themselves...not even to day dream! AND if you have driven a kid somewhere recently and you ask them how to get to their house, they don't know...not even from a block away BECAUSE they are plugged into the DVD player! Seriously the art of conversation and imagination is LOST!

    We got Wii here when my oldest was the dark days, (10 years ago) for my son's birthday we rented a Nintendo from the video store for his b-day party...but the kids spent most of the night playing indoor Nerf soccer...because they never had played it before!

  12. I agree, and it is a little sad. Mayan and I never had one, though they were available.

    I never felt bad about not providing that type of entertainment for her, I did provide a LOT of movies though.