As a teacher, it can be a bit worrying when primary school aged children regularly tell you about how they've been playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto V. However, video games and board games can also be incredibly beneficial in helping to teach children. This can be shown through the creativity of a game like Minecraft or Tim Rylands using Myst to help children with their writing. Here are a few games that I think taught me something (some unexpectedly) when I was a child.
Risk - Geography
Obviously, Risk misses out a fair few countries and also uses old and now redundant names for a lot of the countries. However, as a basic tool for teaching me the layout of the different continents I feel that Risk did actually teach me something.
Civilization II - History
I remember my teacher being genuinely impressed at my knowledge of Roman military, town names, technology and leaders when we started our Roman topic at school. Little did she know that the vast majority of this knowledge had come from obsessively playing Civilization.
Theme Hospital - Maths
There were a few games I played that involved some level of money management but this is the main one that sticks out. You are constantly having to make calculations based on how much money you need to make and how your financial decisions are going to impact you getting there.
Spider-Man Cartoon Maker - English
A game where you have to make your own Spider-Man cartoons? I can't think of many better ways to have gotten a young me interested in writing my own story lines and dialogue for different characters. Granted, most my cartoons did end in an unimaginative plethora of explosions; I was basically a young Michael Bay.
Music - Music
The imaginatively titled, Music, for the PS1 was surprisingly versatile in allowing my twelve-year-old self to create different tracks. Even my bowl haircut and complete lack of musical ability couldn't stop me from briefly thinking I was going to be the next Fatboy Slim.