Nowadays, almost every kid is crazy about video games, and only parents know what a struggle it is to engage their little ones in something more productive. Getting the kids off video games is not easy, but not impossible either. Before the advent of video games, kids used to spend more time taking part in productive activities, such as playing with model trains and other toys.
Today, most parents have a hard time looking for alternatives for video games to get their kids off video games. While we are on the topic, let us tell you that model trains, also known as toy trains, can be a great alternative to video games.
How Can Model Trains Be Helpful?
A model train provides the same opportunities of having fun as video games, but with the additional benefits of developing interaction and communication skills in your kid. Among all kinds of model trains, i.e., plastic, wooden, licensed, and themed model trains, there must be one that your kid loves. Unlike video games, playing with model trains is not just about playing but also about learning several skills. While putting the pieces of the model train together, kids develop fine motor skills and learn decision-making skills while deciding where to put a piece.
While most kids play video games and learn nothing, you can get your kids off video games and allow them to have fun and learn vital skills with model trains.
Following are some key benefits of playing with model trains to help you understand how it is a great alternative to video games:
1. Development of Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills development at a young age can be pretty beneficial, as these are the same skills that a kid needs to learn, drawing, writing, using spoon/forks, and other daily life tasks such as tying the shoelaces. Putting all the pieces of the model train track, operating the bridges, and pulling the train around are great exercises for the development of fine motor skills.
2. Better Communication Skills
Unlike video games, playing with model trains actually allow your kid to communicate well. The pretend play develops communication skills and helps in enhancing vocabulary through storytelling and description.
3. Following Instructions
When your kids are playing with model trains, make sure you play with them and give instructions. Tell them how to put the pieces together, put the train on the track, and pull the train. In addition, tell them about the stop signs, carriages, etc. This way, your kids will develop the instructions following skills.
4. Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills allow the kids to gain spatial awareness, i.e., understanding how much space is required for them to play without breaking off the train track. Moreover, playing with model trains includes a lot of crawling, lying on the floor, crouching, and stepping on things, which allows your kids to be more physically active.
5. Problem Solving Skills
Problem-solving skills can never be opted out of anyone’s life, and one cannot survive in today’s world without these essential skills. Kids tend to develop problem-solving skills by playing with model trains. When the children learn to assemble the tracks and other pieces, they think about all the hurdles that may come in the way of the track and ways to avoid those obstacles so that their track can run smoothly. This is how the problem-solving skills start to develop in a kid’s mind.
6. Creativity and Imagination
When playing with model trains, kids use their creativity and imagination to create new track designs. No one would ever like to live a life without the colors of imagination and creativity, and this is why it is vital to allow your kids to develop such skills.
Cons of Playing Video Games
If you see your child spending most of the time playing video games, it is time for you to make him get off video games. Following are some major issues that may arise if you don’t get your kid off video games as soon as possible:
1. Mental and Behavioral Changes
Children who spend a major chunk of their time playing video games are most likely to become introverts, violent, and lose interest in their surroundings. Such mental and behavioral changes can lead them to an underdeveloped and timid personality. This will only turn them into people who cannot communicate with others and socialize like normal people.
2. Laziness and Weight Gain
Playing video games doesn’t require any kind of physical activity, which can cause your kid’s personality to become lethargic and lazy. This lethargic nature can even lead to weight gain, which itself is a major reason for many other chronic diseases.
3. Poor Academic Performance
Video games can be addictive, and spending too much time on them can deprive your kid of learning new things in life and playing real outdoor games. A kid who is addicted to video games cannot think about anything else, not even his education. He would sacrifice his studies for playing video games, ultimately resulting in poor academic performance.
4. Video Game Addiction Can Harm Eyesight and Cause Insomnia
Extremely high screen time can cause serious eyesight issues, especially myopia. Just like that, extended screen time can also cause insomnia in kids, and sleeping at times would become harder and harder with every passing day.
The benefits of playing with model trains are much more than people usually think. A small change in your kid’s lifestyle can help him develop several social and learning skills while playing. If you succeed in making your kids play with model trains instead of video games, you can actually lower down a lot of health and academics-related risks.
However, parents must remember that letting their kids play with model trains doesn’t mean that they should cut off video games completely from their lives. Every kid needs to experience all kinds of games to catch up with modern society, and you can only do this by maintaining a balance.