Gaming console and games for a almost 6 year old.
November 13, 2013 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a gaming console and games for almost 6 year old boy, with few issues to address/target.

I am looking for a gaming console for almost a 6 year old boy that has serious pragmatic language issues and has communication skills of a 2.5-3 year old. Apart from regular therapy that he gets, I am looking into game console to develop few of the skills.

The points I am trying to address are
- Interaction/Listening skills, the console and the games must provide him interaction. He has to respond to something to be able to proceed.
- Social interaction, i.e. the console and the games must provide a chance to play socially i.e. multiple players that require interaction or simple family games.
- Eye hand co-ordination. He has pretty good eye hand co-ordination but still I would like to improve on it.
- This system (i.e. console and the games) should provide entertainment, plus it is more a teaching tool, so if there is any occupational therapist or speech therapist using these games with kids in their practice, I would like to hear their views.
I talked to our therapist but they are old school and have no idea. They are seeking more information so that it can be used with DS.
- Any other point that experienced gamers may find useful but I have not covered here.

Please note, I have not played a single game in my life, except race cars on computers in late 90s. So my knowledge in this is equal to a caveman. Didactic explanations are truly appreciated.

If you could recommend some game console and games, please make sure to direct me to the useful accessories as well.

Thanks in advance.

P.S. - I have 1st Gen iPad, 1st Gen Motorola Xoom and a couple of android phones. He plays a ton of games on it. Please do not recommend these (games suggestions are welcome but that is not priority of this question).
- Handheld gaming consoles not preferred, because of the associations he has already made with handheld devices.
posted by zaxour to Education (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a PS3. My kid has played on it for years (currently 6 years old).

hand eye coordination -> angry birds!
social playing -> Lego games (Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, etc). I play them with my kid and we work together. Also, Little Big Planet.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:20 AM on November 13, 2013

Sounds like you want a Wii (not Wii U). Cheap, stacks of games, hand-eye coordination with the controller, etc.
posted by slater at 11:20 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree with slater that you want a Wii or WiiU. The WiiU is newer and will continue to be supported and have games made for it for years to come. The Wii was recently made obsolete by the WiiU, but already has tons of games for it that you can purchase used for cheap.

Both the Wii and the WiiU are extremely kid friendly and have games that will meet the requirements you posted here easily.
posted by shesbookish at 11:31 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Wii, but perhaps not WiiU. Given the situation I'd keep things simple and the second-screen stuff on the WiiU could lead to a lot of frustration at first.

There's another Ask going on right now and there are some great recommendations of games there. Hell, you could just start with Wii Sports and play 2-person bowling for a long long time. Wii Sports Resort (not the same as Wii Sports) also has a fun flying game where you need to hunt around a large island and find hidden balloons. That's great for spatial awareness and memory.

The educational value of these games will be in the cooperation and discussion that goes on while you play together. If you want games to reinforce math, vocabulary, letters, etc I'd stick with what's available on the tablets.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:48 AM on November 13, 2013

Buy a Wii and get the games Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort (one or both may come pre-packed with the console when you buy it. Also buy Mario Kart Wii. Buy at least one extra Wiimote and Nunchuk, and buy a steering wheel type adapter for each Wiimote. This alone will give you months and months of gaming fun, and will be a pretty shallow learning curve for both of you. All three of those games involve competitive play and require following cues and instructions ("Press A to Start" type stuff), but are not complicated. After that you can branch out to other games like the LEGO series and Little Big Planet (good cooperative and competitive gameplay).
posted by Rock Steady at 12:18 PM on November 13, 2013

You don't need a console, you don't need multiple games... you need 2 computers and 2 copies of Minecraft. Survive, build, and thrive together. Seriously, kids take to the game like fish to water, it offers an incredible canvas for creativity not just in building stuff but in designing redstone circuits, piston-based machines etc... plus it offers a sense of mastery (extremely important in learning!) and because there's no handholding/tutorial you and your child will have to go looking for hints together on how to accomplish things. Also, playing first-person style games is great for motor skills. Precision mousing and click timing are essential.

The kind of stuff you're asking for ('educational' games where the user must 'respond') are among the least creative things going on in games right now! Seriously, oldschool educational games are a snore for kids. Believe me, I played tons of them as a kid, hated 'em all. There are some slightly better things going on on tablets right now, but personally I find most educational games severely underestimate kids' intelligence and potential. Minecraft doesn't. It's an equal playing field for kids and adults, and you will be surprised how much faster than you your kid will acquire the skills. Learning those skills (and getting ideas for projects to work on) will naturally lead you to the many Minecraft videos on YouTube and it's awesome to share that with a kid. You can both be awed by the incredibly complex machines and giant-scale constructions, and it'll give you both ideas for projects of your own to tackle.

Not to mention, Minecraft leads naturally to real-world questions about physics, geography, digital electronics, DIY construction projects, farming... I highly recommend you give up on 'educational' games and focus on stuff where your kid can bring his imagination to bear.
posted by signsofrain at 12:40 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you go with the Wii, you definitely want to get the series of games called Learning With the Pooyoos. Two of my children have played it at various points over the years, and I think it would be perfect for the child you describe. Your child will probably also instinctively glom onto one or more of the sports games that are included with the console.
posted by jbickers at 12:52 PM on November 13, 2013

Response by poster: Wow, those are pretty fast and good replies. Thank you folks.

Now, if I may ask for one more favor, I noticed GameStop sells pre-owned Wii hardware. It will be great if someone could just point me to right hardware to buy. This is a huge list of pre-owned hardware and games. I have good pointers for games, I am still not too sure I am knowledgeable enough to buy hardware.
posted by zaxour at 2:22 PM on November 13, 2013

This seems to be the only system they have on the site, and I wouldn't recommend it, both because it comes with a bunch of games you may not need and it doesn't seem to have a Motion Plus Wiimote. I'd walk into your local branch (or your local independent video game store, if one exists) and tell them you need the following:

1x Wii console
1x AC adapter
1x Sensor bar
1x whatever cable you need to connect to your TV
1x Wii Sports
1x Wii Sports Resort
1x Mario Kart Wii
2x Motion Plus Wiimote
2x Nunchuk
2x steering wheel adapter (optional, but adds to the fun of Kart)

Used I bet the whole schmear is around $100.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:03 PM on November 13, 2013

Wii is a plus. My 4 year old loves the Lego Star Wars games. They are cute, nonviolent (shooting bad guys makes them fall into pieces!) and have lots and lots of levels and replay value, hidden puzzles, etc. There are also Lego Indiana Jones, superhero, and so on that can be used as follow-up games.

A note: the Wii can happily play GameCube disks, too. And GameCube disks are often cheaper than the Wii games. You will need controllers (which plug into ports hidden under a side panel on the Wii) and a memory card for game saves (also plugs into hidden ports). Panel doors can be removed to make accessing the controller/memory ports easier. I know the StarWars disks for sure are available for the GameCube. But it also opens the door for a lot of older titles you may find at the used game places.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:36 PM on November 13, 2013

Don't forget rechargable batteries for the remotes. You'll need 2xAA per unit. Otherwise you'll need new alkalines every few weeks.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:03 AM on November 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Just yesterday I was in a pediatric physical / occupational therapists' office, watching three kids who are all on the autism spectrum play with a Kinect. It was so cool that I think I'll be giving my kids one for Christmas (shhhh). The therapists pointed out that the Kinect was superior to the Wii for this particular use, because you have to actually use your body and not just wiggle the nunchuck.

We have a Wii we never use -- we lost a part in a move over a year ago and nobody has missed it -- because it turned out to not be as physical as we wanted.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:54 PM on November 15, 2013

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