While traveling home with my daughter today, she said, “I know how to make cake in Minecraft.” Wondering how it’s possible to make cake in a video game, I said, “You do?”
She said: “Yep! First, you have to grow some wheat. Then find some sugar cane, and get some cows and chickens. You harvest the wheat by [insert lengthy and incomprehensible explanation], then get eggs from the chickens, milk from the cows, and sugar from the sugar cane.”
I congratulated her on her excellent Minecraft skills, and she proceeded to talk at great length about the newest Cinderella pillow pet she wants. The conversation would have been funny to an outsider, but I have to admit, I’m thrilled that my daughter has access to this game that encourages her to have an imagination.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have much in the way of video games (shut up, I’m old!). Pong came out when I was a kid, but I didn’t have a computer, so I didn’t play it much except at a friend’s house from time to time. In high school, I remember playing a game called Oregon Trail on the school’s lone computer. Basically, you had to figure out how much you needed to survive crossing the country to get to Oregon, and 9 out of 10 times my “family” would starve to death en route. It wasn’t what I’d call fun or particularly imaginative.
Some of today’s video games, on the other hand, are far better at stimulating the imagination. I’ve watched my daughter build cities, tame wolves, and create a dream home for me that included a hot tub. I love the way she has to think these creative processes through and how inventive she gets — and, above all, how much joy these games bring her.
Here are 5 imaginative games she enjoys playing!
5 Totally Imaginative Video Games 1 of 6
My daughter can't get enough of these video games! They're so imaginative, you'll likely get a kick out of them, too.
Minecraft 2 of 6
I know I already mentioned it, but Minecraft is such a huge thing for my daughter and her friends. I love that it's gender-neutral! Honestly, I've never seen so many girls and boys bond over this game. At the pool the other day, my daughter overheard someone talking about Minecraft, and they became instant best friends.
Best of all, she's super-creative in her worlds.
Plants vs. Zombies 3 of 6
I have a confession: I totally got my daughter interested in this game. I couldn't help but get sucked into it myself, and when she started watching me play, she latched right on. That's how she learned to play it herself!
It's not a particularly creative game, but it does require planning and strategy. After all, you've got to figure out the best plants for defeating the zombies. Plants vs. Zombies also launched on Facebook recently, in case you're sick of Candy Crush.
Temple Run 2 4 of 6
My daughter LOVES this game. I don't get it. I mean, you run. And then you jump ... and stuff. It's adventurous, and she just can't get enough of it.
All I know? It's totally setting my iPad on fire.
Subway Surfer 5 of 6
The happy-go-lucky game based on graffitti! Yes, really.
This is another "endless running" game like Temple Run, but much more kid-friendly. And again, I don't get it.
Disney Infinity 6 of 6
I can't WAIT to get my hands on Disney Infinity. This incredibly innovative game will allow my daughter to take her favorite Disney characters into a place where she can create her own game — all while using real Disney toys at the same time. Frankly, I don't quite get how it works yet, but I'm sure about 20 minutes after my daughter starts playing it, she'll be able to explain it to me.
Her brain is going to EXPLODE. You know, in a good way.
Disney Infinity is DEFINITELY going on my list of potential Christmas gifts this year. It will make my daughter's home the absolute favorite spot for sleepovers.
Um, wait a minute ...