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!