Active Gaming Tips

Sports, dancing, working out -- you can do it all on your game console. Tips for fun, safe, age-appropriate play. By Caroline Knorr

Great games for kids

  • Active games can help families improve their overall activity level.

  • There are active games for every age range and interest.

  • Active games are less likely to have violent or stereotypical content and more likely to focus on fun.

Gaming gets physical

The days are gone when the only thing gamers exercised was their thumbs. A new generation of active games has quickly become one of the most popular categories. New consoles like the Kinect for Xbox360 and the PlayStation Move have joined the Wii in enabling kids to burn calories while they're having fun.

Good for them -- and fun, too!

As kids get older, many get less physically active. Sadly, today's kids are part of the heaviest generation in history. But getting them involved in a game that gets them moving is a great way for them to stay fit.

Some parents worry that if kids play active games then they won't want to play real games outside. But studies show that playing active games can actually lead to an overall healthier, active lifestyle.

Active games are so much fun and so social that they're great alternatives to more vegetative activities like watching movies or YouTube videos. They can help kids learn the basics of a sport if they don't yet have the skills to compete on a team. Active games can also help overweight kids burn off calories in a safe environment. And they can help any kid gain physical confidence because of the instant on-screen feedback that active games provide.

Quick tips for success

Set up an active gaming space. All active gaming requires space for players to move. The Kinect, more so than the Wii or PlayStation Move systems, needs a fair amount of room for its camera to register your movements.

Teach your kids to be safe while being active gamers. When kids are playing multiplayer active games, remind them to leave space between players. When using the Move and Wii controllers, remind your kids to use the safety straps. A home run that breaks the TV screen isn't a winner for anyone.

Pick videos that get your sofa slouches moving. Take your cue from your kids' interests. Choose from a huge range of active games, including dance games, sports games, fitness games, and adventure games that make you move to solve challenges.

Get games that kids can play alone, or with friends or family. You never know what mood they'll be in.

Make sure the games are age-appropriate. You don't want to frustrate younger players with overly advanced movements or have them dancing to songs that are geared for teens.

Don't let game life trump real life. Kids still need free play and exercise, whether it's in a gym, on a field, or at a playground.

Play with your kids. Even if you think kids don't want to see their mothers or fathers rocking out, once they're over the shock of seeing your moves, they'll love spending the time together.


About Caroline Knorr

As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for…?"... Read more

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Comments (1)

Adult written by JEDI micah

Video games are probably the best invention ever made! You do things that you wouldn't do in real-life! Active gaming, like Wii, Kinect, and PlayStation Move, may not be what real gaming is about, but there are still fun to play! Parents, when picking games for your kids, look up the game commercial on YouTube and think if your kid(s) can handle the game's content. Or just go to Common Sense. They always have the age appropriateness of each game!


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