I originally wrote this post as a travel aid on how to use video games for learning while on a family trip. But my tips below can also be used just as well while at home with your kids.
Recently, my family enjoyed exploring Victoria and Vancouver BC in Canada for Spring Break. We had the BEST time! I can’t wait to share photos of our adventures, so stay tuned to upcoming Travel Tuesday posts.
In the meantime, I want to share one of the fun games that we took with us, and how we used it to not only keep the kids happily occupied during our road trip to Canada, but also, how we use this and other games to help expand our kids’ love of travel.
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
On March 18th, a brand new game was released for Nintendo 3DS: Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
My kids really love playing this game! They’ve never really been big into Mario games in the past, so I was surprised at how much they liked playing it. The 3DS was perfect for a road trip from Portland, Oregon to Victoria & Vancouver BC: it’s portable and small enough to fit into my purse or one of the kids’ backpacks, and the battery life is pretty impressive, especially compared to phones and tablets.
Now, you may be thinking, “gee, Marlynn, that’s really sooo original: your kids played video games while on a road trip. Big deal!”
Ahh, but a video game is never just a video game to me, folks. I see pretty much every opportunity as a potential learning opportunity, and you bet I took advantage of that on this trip.
I’m not a fan of kids being glued to electronics, especially during trips, but when you’re traveling for 6-30 hours at a time, I see no problem in breaking out the video games once in a while – for everyone’s sanity! And, if my kids are going to play video games, they are also going to learn at the same time!
So here are some learning prompts I used with my kids that you can use with your own kids on your spring break or summer road trip this year!
Road Trip Video Game Learning Prompts
Mario & Sonic at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games takes players through fun events and sporting activities throughout the 2016 Olympic host city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- Talk about the host city of Rio de Janeiro: what is the main language, what foods are popular there, how does the weather there compare to where you are traveling to or compared to your home town?
- Share how the 2016 Olympic mascot is a combination of different animals native to the host city of Rio. Talk about what those animals are and compare animals native to the country in which you live compared to Brazil.
- Share how there are more than 10,500 athletes representing 206 countries at the 2016 Olympics. See if your child can name at least ten countries that will be attending.
- Talk about how transportation is different in the city of Rio compared to where you live.
In this year’s Olympic games, there will be a total of 42 sports represented.
In Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, players can choose from a wide variety of olympic games to play, such as golf (which is returning to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years!), volleyball, soccer, table tennis, track & field games, wrestling, swimming, and more.
- See how many sports your child can guess will be part of the 2016 Olympic games.
- Ask your child which sports they believe are popular in different countries and why. While we were traveling through Canada, for example, the kids and I discussed hockey, baseball, and soccer.
- Talk about the history of sports in your country of origin and compare to the history of a popular sport in another country, such as the popularity of soccer in Brazil.
In Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016, players actually see real world record numbers and Olympic records in comparison with their own personal best time. I thought that was a pretty cool feature of the game. It gives them great perspective on just how much athletes must train to be as fast/strong/strategic as they are when playing their sport!
So while Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 is a super fun game in which kids can play a variety of sports, it is packed with plenty of learning opportunities. The game has a lot of excellent content that can help you talk with your kids about different parts of the world – different languages, foods, culture, climate, and of course, different sports.
I always believe YOUR excitement and curiosity about the world and traveling is one of the greatest factors in fueling THEIR excitement about the world and traveling. And, it just so happens, that one of the newest video games on the market can help expand that even further while you’re on a family trip!
Do you/your kids play video games while traveling? How do you use games to learn more about travel destinations?
FOR MORE FAMILY TRAVEL TIPS:
Many thanks to Nintendo for the complimentary Nintendo 3DS and Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 game. As always, all opinions and photos are my own. I only write about products, places, experiences, and events I personally enjoy and believe you will, too!