The Power of Play: How Kids Benefit from Game-Based Learning

The Power of Play: How Kids Benefit from Game-Based Learning

The Power of Play: How Kids Benefit from Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning, particularly with computer games, is a powerful way to channel the magic of play into learning. In fact, game-based learning dates back to the 1970s! Remember Oregon Trail? By leading a family on their journey west, you learned how to make logical decisions, communicate efficiently, and work toward a goal.

While modern game-based learning is more advanced, it ultimately has the same goal: make learning fun (and encourage retention) by turning it into something all kids love to do – play!

Game-based learning doesn’t just refer to activities like gamified multiplication drills; rather, it encompasses immersive and engaging games in which kids step outside of themselves and see problems from the point of view of a character or narrator. This kind of learning allows kids to work through issues and frustrations in a digital space.

Why is game-based learning good for kids?

When learning is fun, kids love to learn. According to psychologist Judy Wills, “Students retain what they learn when the learning is associated with strong positive emotion.”

Featured Maker Gabriella explained it best – “I like the fact that I’m learning while doing something I enjoy. That’s something that matters a lot to me – if you don’t like what you’re doing, what’s the point?”

Game-based learning (or GBL) helps kids take charge of their learning. They make choices, test ideas, and practice skills like iteration. Education Technology describes how GBL “creates an intrinsic motivation to learn more” because kids take pride in their advancement through the game, an accomplishment made possible by the concepts they learn as they play! The consistent feedback provided by game-based learning makes it ultra-engaging and motivating.

GBL promotes critical thinking and problem solving; it also creates opportunities to learn technical skills as well as soft skills. With GBL, games can be used to teach anything from English to problem-solving to coding. Because kids love to talk about and play games together, game-based learning can become a collaborative activity as well as a highly individualized experience.

How do I introduce game-based learning?

Tynker courses harness every aspect of GBL! With Tynker, kids learn to code as a means to control any and every aspect of the game they’re playing through. They’re guided through courses to add an element of structure and help kids associate their discoveries with coding terms and techniques, but their accomplishments and sense of advancement are still their own.

According to Featured Maker Hannah, “The courses are very imaginative….it doesn’t feel like you’re actually learning something – they put it together like a video game.”

Game-based learning is a powerful tool – it turns education into an adventure and fosters a lifelong love of discovery. Kids who Tynker reap the benefits of game-based learning – get your child started today!


Tynker enables children to learn computer programming in a fun and imaginative way. More than 60 million kids worldwide have started learning to code using Tynker.