I worked with The Mission List and Quandary on this post. Any opinions are my own.
You might be think that using the words fun and ethical thinking in the same sentence is an oxymoron. I thought the same until I started playing the Quandary game with Sophia. Quandary is part video game, part ethical thinking game. Geared for kids 8 and older, the game allows kids to shape the future of a new society on the distant planet Braxos. The best part? Quandary is FREE! You can download the it from the Apple App Store, Google Play (Android) or play on the website.
Sophia, who turns 9 in less than two weeks, loved the premise of Quandary. Her science mind loved the idea of a futuristic human colony on a far away planet. There are many tough decisions to be made on a new colony. Kids carefully examine facts and colonists opinions to make the best choice for the colony.
Why Kids Love Playing Quandary:
- Kids get to be in charge! They play the role of Captain. As the colony’s leader, they must make the best choices for its community.
- They explore an undeveloped world, Braxos (and its creatures, plant life, etc) and each chapter tells a story about the colony.
- As they learn other colonists’ opinions about each dilemma, they can imagine themselves in different roles. Each person’s role is integral to the colony’s survival: farmer, historian, tailor, metalworker, engineer, and more.
- They can create their own Braxos characters using the Character Creator Tool. They can use those new characters to play community created challenges.
- There are no right or wrong answers in this game. Each decision has its own consequences. This is great for Sophia because it makes the game more fun and less stressful for her.
Why Parents Love Quandary:
Or rather, why I love Quandary.
- Culturally diverse characters. That was the first thing I noticed about this game. There were so many browned skinned characters! Being able to see characters that look like themselves makes it easier for kids to identify with the story. And in turn, they’ll be more engaged in the lessons the game is teaching.
- Quandary provides learning experiences structured to develop ethical thinking skills through perspective taking and critical thinking. They must gather facts and colonists’ opinions. This skills are essential for kids to make important decisions in life.
- Well-designed games make very effective learning tools. In fact, Quandary has won several awards, including Games for a Change Festival and Parents’ Choice Awards.
- It encourages independent thinking. I love that Quandary doesn’t tell kids how to think. It doesn’t ask for a specific answer in order to “win” the game.
As a parent, I struggle with how much screen time I give my kids. When Sophia plays Quandary, I know that she’s having fun and learning crucial skills. As a tween (did I just say that?), it’s so important to develop these important ethical thinking skills. They will help her navigate her teenage years (and later).
Even Jaxson, who turns 5 in a couple of weeks, enjoys playing the game. While some of the critical thinking aspects are over his head, he requests that the two of us play together. It’s been a good conversation starter for us.
Make sure you check out Quandary. It’s a free game and you can download the it from the Apple App Store, Google Play (Android) or play on the website.
What do you think are crucial life skills for a tween?