How to Teach Kids to Create Video Games

How to Teach Kids to Create Video Games

Fun Fact: Playing video games enables you to make quick and accurate decisions.

Do you have a gaming enthusiast kid who can barely go a day without the console or a gaming device? If so, that could be an opportunity to turn your little one into a top-class game developer.

It’s fascinating how developers create games that are so addictive and appealing to their audiences. But why would you rely on them when you can help your game-obsessed child create their favorite game?

Curious to learn more? This post outlines a step-by-step process for creating video games plus some of the best tools for building kids’ games. So let’s get started, shall we?

The Essentials for Creating Kids’ Video Games


Draw a Plan


Before getting into the development process, you want to draw a solid plan touching various game elements.

For starters, you should clarify the game’s mission - what message, symbolism, theme, or motive will it convey to the gamer? Note: you want to shy away from adult themes, considering that it’s a kids’ game. Instead, aim at modest storylines and thrilling gameplay.

The next aspect of planning out is the outline. In particular, if you intend to create a story-centered game, the outline will be at the heart of everything. But if it’s a puzzle game, you can use the outline as a tool for adding features into the game.

The next stage is storyboarding. Visually representing the gameplay in flow charts and sequential images helps in mapping out and envisioning the project. Storyboarding is a critical planning stage because it breathes life into characters, personalities, and actions, paving the way for actual development.


Software


There are plenty of game development programs on the internet that you can consider depending on your game type. You can also leverage the freeware and a bunch of game engines that suit different game approaches. If you’re new to the game, we recommend referring to various top-quality documentation and tutorials on the best tools and engines for kids’ game development.

The Actual Video Game Development


Having set the ground and highlighted the prerequisites, let us now switch focus to the real development. We’ll cover three categories of games that children can develop using different tools. Let’s go!


Editing Existing Games


The best way to introduce your kid into the game development world is through editing existing games they’re already familiar with. We’ve sampled some of the best kid games that layout the video game design in its elementary stage. Here they are together with age recommendations:

  • Toca Builders (age 4+). If you want your child to enjoy the privilege of creating their unique fictional world, Toca Builders is the game to set the ambiance. It has a sandbox-style environment that younger kids can use as an inspiration for their creations.
  • Super Mario Maker (age 6+). Your kid can use this game as an inspiration for developing their own game by creating blocks, enemies, fictional items, among other features.
  • Minecraft (age 7+). If you’ve ever played Minecraft, you’ll notice that the game gives you the freedom to create and develop your preferred environment. Hence, kids can use it to create modified yet unique versions of their choice.

Making Simple Video Games


The internet has made everything that seemed like a fairy tale in the past possible today. There are tons of apps and programs that your kids can leverage to create their own games. And the best part? Most of them don’t require any coding skills. Here are a few:

  • Roblox. This is an online platform for creating video games and adds up as an excellent introduction to coding. It also lets kids share their creations and play each others’ games.
  • Gamestar Mechanic. This is an online platform enriched with game design and systems thinking guiding principles.
  • Codes. This is a code editor which you can install on iPads. It helps kids to come with simulations and game ideas.

Developing Video Games with more Advanced Tools


Does your kid have some bragging rights on coding, or has some primary mastery of the game design elements? If yes, then they could be ready to develop fancier games using more advanced tools. Here are a few applications they can use:


  • Game Maker by YoYo. It has complex elements and features such as the drag-and-drop visual programming language that kids can use to create cross-platform games.
  • Kodu by Microsoft. It has an easy-to-understand visual programming language that kids can leverage to create video games using their Xbox controller.
  • Tynker by MIT. It has excellent programming tutorials, quizzes, and videos to help kids with game design. Also, it includes numerous free games that kids can play and disassemble to figure out how they work, assisting them with their own creations.

Now that you’ve discovered the procedures and tools to help your kids develop their video games, what’s next? It’s time to turn this knowledge into action and turn your youngster into a grade-A game developer. What’s more, you can enroll your kid in a coding program for an opportunity to enhance their skills further. Now go create your first kid game!

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