Pokemon cards are many children’s first stewardship. Children cherish those little 2 ½ by 3 ½ inch playing cards so dearly that even the slightest tear or bend can justify a trip to the card store for a fresh new deck.
Consider the writer of this article who once spent a whopping $30 on a Yu-Gi-Oh playing card as a young one. It’s even rumoured that a single Pokemon card has sold for over $220,000.
Regardless of your personal stance, there’s no denying the cultural impact of Pokemon since the 1990s. And with the rise of Pokemon Go since 2016, many parents are wondering:
Can it be true? Pokemon actually teaches important lessons? The answer is yes. It can teach important lessons. Let’s explore four specific ways it does so:
1. Pokemon Go encourages children to get outside
If a parent was forced to choose between their child lounging on a chair for two hours to play Xbox or go outside for two hours chasing virtual Pokemon, we imagine most would choose the latter. The endless chase for Pokemon challenges gets children of all ages (and, in many cases, adults) moving their muscles in search of a win.
2. Pokemon card games encourage critical thinking
Confession: we had a swath of Pokemon cards growing up and never actually learned how to play the game because of how complex we perceived it to be. If you’re going to allow your child to collect the cards, it’s worth challenging them to do what we never did and actually learn the critical thinking skills to play the game. Learning to deal with complex situations, even in a gamified scenario, is a valuable life skill.
3. For avid fans, Pokemon provides a chance at camaraderie with others
This is the network effect at play. Around 60,000 people attended the Pokemon Go Fest event held in Chicago in 2019. 60,000. Want to give your child the opportunity to connect with new friends? Have them play Pokemon Go.
4. Pokemon fosters imagination
Children literally dream about playing Pokemon in real life. They like to imagine a life-size Charizard towering over them while they play…
Or walking up to Professor Oak to choose their own real life Squirtle (yes, Squirtle is the way to go).
For the better part of the last 20 years, Pokemon cards and video games have had children daydreaming for hours a day (given… we can’t let the game control their lives entirely). The point is, Pokemon gets children to use their imagination. And that by itself is an impressive feat.
Now, before we conclude, a question many parents wonder about:
“At what age should I let my child play Pokemon?”
When the game first came out, it was advertised for children ages 10+. Today, packages claim to be for children ages 6+. The decision is yours to make, but this surprising insight might help you know when the time is right:
Trove Maren of Mama In The Now says “Much to my surprise, I found that the game requires strategy, discipline, memory and math – A LOT of math!”
So perhaps the time to let them play is the time you want them to develop more complex mathematical skills? As a matter of fact, take the benefits we’ve listed here:
- Time outside
- Critical thinking
- Connection with others
- A growing imagination
- Math skills (who knew?)
When you’re at the point where you need to get creative in how you help your child develop these skills, consider Pokemon as a timely resource.
Pokemon can teach important life lessons
As with all things in life though, moderation is important. Too much of any good thing can spoil the good in it. But when used to get outside, think critically, engage with others and strengthen the imagination, Pokemon can benefit your little children and your older children.
And who knows… maybe you’ll get into it, too.