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Keep Kids Learning During Winter Break

(NewsUSA) – Are you a parent dreading the anguished cries of “I’m bored!” from your kids during the long winter break? Are you a teacher concerned that your students will forget most of the skills you spent the last few months teaching them?

This winter, do something to stem the knowledge loss.

If you’re a parent, when you’re done visiting the museum, going down the sled hill or baking holiday goodies, try out something new with your kids this winter — design a video game with them. If you’re a teacher, make it a holiday assignment.

That’s right. Not just play another video game — design and develop one.

Developing video games is a great way to keep your kids learning over the holidays and when indoors during the cold winter months — in a way that is fun and appealing to them. Video game design has been proven to help advance kids’ critical science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills, and it also teaches them invaluable 21st-century skills like problem solving and critical thinking. And, it’s a great way to spend quality time with your kids to help them learn.

So now that you’re bought into the idea, how do you get started? Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) offers two options:

* Find your local Boys & Girls Clubs. Many of the 4,000 Clubs across the country offer the Club Tech program, which promotes technology literacy and access. And select Clubs also offer Club Tech: Game Tech through a partnership with the AMD Foundation and its AMD Changing the Game initiative. This program is specifically designed to teach video game development.

* Visit BGCA’s youth website MyClubMyLife.com to download information that is appropriate for all ages. Navigate to Game Tech under the ARTS & TECH section for a copy of the course guide, which will direct you on how to implement Game Tech at home.

Game Tech has a bonus learning component in that it challenges kids to create a game with a social component. That is, the games teach the players about solving a real-world problem, such as saving energy, or reducing poverty, or helping the environment. So not only are your kids learning STEM skills, they’re become better citizens in the process.

Best of all, when kids design video games, most of the time they don’t even realize they’re learning. So that means they’ll keep doing it. And keep learning.

For more information about technology programs offered by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, visit www.bgca.org. You can use the “Find a Club” feature to locate your local Club. For more details about AMD Changing the Game, visit www.amd.com/changingthegame.

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