Animal Crossing New Horizons: Why it is great for kids (and adults)

Animal Crossing New Horizons, the super friendly looking “life simulator” game on the switch was released on 20th March, three days before Lockdown began in the UK. The super friendly life sim was released at the perfect time, and as a result has become bigger than big. Popular with adults and kids alike. (An audio version of this is available as a podcast – scroll down to find it)

Have you stumbled into the world of Animal Crossing New Horizons, or have you seen your kid stumble into that world?

Here are a few reasons why playing Animal Crossing New Horizons is a good good thing…

The tasks are kinda easy, and that’s ok. Where some games involve running along platforms, jumping on enemy mushrooms, and collecting coins, this game involves wondering around your island, shaking trees.

I mean there is other stuff involved, like chipping away at rocks, catching butterflies and stuff. It’s all there to help the island you are on, and its community get around and get on.

Be Kind. Well in this case being kind looks like stopping and talking to your neighbours, saying nice things, giving presents. Being kind seems to be a theme that runs through Animal Crossing, and actually kind as well… not kind in a… “I wont run them over” kinda way.

Budgeting. Ok this might be appealing to the support worker in me, and the then 7 year once convinced me that playing Mario Odyssey helped her maths, but bear with me…  In order to upgrade your accommodation, you need money, money is earnt by performing tasks.

Money can also be spent on equipment to go around your island. So how do you want to spend your money? On a new toy, or an upgrade to your house?

Emotions. Straight forward enough in theory. Basically there’s an entire section when you select an emotion which you want to show, and then your character shows that emotion. Sounds simple. But could be a helpful tool if you need to talk about what emotions looks like.

Hang with friends. We’re not the only ones missing a trip to the pub, or at least metaphorically speaking. My point is, if we’re missing in person contact with other people, the kids are probably missing it as well. Your island has an airport, and yes, you can use it to visit friends who also have animal crossing.  This allows a virtual play date on each others island, without the assorted challenges of making sure another child is happy and entertained over a long period of time. 

Important note – There is an option to allow anyone to come and visit your island, if kids are playing, this is probably a good time to discuss only letting people you know come to your island.

Open World design. Do you, or your child have a grand imagination? Well there is an open world design approach to how your island can look. Want extra rivers, or water falls? You can make it. Choose where you want extra houses to go. Want a money tree? Plant it. Want a tree dug up? Dig it. Etc. etc.

Basically let imaginations fly in a kind gentle game, that is almost made to help us all survive whatever is going on in the world at the moment.

Do you have any that you would add to the above?

Please let me know below.

Find Animal Crossing New Horizons on Amazon (Affiliate link)

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