Playing Battlefield 1942

Some people may think it’s odd to play a war game with their kids. A 10-year old game. With Nazis.

Other people would think I’m delusional for thinking it’s educational. But you know what? It is. They’re learning all about the two sides in WWII, which countries were on those sides (The Boy was sure it was a mistake that the Russians were on the Allies), and the names of dozens of the important battles. In fact, they get a general idea of what the battles were like — they know which were at sea, which were in sand, and which countries were fighting there. They get an idea of the technology level at the time, such as what sorts of weapons, planes, ships, and tanks each side had.

The Girl declared the Axis machine guns “dorky”. I told her, yes, they were “dorky” and in fact, their sideways design made them get jammed much more often than the Allies’ guns, which may or may not have been an important factor in the war.

The kids are learning how hard it is to live if you are the person manning the machine gun on top of the tank or the ball turret gunner. (If they were older, I might read them The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner.)

Yesterday, they decided to make a role playing game out of WWII in the backyard.

Here, the leaders are making their battle plans in the shade of a canopy.

The medic and the engineer. She declared she could be in battle because she was just like Clara Barton.

(They take in information from games, shows, books, and museums and synthesize them together and make really amazing statements and ask really interesting questions!)

In the lower left, the first Ally spawn point. The troops are running to the upper right in order to capture the next spawn point.

Claiming the base for the Allies.

I think the red thing is an anti-tank mine.

Running to the third base.

After this they overturned the wheelbarrow, which was sometimes a tank and sometimes a bomber.

I’m not quite sure which side was using a morning star, but that’s the side The Baby is on.

Update (6/18/2012):  Because I am submitting this to the Carnival of Homeschooling, I’ll add that clearly not all children react well to games like Battlefield 1942, which does have some older-kid sort of content. If you disagree with it, or your kids are sensitive to that sort of thing, naturally don’t play this sort of game with them. I just wanted to give an example of education in video games, or education in unexpected places.

Also, it was interesting to watch the third Indiana Jones movie (the Last Crusade) see all the tanks, planes, and other technology that the kids learned about from Battlefield 1942.

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