Friday, September 01, 2006

The Sims and real life lessons

I'm a big believer in chasing my kids away from the TV and computer and forcing them to go play outside. In fact, all summer long, on their "to-do" list, I have had to put PLAY OUTSIDE on the list in order for them to remember to breathe fresh air for a few minutes a day.


If they simply MUST play computer games, I am at least thankful that my kids have fallen madly in love with The Sims.


They are learning real-life grown-up stuff that normally would baffle their elementary brains.

For instance...

Last weekend, the husband and I spent time (and money) ripping out old, ugly shrubs and planting fresh, new landscaping.
Elder Son remarked, "If this was The Sims, you could've just clicked on the bushes and *poof*, they'd be gone!"

Uh huh. That helps.

But then, he went on, "Uh, but you'd still have to pay for new plants on The Sims. Hey! You know what you should do? You should plan out how many plants and what kind you're going to put in and see how much it's gonna cost!"
Brilliant, son!
I told him that we already did that. In fact, we paid a professional to come and map out a whole blue print for us, which I then showed to Elder Son.
"Okay, so you've got ten plants. And that would be..." and he did some math in his head and spit out a dollar figure that was remarkably on target. "Plus, you gotta add the other stuff like the chainsaw you had to rent, and the lady who made the plans..."

Eleven years old.
And he's budgeting our landscaping project.

And then...

This morning, the city assessor came by for our five-year reassessment.
The reason behind the visit baffled Younger Son.

"Are we moving?" he asked. "Why do you wanna know how much our house is worth?"

Ever try explaining the concept of property taxes to a 9-year-old?

I try.
"The city wants to know how much our house is worth, because the more our house is worth, the more the city makes us pay in taxes that go toward services like the fire department and police and the library."

Blank stare.

"It's like The Sims!" volunteers Elder Son. "The more stuff you have and the bigger your house is, the higher your bills are!"
And Younger Son starts to knod. "Oh! But, sometimes that's a LOT of money!"

Yes dear, yes it is.

And they've also discovered that the children in their Sim families need to study for school and make it to the bus on time or else they'll be shipped off to military school and never seen again. (Bah-ha-ha!)


Rave said...

Hey- a lesson is a lesson, no matter how they learn it!

Tink said...

I gotta get that computer game. Military school Huh?