The Best Educational Games For Children
When keeping your kids entertained, it's nice to know they are learning something at the same time. With educational games, your child can have fun playing with you or with their friends and increase their knowledge, without even realizing it. In theory, it should be easy to find education games for children; there are hundreds at just about every toy store. But in reality, it can be difficult to figure out which games actually offer realistic scholastic value.
To make the process simpler, read on for a simple guide to choosing the best educational games for your little ones.
What Kind Of Educational Games Are Available?
Before you go out shopping for educational games, think about the type of game (or games) you want to get for your kids. There are so many options for parents today, including:
- Board Games: These are perhaps the most classic game option. Many parents enjoy buying board games for their children that they enjoyed as children themselves. One of the most popular educational board games is Sequence for Kids, a game that enhances kids’ memory, visual and matching skills.
- Computer Games: Most parents limit computer time for their kids, so letting them have a little extra time to play a game—even if it’s educational—can be exciting. One of the all-time best educational computer games is the Carmen Sandiego series. Kids learn all about geography, history, problem-solving and math in these fun games.
- Video Games: Not all video games are mind-numbing and time-wasting. In fact, video games are more interactive and educational than ever before, as long as you choose the right ones. Older kids will love Civilization Revolution for Xbox 360, while younger ones can get into Scribblenauts for Nintendo DS.
- Apps: These days, a smart phone or a tablet can be a great resource for parents who need to entertain the kids. Fill up your device with educational games like Pictureka! that teach them skills like finding, matching and comparing objects.
What Games Are Best For My Kids?
- Age: You may have loved Chutes and Ladders as a child, but if your kid is past the age of 5, they’ll probably find this game a bit boring. If you want your kids to learn, make sure you give them something that challenges them but that won’t be beyond their comprehension. For older kids, try Wit’s End Junior, which has separate question sets for ages 8 to 10 and 11 to 12.
- Reading Level: Many educational games require a certain reading level. This can make it harder to judge which games are best for your kids. For example, Scrabble Junior is advertised for ages 5 and up. But keep in mind that a kid who struggles with reading may need to wait till age 6 or 7 to really enjoy (and learn from) this type of game.
- Play Habits: Does your child like to work alone? Then a single player app game like Cut the Rope may be a great option for them. Meanwhile, more social kids will love a group game like Blokus.
- Subject Areas: Consider which skills your child needs to improve upon and choose your games accordingly. Little ones who need help with reading and writing skills will learn much from the Super Why app, for example.
- Other Benefits: In most instances, parents desire educational games that help with reading, counting and math skills. However, keep in mind all the other ways that a game can help educate your child. For example, Battleship is a classic game that focuses on strategy, persistence and fair play in addition to math. Another example is Rock Band for the Wii, which the whole family can enjoy together while improving music comprehension and hand-eye coordination.
As always, parents know best when it comes to what their kids can learn from. However, if you need some help in choosing a game, consider asking your child’s teacher for suggestions. They may have helpful advice to offer in regards to the best games for a certain grade level or to help with the academic areas in which your child could improve.