Monday, 3 Oct 2016 | 5 min read
15 Best Online Educational Games for Kids
Games are a wonderful, effective way to engage children’s brains and support them in developing new skills and learning about the world – without the sense that they are doing homework. There are thousands of free children’s games online that support learning, memory, or some form of cognitive development, so where should you start? Here, we list 15 of the best online educational games for children.
1. Switch Zoo
Switch Zoo is a mix-and-match style game that lets kids swap and mix the heads, legs, and tails of 142 different animals. The game invites learning by featuring animal profiles and fast facts, and with its build-a-biome and online habitat tools. Kids can feed the animals, find out about where animal habitats are in the world, and match animals sounds with animals.
Doodly is a simple but fun-filled social-sketching tool that brings out creativity in children. You can start a drawing with a single quick click and access drawing tools such as pencils, crayons, and pens in a variety of colours. Once you are done, you can publish to the site and share them on Facebook or Twitter. For tablet-savvy kids, Doodly is also available as an app.
3. Spree Games
Spree Games is an outstanding collection of links to hundreds of learning games rather than a single game. The games are categorised by subject matter, ranging from art, environment, and health; to music, chemistry, and maths. You can also find learning games by age or learning level.
This is another collection of educational games suitable for older children. Most of the games emphasise English, spelling and grammar, and older children can enjoy playing games such as Word Wrangling, Verb Machine, and Wordshake as they learn.
While the Lego website is essentially a store, the games section features dozens of games sorted by categories such as action, preschool, adventure, strategy, and creative. Kids can have hours of fun with games like Art Maker, which lets you paint and sketch your own artwork. There are also action games like the Star Wars-themed Empire vs Rebels, or strategy and building games like Bits and Bricks. All the games feature Lego pieces in some manner.
Poptropica is a multiplayer online role-playing game set in a complete virtual world for kids. Kids will be challenged to travel to different islands to complete quests, play games, and read comics. They can chat with other players and earn credits that they can spend on customs and other virtual goods.
Developed by Scholastic, Magic School Bus is a game that excites children’s imaginations by letting them choose their own field trips. With Ms Frizzle on the Magic School Bus, they then set off to explore and learn about places like the deep sea, the human body, space, the rainforest, and other educational destinations.
This multiplayer online role-playing game invites children to explore a virtual winter world, which features smaller games. Children can play to earn coins that can then be spent in the virtual store. The site offers regular updates, free membership, and everything Club Penguin!
The Disney website is constantly being updated with new games for kids. While there can be some merchandising emphasis to these games, kids will probably love exploring and playing in the world of their favourite characters such as Princess Elsa and Honour (Frozen), Dory, the BFG, and old favourites such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
10. NASA Kid’s Club
The US space agency NASA’s Kid’s Club is a special section of their website dedicated to educational games that draw upon real mission and astronomical information. The games are designed to allow kids to explore the solar system and space. Games include JunoQuest, Roving on Mars, and Jumbled Jets. There are also fun games that let kids paint rockets and learn about the International Space Station and its crew.
This simple yet fully featured site has many mini-games and tools to help younger readers master the basics of reading, phonics, and maths. There are reading games featuring characters such as Peg the Hen and Zac the Rat, as well as song games and maths games.
Neopets is a virtual pet community where kids can create their own pets and take care of them, all in the virtual world of Neopia. Each user can have up to four pets and you can earn Neopoints by playing different games, participating in contests, and trading. The virtual currency can then be used to buy toys, food, clothing, and accessories for pets.
13. Sesame Street
Sesame Street features dozens of games such as Dorothy’s Fish Bowl and Duck Art Canvas that support curiosity and interactivity in young kids. Kids will also love games like Ernie’s Dinosaur Day Care, in which they can learn about different animals, their habitats, and their behaviours. Other games include Story Book Builder, which parents can play with kids to make virtual story books from scratch.
Tvokids has an extensive range of content separated into two categories – age 2 to 5, and 11 and under – that includes games. For example, the Get Growing game will engage little kids about the basics of planting and growing things, while the A Lotta Sports game covers different sports and gets kids interested in physical activities. In all, Tvokids offers hundreds of fun and educational games for children, and if your kids ever get bored of playing the games, there are thousands of educational videos to explore on the website.
15. PBS Kids
The broadcaster PBS is known for its great video content for kids, and its website offers numerous educational games that will engage kids’ curiosity to learn. There are dozens of measurement games in which they can learn about maths, as well as problem solving games that invite them to ask questions and work out solutions to hypothetical problems.
Although online games for children may not appeal to all parents, there are certainly a range of games available online that children can benefit and learn from. Of course children should only spend moderate amounts of time in front of computers and tablets, but encouraging them to play educational games such as those listed above is a beneficial use of this time.
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