The world of online gaming has honestly gotten a bad rap. From the craze of Fortnite and it’s impact on younger kids to debates about the safety of chat features on Roblox, there are undoubtedly some areas of the virtual world that are a little unsettling. But does that mean it’s all bad? Fortunately, no. There are many online games for kids that are safe, fun, and even educational!
If your child is already online and you’re looking for something positive to introduce him/her to, or if you’re exploring this world for the first time, here are a few games categories and suggestions to pique interest.
If your child is interested in nature, then finding games that (unconsciously) share about the natural world can not only entertain them, but help them to learn, too! For example, Animal Jam is a great game that investigates flora and fauna in a way that is both mentally engaging as well as fun. Games like this blend creativity, imagination, and learning seamlessly to help your child develop a stronger understanding of the ecosystem, environment, animals, and the human’s role. Some games even teach about sustainability and how to protect the world around us—very relevant to today!
A great category of online games for kids is word games—these are excellent in improving literacy skills, vocabulary, spelling, and the ability to both recognize and construct new words. Games like Wordscape and Words with Friends are great examples of these. They can be tough for beginners, however, so using a word unscrambler can help give your child a little support, especially in the beginning. A word scrambler (and practice with it) can supply answers, sure, but more importantly, it helps with letter recognition, decoding, and problem-solving.
Making math fun is actually pretty easy with the right game(s)! For example, games from the developer, Dragonbox, are extremely popular for doing just that for different ages—starting with the basics of numbers and moving up to algebra games. This company even has games that cover the basics of chemistry such as elements, and chess for children who are more analytically-minded and looking for a new level of challenge and mental engagement.
Math games can help students to see problems in different ways and broaden their understanding of, and engagement with, mathematics in general.
Social Studies/History Games
Engaging your child in the world around him or her is important! And especially when it’s challenging to physically travel to different spaces, online games provide a window into different lifestyles, cultures, and traditions, that would otherwise be impossible! Games that are social studies or history-based can help children grasp geography and locations of other countries. GeoGuessr is one example, but Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego, is another game that combines the geographical skills and visuals with a more modern approach. In this game, the player investigates new places and unravels mysteries while chasing the famous world traveler, Carmen!
Gaming, like any hobby, can be explored in healthy and purposeful ways. As long as parents find the right games, provide safe and meaningful experiences, and find (sneaky!) ways to combine learning and fun, then playing online games can be an excellent way to supplement your child’s learning!