Parents tend to worry about the kind of media their children are exposed to – that’s why it can be difficult finding educational games your child will actually enjoy. For the most part, children are far more interested in the mindless repetition of games like Angry Birds, or games with lots of explosions and on-screen action, rather than anything “educational”.
For that reason, we’ve hunted through all of the available child-friendly apps with educational value, and paid particular attention to the reviews from other users – it’s not enough for a game to have educational value, it must actually engage your child and keep their interest for the educational elements to have any effect. Thus, all of the games on this list were highly reviewed and recommended, not only for their educational value, but their fun gameplay as well.
One thing that is important for us as parents to remember, is that not all games must have an immediately recognizable element of learning. That is to say, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to only games that deal in math, spelling, or science – video games of all kinds can certainly enhance a child’s motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Sometimes we need to think outside of the box. But that doesn’t mean we’ll be recommending Grand Theft Auto on this list, it’s just something to bear in mind.
The list has been separated into categories of platform
- Browser / Web games that can be played on the computer
- Android games for Android phones / tablets
- iOS games for iPads / iPhones.
All of the apps presented are suitable for ages 6 – 12, though older children and even adults may enjoy some of the titles we’ve put together.
Why Introduce Your Children to Brain Games
…when digital games were compared to other instruction conditions without digital games, there was a moderate to strong effect in favor of digital games in terms of broad cognitive competencies. (Source: SRI Education | GlassLab Research)
47% of struggling students benefited from educational video games in a study held by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center (Source: GamesandLearning.org | “Teachers on Using Games in Class”)
…schools that were active and highly active on Prodigy saw a 3.0% and 11.6% improvement on grade 3 EQAO scores… (Source: ProdigyGame.com | Can Game Based Learning Increase EQAO Math Scores?)
…game-based learning may be effective in improving short-term retention, leading to higher scores in post-tests administered shortly after the game. (Source: IAFOR | The Effect of Game-Based Learning on Science 10 Test Scores)
Browser / Web Games
Hackers vs Robots
This is an action-packed typing game, which will certainly improve your child’s hand-eye coordination and typing speed. In Hackers vs Robots, enemy robots will approach the screen, and your child must type words as quickly as possible. Completing words will launch missiles at the robots, which is quite satisfying, especially as the 3D graphics are quite good for a browser game.
Uno is a classic card game that will teach children how to strategize and adapt to new situations. If you’re not familiar with Uno, its basically a 4-player card game. Each player starts with a random assortment of cards, and must take turns adding to the pile, until one player has gotten rid of all their cards. There are surprise elements, such as cards that will skip the person next to you, force another player to draw cards from the pile, or reverse the order of players.
Dory’s Memory Game
Dory’s Memory Game is a pair-matching game, where your child can click the bubbles to reveal character’s from Disney’s Finding Dory. Pair-matching games such as this will improve your child’s concentration, short-term memory, and quick-thinking abilities.
Math vs Zombies
Math doesn’t have to be boring (unless your child actually enjoys math) – Math vs Zombies is a fun action-adventure game where your child can solve math problems to fend off swarming zombies. The game levels cover basic math categories such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Tynker is an excellent app / game for introducing your child to the wonderful world of programming. It has won multiple awards, such as Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and Academics’ Choice Award. Your child will learn step-by-step coding tutorials in an easy, child-friendly way, solving puzzles and minigames to help them remember the lessons. The app includes over 50+ templates for your child to apply their new knowledge to creating their own games. It is literally the perfect app for any child who has ever said “I want to make my own games!”.
Science Experiment Fun
This is a fun science-experiment simulator, where your child can learn about different chemistry and physics experiments using house-hold items (on the screen, of course). It’s all the fun of mixing vinegar and baking soda, without any of the mess to clean up. It’s a great learning tool for introducing your child to easy and advanced science experiments.
This fun game is set in the style of the tower defence genre – waves of enemies will try to swarm your castle, but instead of building defences to kill the enemies, your child must solve math problems. There’s 3 modes of difficulty, so your child can either practice their mathematics in a relaxed way, or try to solve equations as quickly as possible to prevent their castle from being overrun.
Write to Read
An excellent app for creating story books and encouraging your child’s reading and writing abilities. They can create stories entirely from scratch, and even use photographs from the phone, or pictures from the app, to put together their story. Your child can even verbally dictate their story instead of writing it, to create a read-aloud story they will love sharing with you. The interface is very intuitive and easy to use for your child, and they’ll be creating their own fairy-tales and adventure stories in no time at all.
Find the Synonym
An excellent game for improving your child’s vocabulary, Find the Synonym is fairly self-explanatory from the title. Your child is shown a word, and they must find a synonym for that word – the twist here is that it’s slightly like Scrabble, where your child does not choose from a list of available words and must pick the correct synonym, but rather they must spell out the word from the Scrabble tiles. Thus, its a perfect game for an older child in the 9 to 12 age range who wants to expand their vocabulary.
CREDIT: Super-Guide to Educational Games