Let’s play a game! At that remark, kids will jump up and down. Let’s play an educational game! At that, kids will look at you sideways as if you were trying to trick them. Here are some educational online games that are actually fun, and will have kids thinking they are playing “real” games – which they are. (Hopefully, they will even be jumping up and down.)
My Pop Studio
My Pop Studio is an online game that is relevant for elementary and early middle school-aged children. This is a good site that can allow students to practice a writing skill called voice. Grammar Girl explains voice as, “the distinct personality, style or point of view of a piece of writing or any other creative work”.
The point of this game is to design your own rock star. From style of dress and hair to genre of music, the choice is yours. You must choose a message, a motto of sorts, for the musician. “I’m independent, and I’m the best” is a somewhat conceited example. Toward the end of the game, children choose lyrics (from a bank) to go with their music. The trick is to choose proper lyrics that match the musician’s style and motto. This is the lesson in voice. The amazing thing is that the lesson is not related to a writing assignment, but works on a very difficult writing skill.
Another difficult skill for kids is properly using the entire writing process. Kids like to just start writing off the tops of their heads with no regard to prewriting, editing or revising. Comic Creator is a fun way to show how important the writing process is. This can be used with children in grades K-8 (or even in high school).
From ReadWriteThink comes Comic Creator. Children need no artistic ability to complete this task, as they get much guidance as they progress through it. They make a comic strip by going through the entire creative process: they learn comic-related nomenclature, see a correctly-completed strip, complete a planning sheet, and drag and drop pictures into the comic strip frames. They can go back and revise and use their new vocabulary to make their creations better.
PBS Kids Games
PBS Kids has a web page with different types of games. There are games with themes such as dogs, dinosaurs, colors, puzzles, letters, vocabulary, music, and healthy eating. Within each game type are numerous games that kids can play. Each game highlights a different character that kids might be familiar with if they watch PBS Kids on television. With so many different categories and games, kids could spend hours on this site. (However, they may need to go outside and play from time to time!)
The Official Site of the Nobel Prize
What about the older kids? So far we have only seen things for the young ones. But we can’t leave out the big guys. Because of the complexity of topics, this site is geared more towards high school and advanced older middle school students.
The Nobel Prize site’s educational portion has a number of games and simulations that will grab the interest of many different types of learners. The site claims, “you don’t have to be a genius to understand the work of the Nobel Laureates. These games and simulations, based on Nobel Prize-awarded achievements, will teach and inspire you while you’re having FUN!”
Games are on topics such as blood typing, DNA, the immune system, the cell cycle, Pavlov’s experiments with dogs, electrodiagrams, transistors, diabetic dogs, the split brain, and the Lord of the Flies. There is also information about Alfred Nobel, information about the prize itself and videos.
These are just a handful of sites with educational games for children of all ages. Many more are on the Internet and it takes only a simple search to find them. The difficult part is to find high quality sites. Some of the “educational” sites on the web are not very well produced. However, you can be sure to know that the aforementioned sites are.