Surprisingly, there are many Web sites offering free educational games online. This is an ideal way to combine fun and learning, especially on rainy days. Remember, children should always be supervised online, even when using a kids' site.
Zoodles is a colorful, well-organized Web site offering a host of fun, educational activities for children. Games and activities are divided by grade level and by topic for ease of navigation. Subjects offered include math, health, reading, science, and music. Best of all, the games are free. Some of the free educational games are:
- Rhyme Time (Preschool)
- French Opposites (Kindergarten)
- Spanish Opposites (1st grade)
- Pattern Games (2nd grade)
- Anagram Sleuth (3rd and 4th grade)
- Space Watch (5th and 6th grade)
The site does feature a large number of animated ads. Each time you click on a new game, an ad pops up. The ads are family friendly, but they are annoying. Remember that the games are free, so the site is supported by ad revenue. Besides, each ad offers the choice, "Skip this ad."
The Kidz Page
The Kidz Page offers a variety of free educational games online, including:
- Spot the Difference
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Peg Logic
- Solingo Word Game
- Jumble Words
Like most free sites, The Kidz Page features many ads. However, most of them are unobtrusive. The main drawback of this site lies in its organization. Games are only divided by topic: word games, brain games, puzzle games, memory games, and board games. Division by grade level or age would have made the site more accessible. Still, the site is free and the games are fun and educational.
The Problem Site
The Problem Site is an educational Web site in a subdued, almost sophisticated interface. The calming, light blue appearance might not appeal to young children, but that doesn't appear to be the intended audience anyway. The Problem Site features math games, puzzles, word games, codes, and riddles, including:
- The Treasure Hunt
- Fraction Concentration
- Side by Side Math Puzzle
- Quote Puzzler
- My Secret Word
- Trio Match
Games are not organized by age or grade level on this site. However, most games seem to be geared towards older children, preteens, and tweens, so that should not present a problem. With the possible exception of Tic-Tac-Toe, this site does not offer games for preschoolers or young elementary aged kids.
Gamequarium is an Internet portal with links to hundreds of free educational games online. Games are organized by grade level (Pre-K to 6) for easy access. A few of the featured games are:
- Phonics Hangman
- Harry Potter Spell Catcher
- Money Portraits
- Dora Games
- Brain Builders
- Sight Word Games
In addition to the games, Gamequarium also offers a reference section for kids, featuring atlases, dictionaries, thesauri, biographies, and much more.
In keeping with its aquarium theme, Gamequarium has a water backdrop. That, and the animated, scrolling marquee can be mildly disorienting.