Online games are a great way to help your preschooler master basic skills, and keep him busy on rainy afternoons. What's great is that they generally are free, and feature his favorite television characters, so practicing basic skills becomes fun rather than a chore.
Nine Great Sites for Preschool Games
These nine sites provide great opportunities for kids to learn and enjoy being online. All of these sites cover basic skills, but they are meant to complement and inspire off-screen activities and creativity.
Sprout is the popular 24-hour preschool television channel that kids love and parents trust. The sprout website offers games featuring some of the most beloved characters of all time including Barney, Bob the Builder, Caillou, Angelina Ballerina, Thomas the Tank Engine, and more.
- Thomas Memory Match - Choose the level of difficulty, and have fun matching favorite characters.
- The Wiggles' Vegetable Soup Game - Kids move a stock pot back and forth to catch vegetables being thrown by an octopus. It's a fun way to make a pot of vegetable soup, and work on fine motor skills.
- Caillou Follow the Stars - Children need to watch brightly-colored stars blink and play musical patterns, and then they have to play back the pattern.
- Bob the Builder's Tool Shed: Kids learn about keeping tidy and sorting shapes as they help Bob put his tools away.
Nick Jr. lets kids play games with the Nick Jr. gang, including Dora, Diego, Blue, The Backyardigans, Lazy Town, and more:
- Diego's Dinosaur Adventure - Help Diego with a variety of dinosaur games, including collecting bones in a field journal!
- Dora's Carnival Adventure - Explore the carnival with Dora and her friends, winning tickets to claim fun prizes.
- Wonder Pets Save the Day - Is there any animal that the Wonder Pets can't save? Join them on their adventure to save a penguin, dolphin or pigeon.
- Blue's Matching Game - The classic memory card game with Blue, Joe, and friends.
Sesame Street is a classic that has provided extraordinary learning opportunities for generations of kids. On the Sesame Street website, there are loads of free preschool games, organized by learning concepts. Choose from games that involve letters, numbers, shapes, sorting, and other basic skills.
Building Blocks for a Healthy Future
In addition to providing resources for educating early childhood caregivers and preschool parents about substance abuse prevention, Building Blocks for a Healthy Future also includes free preschool games. Choose from Boogie Band Studio, (a Simon Says type game), The Great Weather Race board game, Favorite Snacks Memory Game, and more.
PBSkids.org and the PBS station are synonymous with quality children's programming. Preschoolers will love practicing basic skills such as counting, shapes, colors, numbers, and letters, with the help of popular PBS characters like The Cat in the Hat, Elmo, Curious George, and Arthur.
Crayola provides a variety of products for creativity, so why should their website be any different? In the Crayloa Kids Playzone, games are centered on color and creativity, two of the trademarks of Crayola. Kids can choose to become the star of their coloring story or turn their photos into coloring pages. They can also foster their creativity by building a snowman, painting an Easter egg, or creating a fireworks display.
Funschool offers many games for a variety of age levels, including preschoolers. From puzzle games, to connect the dots, to the Imagination Station that features creative games, there is no shortage of fun activities for your preschooler.
Fisher Price, the toy manufacturer giant, knows a thing or two about learning toys for young children, and this is reflected on their website as well. The large variety of free preschool online games includes counting, coloring and puzzle games. In addition, you'll find games that are based on their product lines, such as Rescue Heroes and Sweet Streets.
The main Disney site has games for kids of all ages, but their Disney Junior section includes games specific to their preschool programming. Kids can choose games by character, and play any number of games associated with that character including memory, matching, dress up, coloring, and action games. Little Einsteins, Chuggington, Rolie Polie Olie, Winnie the Pooh, Doodlebops, Charlie and Lola, and a number of other shows are all represented.
Set Limits and Have Fun
Online games can be so much fun for preschoolers, but be aware that getting them to stop can be a challenge! Set up time limits for computer play, using a timer to help your preschooler understand when time is up. Give helpful countdown reminders to let him know how much time is remaining, so he can prepare to finish a game. With limited exposure to online games, you'll find your child is exploring and learning in a unique way.