When searching for games online, parents frequently look for safe, entertaining and educational environments for their children. These online games allow kids to enjoy the Internet without running the risk of accessing inappropriate content or encountering online predators. While all of the games are entertaining, many have the added benefit of building confidence in kids' computer skills or reinforcing academic material.
Educational and Learning Games
Websites from popular children's television channels, such as Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel and PBS, offer entertaining and educational games designed.to help children master basic concepts and skills as they interact with some of their favorite characters.
Children can choose pictures of their favorite TV heroes and heroines, and play games associated with characters like Dora the Explorer, Blue of Blue's Clues, Backyardigans, LazyTown's superheroes, Max and Ruby, and many others. Game play is simple and teaches basic reasoning skills, as well as concepts like colors and counting. In addition, the quality of the graphics and animation is excellent.
The Disney Junior home page contains games featuring characters from their shows, such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins and Handy Manny. Game play offers children opportunities for problem solving and learning basic concepts such as colors, numbers, and letters.
These games feature popular characters from PBS shows, including . Clifford, Sesame Street, Curious George and Dinosaur Train. Kids can learn letter recognition, early phonics skills, animals, manners and working with others, pattern recognition, and early math skills from many of these games.
Lego Online Games
Lego.com offers mazes, coloring pages, racing games, puzzles, bingo, matching, and a variety of Lego village games such as Legoville Family Helper, Weather Chart, and Fire Station.
Upper Elementary Games
Games on Nick.com feature variations on popular arcade games, skill games and strategy games featuring some of the network's popular shows for children and pre-teens. Children may also interact in virtual worlds and create a profile on the site to save their progress.
The Discovery Kids site offers a nice array of games. This site is one of the few that features distinctively "girl" games for school-aged girls. In addition, this site includes challenging puzzles and action games. Some of the game links take users to approved partner sites, which parents should monitor even though Disney has pre-approved them.
The FunBrain games site from Pearson Education Inc. has a variety of math, reading, and arcade games to choose from. There is a variety of skill levels and directions are clearly displayed for the games.
Learning Planet Interactive Games
Learning Planet games range from preschool to sixth grade games. Counting games, word searches, strategy games, and more are available. You can search by grade level, subject, or category.
For some wholesome healthy fun that teaches kids about the power of eating right and being fit, check out Kids Health.org .
Just Plain Fun Game Sites
There are a variety of other sites with games suitable for kids of various ages. These include:
- Gamequarium.com (designed for educators, but useful at home)
- CBeebies (from the British Broadcasting Company)
- Yahoo! Kids! (Yahoo's kids' site that includes games)
Supervising Online Games
There are plenty of things on the Internet today that kids should never see. Letting your kids play online can be a great learning and activity resource, but protecting your children from inappropriate content is a big concern. Very young children should be close by when playing games online, and parents should check on older children periodically to ensure safety. You may also want to put the computer in a public place like the living room.