Choosing the Right Educational Computer Games for Your Child

There are many excellent educational computer games on the market today, both online and in toy stores. Experts and parents have found some educational games especially fun and instructive:

  • Dora the Explorer – This computer game helps children learn geography skills while playing an adventure game. As players accompany Dora on adventures and try to help her solve problems and mysteries, they learn science concepts, math concepts, pattern recognition, language skills, and critical thinking skills. This series of games is usually aimed at younger children, generally at the Early Childhood Education level.
  • Kutoka Software: Mia’s Adventures. Titles like “Mia’s Science Adventure” and “Mia’s Math Adventure” allow children to follow the story of a little mouse named Mia. Computer players must help Mia solve problems using math and science skills. The titles are also available in French and the games are appropriate for children from preschool to eleven years old.
  • I see games. Scholastic has developed a line of “I Spy” games that allow kids to go on exciting adventures to find lost treasures. This series of games develops reading, problem-solving, and creativity skills by combining photos of familiar objects with word games and brain teasers.
  • Good start. Jump Start computer games allow players to solve puzzles and solve crimes “whodunit” style. As children play, they learn Science, History, Art, Geography, Vocabulary and more. Jump Start titles are arranged by grade, with different games available for kids at different grade levels.
  • Hodge Podge from Dynacomp. Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge is designed for children ages 18 months to seven years and older. It is a computer game that offers images, animations and audio clips every time a player presses a button on the screen. According to Dynacomp, the computer game develops vocabulary, reading, math, and memory skills. Many teachers and parents have praised Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge as an educational game that children really enjoy playing.
  • Rocky Boots from The Learning Company. This computer game allows players to learn computer logic by creating simple digital logic circuits and logic machines using the computer and Rocky, an animated raccoon. This computer game has won many awards and is appropriate for most school-age children.
  • Dino Park Tycoon. This game allows kids to set up and run businesses, learning business skills and math skills along the way. This game is intended for players ages 8 and up. Players set up a dinosaur theme park and must make it profitable by building the park, hiring employees, borrowing money, managing money, and buying and selling dinosaurs. Players can learn graphic skills, dinosaur facts, math skills, business management skills, economic concepts like supply and demand, entrepreneurship, money management, and much more as they try to make their theme park a success.
  • This list will suggest some computer game titles that you might like to try. In general, when shopping for educational titles, you’ll want to try the games before you buy them. Ideally, you’ll want to ask your kids for input on which games to pick. That way, your kids will be able to select games that they will really enjoy playing. You’ll also want to select games that will develop a variety of skills. You may want to purchase multiple titles that build various skill sets and also give your kids some variety.

    If you’re trying to improve a specific skill set, look for games that actually build a skill:

  • If your child is just learning to read, try: RocketReader Kids by RocketReader
  • To develop keyboard and mouse skills, try: Meavis Beacon Typing Tutor
  • To Build Memory Skills Try: Scholastic’s I Spy Games
  • To develop problem solving skills try: Putt putt games, Dinopark Tycoon, Sim City, RollerCoaster Tycoon and Spinnaker’s Snooper Troops.
  • For language and reading skills, try: Jump Start. For older kids, try Ghostwriter and Adventure Author.
  • To build math skills, try: Transition Math Grades K-1, Math Missions Grades K-2, Math Missions Grades 3-5: The Amazing Arcade Adventure, Mia’s Math Adventure, and Jump Start titles
  • To build science skills, try: Mia’s Science Adventure and Jump Start titles
  • To develop geographic and cultural skills, try: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago, Dora the Explorer titles?
  • To develop story skills, try: Civilization by Firaxis Games.
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