As parents, we want to make sure our kids use games and technology in a healthy way and we also want to make sure there’s a limit to how often they have screen time. However, sometimes the best way for kids to learn is through the use of games. Especially during the summer months, games are a great way to help your children learn while also having fun and a game-based learning experience is the best way to use that thought into action.
Game-based learning is making its way into many classrooms all over the world, but it can be something you implement at home as well. Keep reading to find out why game-based learning works and how you can make it a part of your child’s learning experience.
Why Game-based Learning?
There are a lot of thoughts out there about game-based learning and whether it’s really effective. The truth is, there are few things that capture a child’s attention better than a game designed specifically for their age group. The best type of games are the ones that challenge your kids, include an interesting story, and offer some kind of feedback or reward.
Game-based learning certainly shouldn’t be a substitute for reading, doing school work, or engaging with other kids, but if you want the games they play at home to be educational, game-based learning is a great place to start. There are plenty of options out there so it’s okay to try out different games and see what works for your kids.
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of game-based learning, the good news is you can make any game educational, but you have to be intentional about discussing it with your kids and be aware of what they are playing. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of the top 10 games for game-based learning.
Top 10 Games for Game-based Learning at Home
Minecraft is an extremely well-known game and kids of all ages enjoy playing it. This game allows the player to create and customize their own world and gives kids the opportunity to explore, build, and collaborate with others. It can be played individually or as a multiplayer game. Many teachers use Minecraft in the classroom to teach everything from math concepts to problem-solving. There’s also an educational version of the game called MinecraftEDU that is designed specifically for use in classrooms. Minecraft can be played on most computers and game consoles including the Xbox and Playstation.
Scribblenauts is a game that focuses on vocabulary and spelling. The focus of the game is creativity and the player controls the game based on the words they come up with. In order to move the game forward, the player has to come up with their own problem-solving solutions. Scribblenauts can only be played on the WiiU or a Nintendo 3DS.
3. Monster Physics
Monster Physics is an app that focuses on building and allows children to learn about physics while building a car, rocket ship, plane, helicopter, and other similar machines. Kids can have fun customizing their creations, while also learning about general physics concepts such as force, friction, and gravity. The game does a great job of explaining and describing these concepts in a way that younger children can understand. The app is available only on iOS devices.
If you’re looking for a great math game for kids, NumberShire simulation game that teaches core-standards math for children ages 4 and up. The purpose of the game is to create a character and then help people in your village with various tasks. Each task involves numbers in some way, and the game teaches children not only about counting but also about teamwork and helping others. This game is available for purchase on Linux, Mac, and Windows.
5. MarcoPolo Ocean
MarcoPolo Ocean is a puzzle designed for young children to help them learn vocabulary and oceanography. The app is filled with facts about different species of fish and other ocean animals. Aside from the puzzle part of the app, there’s also a free-play aspect where players can explore the depths of the ocean, learning about sea creatures as they go. This app is great for kids preschool age and up, and can be downloaded on all iPad or iPhone devices.
6. Brain Age
Brain Age is a series of video games created by Nintendo that are designed to help players train their brains. The game is based on research by Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, who is a well-known Japanese neuroscientist. The game consists of different mini-games that are designed to keep your brain active and each game can be completed in just a few minutes. You’ll find everything from math problems to sudoku and it’s great for kids of all ages.
7. Math Playground
If you’re looking for web-based games for your kids to play this summer, Math Playground is a great place to start. All the games can be found on their website, and there are math games for grades first through sixth grade. Math Playground also features games in a few other categories such as geography, typing, and spatial reasoning.
8. uDraw Studio
uDraw Studio is an art game designed for the Nintendo Wii and is meant to be paired with the uDraw tablet controller. There are so many math and science games out there, but uDraw gives kids a chance to unlock their creative potential and practice their drawing and painting skills. Even younger children can get the hang of the uDraw tablet and it’s great for artists of all skill levels.
ChemCaper is a great game if you’re looking for something focused on science. The style and features of the game resemble the original Pokemon games, but instead of catching monsters, you collect elements from the periodic table. ChemCaper can be played on iOS, Windows, and Android.
10. The Magic School Bus: Oceans
The Magic School Bus: Oceans is based on The Magic School Bus TV show and book. In this Nintendo DS game, students get to take a field trip to the bottom of the ocean and much like every day in Miss Frizzle’s class, it’s a great adventure and learning experience. Your kids can learn a lot of new information about the ocean from this interactive game, and to help them retain it, they are quizzed through a series of mini-games. If you’re looking for a game with a healthy balance of education and fun, this might be the perfect game for your kids.
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