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Selecting the Right Educational Computer Games for Your Child

Selecting the Right Educational Computer Games for Your Child

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

  • Dora the Explorer: This computer games 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 tends to be aimed at younger children, generally at the Kindergarten 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 small mouse named Mia. Computer players need to help Mia solve problems by using math and science skills. Titles are also available in French and the games are appropriate for children from pre-school age to about eleven years.
  • I Spy games. Scholastic has developed a line of “I Spy” games that let children engage in exciting adventures in order to find missing treasures. This series of games builds reading, problem solving, and creativity skills because it combines photos of familiar objects with word play and riddles.
  • Jump Start. Jump Start computer games allow players to solve puzzles and solve crimes in “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 children at different grade levels.
  • Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge. Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge is intended for children from ages 18 months to seven years and older. It is a computer game which offers pictures, animations, and audio clips each time a player presses a button on the screen. According to Dynacomp, the computer game builds vocabulary, reading, math, and memory skills. Many teachers and parents have praised Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge as an educational game that children actually 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 grade-school children.
  • Dinopark Tycoon. This game lets children set up and run businesses, learning entrepreneurship 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 have to make it profitable by building the park, hiring employees, borrowing money, managing money, and buying and selling dinosaurs. Players can learn graphing skills, dinosaur facts, math skills, business management skills, economic concepts such as supply and demand, entrepreneurship, money management, and much more as they try to make their theme park successful.
  • This list will suggest some computer game titles that you may like to try. In general, when shopping for educational titles, you will want to try games before you buy. Ideally, you will want to ask your children’s opinions about which games to choose. That way, your children will be able to select games that they will actually enjoy playing. You will also want to select games that will build a variety of skills. You may want to buy several titles that build several skill sets and give your children some variety as well.

    If you are trying to improve a specific skills set, look for games that really build one skill:

  • If your child is just learning how to read, try: RocketReader Kids by RocketReader
  • To build keyboard and mouse skills, try: Meavis Beacon Typing Tutor
  • To build memory skills, try: I Spy games from Scholastic
  • To build 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 children, 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 build geography and cultural skills, try: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago, Dora the Explorer titles
  • To build history skills, try: Civilization, from Firaxis Games.