Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Listing of Video and Computer Games for Learning

Anyone who follows my blog know I have such a hard time allowing, regulating, and enjoying video games with my children.


I used to enjoy them and play games with them.  I was pretty good at Super Mario Bros.  I really enjoyed such Wii games as Wii fit, Wii resort sports, etc.

But when the boys were in school most of the day, and we had homework, after school activities, and busy weekends we did have all that much time to play.

I think video games are great fun but they do need to be limited.  Now that we homeschool we're home a lot more and have much more free time on our hands.  My boys thought they could play video games whenever they wanted for however long they wanted.

They soon realized that was not the case. 

I do have to admit that I've really started to watch very closely to see if they're learning anything from any of the games they play.  I will not argue that ALL video games are educational and while I still don't condone all out access to them I do have to admit at times they can be lifesavers (long plane rides could not be imagined without screens!).

That said, there are some video games I'm much more relaxed about them playing.

Kindle games:

While, not a game, my boys often ask to read books on my Kindle.  At times they prefer the Kindle books to real books.  To me reading is reading so I'm OK with that!
  1. Words with Friends-- my older two boys use math to compute the scores of a word before playing and they are improving their spelling and vocabulary skills.
  2. Chess-- Alec really wanted to learn how to play and since I didn't know how we downloaded a chess game onto the kindle where he can play against the computer. 
  3. Math Bingo-- Alec learned to add two- digit numbers (in his head even when he had to "carry over") and Ian practices his multiplication facts. 
  4. Hangman-- again more spelling practice and when they play with me they also learn new vocabulary words. 
  5. Stack the States- a fun trivia game about all 50 states
  6. Stack the Countries-- just like Stack the States but with all the countries of the world
  7. Minecraft PE- lots of constructing, building, and foraging skills in this survival game
  8. 2048- A fun & addicting math game working on doubling sums

Computer games:
  1. Wild Kratts- they've learned all sorts of scientific facts about animals. They've learned to sort and classify.  I even watched Evan play the other morning and saw him learn how to find points on a coordinate!  He had to find the d-4 cell and click on it.  He found d, looked for 4 and looked to see where the column and row met-- I was very impressed.
  2. Word world-- Evan will play is learning to match uppercase and lowercase letters, spell simple words, and make letter/ sound correlations.
  3. Coolmath-- has wonderful math games that the boys really seemed to enjoy.
  4. Cyber Chase-- lots of fun math/ logic games based on the TV show.
Evan playing Wild Kratts
Some Computer games I'd like to get the boy to play regularly:
  1. Starfall (for Evan)-- I can't tell you how many mom's have told me that this site helped their child learn to read. 
  2. Scholastic Listen and Read-- a site with 54 read- aloud non- fiction books
  3. Scholastic Global Trek-- where kids can learn all about geography by planning virtual trips; it also encourages writing!
  4. National geographic kids-  I especially love the "Explore Countries of the World" section.  It's great because kids can click on a country they are interested in and learn all sorts of facts, see pictures of people, animals and landscape. 
  5. Khan Academy-- we do use it occasionally for mathwork
  6. Coolmath-- Fun math games that look like video games
  7. Teach Your Monster To Read!- A fun learning to read game. 

DS games:
  1.    Scribblenauts (or Super Scribblenauts)-- they have to spell words to get tools to help them through the levels.  I have often observed all three of them working together to try and spell words and the older boys help Evan try to sound them out. 
Wii games: 
  1. My boys argue that Mario & Sonic at the Olympics (we have a few versions) taught them all about the Olympics and how to play the different sports.  I'm not so sure about that one.
  2. World Of Zoo-- teaches Alec, my future self- proclaimed zoologist all about how to take care of the animals: what the like to eat, when to feed them, how to care for sick animals, how fast sickness can spread, etc.
  3. Family game night-- my boys argue this is just as educational as playing real board games.  I think some of the games are-- like Boggle teaching them to spell, but some of them I think loose something like Battleship where you just point the remote and click (I like having them have to figure out the coordinates when we play in real life). 

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