It drives me crazy to see my kids nose deep in computers, Nintendo DS consoles, iPads and Xboxes, knowing that the games they play have limited actual learning value. I’ve heard the pros for Mine Craft, but good luck convincing me Club Penguin has any actual value. Sorry Disney.
In an attempt to put my 25 mbps high speed internet to good use, I’ve gone on a hunt for games and websites that actually teach while they entertain. Here’s a list of new and innovative sites for a variety of ages and interests that will hopefully fuel not only some much needed mommy time, but also some good conversations, once their little heads move away from the screens.
- Reach For The Sun
By Filament Games
Intended Age: 11 and up
“Become a plant and balance your resources of Starch, Water, and Nutrients to grow and reproduce. Extend your roots, sprout leaves, and make your flowers bloom before winter hits.”
The graphics are beautiful, appealing to girls and boys alike. Although the educational component is pretty obvious, this game has a lot of detail and will get your kids thinking about plants in a far more complex way. Great for the kids that like to ask “HOW?”
Intended Age: 8 and up
“Players lead a new human colony on a distant planet. They must make difficult decisions in which there are no clear right or wrong answers but important consequences – to themselves, to others in the colony and to the planet Braxos.”
This game focuses on teaching kids how to make ethical decisions when the answer isn’t so clear. Valuable skills like critical thinking, decision making, and weighing various perspectives are honed in this game that appeals to kids while exploring a new planet.
Created by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, this site features books read aloud by actors. Not only will your kids be better read, they will finally know who Ernest Borgnine is! The book selection is fantastic, and the music accompaniment to the stories is a fun addition that you don’t get when Betty White isn’t part of story time. There are also related activities including questions, drawing prompts and links to websites with related topics.
This site teaches kids all about the instruments that make up the orchestra. Kids can create their own music with the Composerizer, or try their hand at recreating a song with the Performalator.
The Composerizer lets kids listen to a measure and then drag and drop them in any order of their choosing, creating their own piece of music.
The Performalator gives them the chance to try their hand at some old classics, showing them color coded notes and having them follow along on a color coded piano keyboard, think old school Piano Hero.
This site has a great variety of activities, characters, songs and videos, a nice change of pace from Spongebob and Dora. This site has a ton of content, so if your high speed internet isn’t really high speed, there’s a lot of freezing.
There is a section of Make & Colour (their spelling, not mine) that has offline activities like how to make a magic belt out of foil, and various food containers.
The best thing about this site is the progress your kid will make perfecting their Cockney accent.
If none of these peak your interest or your kids’, here is a great resource for lots of additional options.
Author bio – Dara McCollough is a blogger who has a passion for posting about Pinterest, DIY, natural alternatives to fake stuff and delicious food.
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