Teaching Your Child Through Games
- Ms. Kolimja
21 Mar, 2021
I grew up in the age of CD-ROMS, playing educational games like Spy Fox, Cluefinders, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?, and (the dreaded) Oregon Trail. Through these games, I read extensive dialogue and storylines, and I also learned about world history and science. I often found many connections between games I played and the material I learned at school. With all the instructions and storylines that my games offered, I also exponentially improved my reading, writing, and communication skills. My brother and I even formed memories that we talk about to this day, since we often went on these digital adventures together.
Today, the internet has an even wider array of games that aren’t only fun for your child, but that also enhance their educational experiences. Here, at Learn to Write Now, we value teaching students the importance of media literacy, and how to utilize the internet to further the rigorous learning that they participate in in our classes. We also believe in creating memories; these online games are a free and exciting way of bonding with your child, as well as providing you avenues to teach critical thinking, reading, and writing through engaging interactions. Below are some websites that offer the best educational games for your child to explore, which will greatly improve their literacy skills, while also teaching them about other subjects:
Spelling City Games: Spelling City is a website that offers a series of free and premium literacy activities to students, parents, and teachers. My students especially love HangMouse (a great alternative to HangMan). Many of the other games are sure to get your child’s gears turning, and they will even learn about other subjects as they build their skills in thinking, reading, and consequently, writing. This website best serves Preschool and Elementary, and Middle School levels.
PBS Kids Stories: There is no going wrong with PBS Kids. From retelling fairy tales with Arthur, creating story books with Sesame Street, or reading moving stories with Peg + Cat, your child will be able to choose their own adventures, while hearing and reading a story unfold before them. Be sure to turn on Closed Captioning (CC) if the game so allows! That way, your child can read every word being spoken. These games vary in difficulty or interest, between Preschool and Elementary School levels.
Sesame Street Games: Your child can rhyme and tell stories with Grover, go on reading adventures with Elmo, and even do letter dance parties with Big Bird. No matter what you choose, Sesame Street’s game library is vast and expansive, and your child is sure to strengthen their literacy skills! These games are best for students in Preschool and Elementary School.
National Geographic Kids (Action & Adventure): On National Geographic Kids, your child can decode ciphers, read and listen to science jokes, and play games about recycling and conservation. They will be exposed to different puzzles and terms that will help them glean a better understanding of the vocabulary behind the sciences! Gameplay on NatGeo Kids would be best for Elementary and even some Middle School students.
Scholastic Kids (Home Base): On Scholastic’s Home Base, your child becomes part of a virtual, multiplayer world, where they can interact with other players, meet their favorite characters from books, and also explore book islands! This platform would appeal most to Elementary students, as well as some Middle School students.
Funbrain: If you have read our previous blog post, “Where to Find Free Books Online,” then you are no stranger to Funbrain. While some games are purely recreational, others are more educational, like “Grammar Gorilla,” helping your child to further their literacy skills. All games have a suggested grade level range, which is not to say that only those grades can partake. These games would likely be most interesting and beneficial to students in Elementary and Middle School.
These websites, of course, are not the only educational resources for your child online, but they can help guide your child to other interesting places on the web, and (more importantly) create the desire to search for more learning opportunities. My motto has always been, ‘it is great to know something, but it is even better to know where to look.’ This list, I hope empowers your child to keep looking, and keep being curious!