5 Educational Video Games for Kids
Video games have traditionally been seen as a waste of time, but a recent shift in the industry has sought to remedy this negative perception. An increasing number of games have been designed with young children in mind. While still a blast for kids to play, these games offer an educational component to help your child learn while playing.
Before looking at specific games that feature a strong educational message, it's important to remember that video games should be used in moderation. Monitor how much your children play and what games they prefer. While violent video games may appeal to children, there is concern over violent video games leading to actual violence in young children, so be careful what your child plays, even if it arguably has a strong educational component. The following games can provide positive gaming experiences for most children.
This game allows the player to identify with the main character, Maxwell, and travel along with him as he collects yellow stars. Levels consist of a variety of puzzles and problem solving challenges. To keep things from getting stale, children playing can choose from multiple tools and complete the level in any way they want.
Most levels are completely open-ended, with several possible paths to collect the required stars. Scribblenaut games are available on iPhones/iPads and Nintendo DS.
The thought of your child crushing civilizations may trigger alarm bells, but despite the name and description, most would not consider Civilization a violent game. No violence is actually seen by the player, rather this is a game about building up a civilization and making strategic decisions. Your child will have to learn about buildings and make tough decisions about whether to invest in research, military, or culture.
Civilization is available on all major platforms and teaches how to solve problems, make tough decisions, and see things from multiple perspectives.
3. Reader Rabbit
Reader Rabbit has been around for several years in other forms like books and board games. Now he has been brought to life in video games that feature a wide variety of education-oriented tasks. The games consist of little mini-games that aim to develop all the main skill of a learning child including language, science, math, and problem solving.
There are several games in this series, aimed at different age ranges. Whether you have a toddler or 2nd grader, there is a Reader Rabbit game for you.
4. Leapfrog Leapster Explorer Learning Games
Leapster has embraced mobile video game education with their Leapster Explorer game system. The system is made specifically for educational games, so there's no chance of getting distracted or tempted by other games. It also features an ebook reader option and a camera.
There is a wide variety of Leapfrog games, but likely what will get your children excited are the Disney titles. There are games with the characters from movies like Tangled, Toy Story, and Cars.
Each game targets different skills, but generally they teach logic, spelling, vocabulary, reading, and math skills.
5. LittleBigPlanet 2
One of the more awe-inspiring games designed for not only children, but adults too, is LittleBigPlanet 2. You explore a vast world as "Sackboy", a virtual avatar. This game can be played as a single player game, but it is also possible to play with multiple participants to strengthen social skills. The goal is to help Sackboy create a world by figuring out puzzles and manipulating items to solve them.
If your child is really creative, they will enjoy creating their own worlds with the built-in tools. This open concept can help children learn how different elements fit together and how to deconstruct problems. LittleBigPlanet 2 is available for PlayStation 3 and 4.
While it once was difficult to find any games that focused on educational aspect, there is now an entire market dedicated to it. Educational video games can help to mold your child into a logical-thinking individual, and they will never have to know a criminal's mind or suffer the shortcomings associated with poor development. Slowly, but surely, the public perception of video games is shifting to recognize that while some games are arguably bad for children, others can provide a real value.