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The Best Educational Video Games for Kids in Quarantine
Video games get a bad reputation. From violence to video game addiction, parents have good cause to be concerned about their kids’ gaming habits. But the truth is, video games aren’t all bad. There are tons of great games out there that aren’t just wholesome, but are actually educational for kids!
So how do you find (and safely use) the games you can actually feel good about your kids playing? Check out these tips, brought to you by ReadCountCraft.
How to Set Your Kids Up for Gaming Success
Many games are hosted online these days, which means kids need to understand basic internet safety and how to be a good digital citizen. It also means parents need to equip family computers with antivirus software and parental controls to prevent kids from venturing places they shouldn’t.
Of course, you need the equipment, so if yours is outdated, lagging or you’re investing for the first time, do some research into what your kids will enjoy and won’t break the bank. The Chicago Tribune recommends reading through different reviews to determine what is best for your family, and if you want to talk to a human, you can even connect with Best Buy for a free consultation. And if you find exactly what you want from them, you can avoid overspending with a Best Buy coupon from savings sites like Rakuten.
Finally, as Today’s Parent points out, it’s still important to set limits, even for educational games. Keep gaming systems in common areas where you can monitor usage and use timers to indicate when screen time is up. As long as you have activities to distract from tech, you can transition away from games without a fight.
Do ratings really matter?
How much can video game ratings really tell you about its content? Video games are rated by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. ESRB ratings are:
- EC: Early childhood
- E: Everyone
- E10: Everyone 10 and up
- T: Teen
- M: Mature
- AO: Adults Only
Games rated E and E10 are generally safe, but take a closer look at games rated T and up. While some games rated T are fairly mild, others have content you’d rather avoid.
Parents should also watch for the phrase “Online interactions not rated by the ESRB.” This indicates a game that has chat functions where your child can hear unfiltered content from other players. The ESRB has resources to help parents restrict in-game communication.
6 Great Games for Kids
Now onto the good stuff! These are some of my favorite learning games for kids.
Preschoolers learn their ABCs with the help of cute animated monsters in this game available on PC, iOS, and Android. After graduating from Endless Alphabet, kids can move onto its follow-up, Endless Reader.
This imaginative game tests kids’ spelling skills as they solve puzzles and interact with a fantasy world. Originally designed for Nintendo DS, today Scribblenauts is available on nearly every platform.
Math and science games
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard of Minecraft. This PC, Playstation, and Xbox game isn’t just wildly popular, it’s also great for teaching mathematical principles.
Kerbal Space Program
A must-have for any NASA-obsessed kid, Kerbal Space Program lets players design their own space program, launching rockets and landing on far-away planets as they playfully explore physics concepts.
Little Big Planet
A puzzle platform designed for kids 7 and up, Little Big Planet tests problem-solving and spatial orientation skills in a rich story world. Kids can play Little Big Planet on Playstation and even create their own levels for friends to solve.
Teens will love Portal and Portal 2, a physics-based puzzle game available on PC, Xbox, and Playstation. In Portal, players place interconnected portals to solve puzzles and progress through the story.
So which games should parents avoid? Violent games are an obvious ‘no’ but also stay away from games that are purely educational too. If a game isn’t fun, engaging, and visually appealing, kids won’t stay interested long enough to learn anyway. The best educational games for kids are the ones that are so fun, they barely notice they’re learning!
ReadCountCraft knows that learning often comes in unconventional forms. Rather than feeling mom-guilt over how much time your kids spend on screens right now, find educational screen time that you can feel good about! Visit the site often for more fun and educational resources.