Making the Most of Educational Games

3 girls playing games on laptop computer

With rapidly growing support for using educational games as learning tools at home and in the classroom, the gaming industry has seen a boom in the demand for high quality educational games. Catering to this demand, there has been a great increase in the number of educational games to hit the market. However, the myriad options available can be rather overwhelming for parents exploring this market for the first time.

How to Pick the Right Educational Games

Here are a few tips on finding the right educational game for your child and ensuring you make the most of the product.

Find out which areas your child needs the most help with – When it comes to educational games, the options are truly endless. Begin by making a list of the subject areas your child needs to improve in. Your child’s teacher is very likely to be of assistance here. You can also include areas that are of specific interest to your child or where your child is ahead of the class and is ready to take on advanced topics.

Search around for related educational games – Using your subject and topic list as a guideline, search around for educational games that revolve around those topics. You can speak to friends who may be using similar products, search online, or even check with your child’s teachers for any recommended products.

Study the different options available – Once you have a list of recommended games, take time to do your own research and study the products yourself. A few of the considerations to keep in mind are pricing (some great educational games can be played online at no cost!), topics covered, recommended age and grade level, type of progress reports available, game play, your child’s specific gaming interests, number of players per product and special product features. Online reviews and the game websites are a great place to search for this information.

Play the games with your child – Your work is not over once you bring home the perfect educational game. In fact, it has only just begun! Spend time with your child learning about the game and exploring its features. Familiarize yourself with the game terminology and take interest in your child’s progress and achievements within the game. You will find that this is not just a great way to keep track of your child’s progress in the subject, but also a great way to bond with your child.

Offer offline help with the subject matter – Spending time discussing and playing the game with your child will give you an opportunity to find out which topics your child is doing well in and which areas are problematic. Offer to help your child with the problem areas and you’ll be surprised at how eager your child is to understand the topic better. Once you get the basics straight, the game will provide the additional practice required to master the topic. Monitor your child’s progress and step in to provide additional help whenever necessary.

Set limits – Educational games are just one of the many ways to have fun and learn more about the world. Don’t let your child lose out on outdoor play, family games, books and other forms of healthy entertainment in the name of educational gaming. Remember that too much screen time is bad for any child and set healthy limits on the number of hours your child spends in front of the screen every week.

For parents who haven’t yet explored the exciting world of educational games, free online games like JumpStart.com are a great place to start. Try the adventure-based method of learning math, reading, science and English and if you like what you see, you can always sign up for more!

Corinne Jacob is a professional writer who creates fun learning material for young kids. Convinced that kids learn best when they’re having fun, Corinne is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. She is often found “testing” cool learning games for kids.

Image courtesy of Erik (HASH) Hersman via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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