Archive for March, 2021

Selecting the Right Educational Computer Games for Your Child

March 10th, 2021

There are many great educational computer games on the market today, both online and in toy stores. Experts and parents have especially found some educational games to be both fun and instructive:

Dora the Explorer: This computer games helps children learn geography skills while playing an adventure game. As players accompany Dora on adventures and try to help her solve problems and mysteries, they learn science concepts, math concepts, pattern recognition, language skills and critical thinking skills. This series of games tends to be aimed at younger children, generally at the Kindergarten level.
Kutoka Software: Mia’s Adventures. Titles like “Mia’s Science Adventure” and “Mia’s Math Adventure” allow children to follow the story of a small mouse named Mia. Computer players need to help Mia solve problems by using math and science skills. Titles are also available in French and the games are appropriate for children from pre-school age to about eleven years.
I Spy games. Scholastic has developed a line of “I Spy” games that let children engage in exciting adventures in order to find missing treasures. This series of games builds reading, problem solving, and creativity skills because it combines photos of familiar objects with word play and riddles.
Jump Start. Jump Start computer games allow players to solve puzzles and solve crimes in “whodunit” style. As children play, they learn Science, History, Art, Geography, Vocabulary, and more. Jump Start titles are arranged by grade, with different games available for children at different grade levels.
Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge. Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge is intended for children from ages 18 months to seven years and older. It is a computer game which offers pictures, animations, and audio clips each time a player presses a button on the screen. According to Dynacomp, the computer game builds vocabulary, reading, math, and memory skills. Many teachers and parents have praised Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge as an educational game that children actually enjoy playing.
Rocky Boots from The Learning Company. This computer game allows players to learn computer logic by creating simple digital logic circuits and logic machines using the computer and Rocky, an animated raccoon. This computer game has won many awards and is appropriate for most grade-school children.
Dinopark Tycoon. This game lets children set up and run businesses, learning entrepreneurship skills and math skills along the way. This game is intended for players ages 8 and up. Players set up a dinosaur theme park and have to make it profitable by building the park, hiring employees, borrowing money, managing money, and buying and selling dinosaurs. Players can learn graphing skills, dinosaur facts, math skills, business management skills, economic concepts such as supply and demand, entrepreneurship, money management, and much more as they try to make their theme park successful.
This list will suggest some computer game titles that you may like to try. In general, when shopping for educational titles, you will want to try games before you buy. Ideally, you will want to ask your children’s opinions about which games to choose. That way, your children will be able to select games that they will actually enjoy playing. You will also want to select games that will build a variety of skills. You may want to buy several titles that build several skill sets and give your children some variety as well.

If you are trying to improve a specific skills set, look for games that really build one skill:

If your child is just learning how to read, try: RocketReader Kids by RocketReader

To build keyboard and mouse skills, try: Meavis Beacon Typing Tutor

To build memory skills, try: I Spy games from Scholastic

To build problem solving skills, try: Putt putt games, Dinopark Tycoon, Sim City, RollerCoaster Tycoon, and Spinnaker’s Snooper Troops.

For language and reading skills, try: Jump Start. For older children, try Ghostwriter and Adventure Author.

To build math skills, try: Transition Math Grades K-1, Math Missions Grades K-2, Math Missions Grades 3-5: The Amazing Arcade Adventure, Mia’s Math Adventure, and Jump Start titles

To build science skills, try: Mia’s Science Adventure, and Jump Start titles

To build geography and cultural skills, try: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago, Dora the Explorer titles

How To Buy Educational Software that Your Child Will Love Using

March 10th, 2021

When shopping for educational software for your child, it is important to realize that not all educational computer games are created equal. For example, Donkey Kong Jr. Math is still known as one of worst selling games in the Nintendo Entertainment System empire. Built on the same concept as the popular game Donkey Kong, many children found it belittling and boring. This game forced players to answer math questions before they could proceed to the next level. The problem was, the educational component was so obvious and so intrusive to the game that most players simply put the game aside after a few attempts.

More recently, Jerusalem, part of the Adrian Blake Trilogy, has come under fire from players and reviewers alike for being one of the more didactic and uninteresting educational games on the market. This game attempts to teach players about Christianity, Islam, and history by talking players on a role-playing game. The problem is that the acting, scenes, and plot lines tend to be stilted in order to fit in the educational content. Many players simply find the game uninteresting.

Parents can learn valuable lessons from these manufacturer letdowns. When shopping for educational computer games, it is important to always try out games and to select games that are fun to play as well as instructional. Better yet, parents should have their children try out games in order to ensure that the games are fun for children to play. Parents will want to stay away from games that interrupt play in order to ask questions. This is often too much like a “test” in school and makes players give up games quickly.

Buying Educational Games

Once you have decided to buy some educational computer games, shopping will not be difficult. Most computer stores and major toy stores now carry large selections of educational titles. Many online retailers now carry educational games as well. Ebay, for example, always has a good selection of unopened and unused educational computer software at great prices. Parents can order any title they wish online and have the games shipped directly to their door.

When buying computer games, it is often best to buy new games and unopened games. While used educational games are cheaper, they are also riskier. Used games often carry no support and no technical help. If you have trouble installing the game, you may simply be out of luck. Many used titles may also be damaged or older versions that will not work well on a newer computer. Worse, used versions of educational games may be illegal, pirated copies which could expose you to legal risk. Illegal versions of games may even carry viruses or bugs that can affect your computer. The small savings are not worth it. For inexpensive games, try online educational games or wait for sales on popular titles at your favorite store.

In general, when shopping for educational titles, you will want to try games before you buy. Ideally, you will want to ask your children’s opinions about which games to choose. That way, your children will be able to select games that they will actually enjoy playing. You will also want to select games that will build a variety of skills. You may want to buy several titles that build several skill sets and give your children some variety as well.