Children love games – they love anything that poses a challenge and gives them rewards, and one of the best ways to encourage them to learn is to mix gaming with education. There are lots of ways children can learn as they play, and the bright colours and compelling mechanics will keep them occupied and engaged. Without realising it, they’ll pick up skills in a number of areas, and because games generally encourage repetition, they become engrained quite quickly. Tablets and smart phones offer easy controls – touch screens are extremely intuitive and young children are extremely capable of grasping them quickly – which means kids too young to use a computer can utilize the applications.
Agnitus Academy. A wide variety of learning mini-games, that teach about shapes, colours, alphabet and numbers. Because you log in to play the apps, your child’s progress is tracked and you can receive weekly emails to let you know the recent developments and advancements they have made in a range of areas. This assures parents that their child is receiving some educational outcome, and alerts them of any areas they may be struggling.
Cosmic Reactor Arithmetic. A competitive mathematics challenge game for iPad, which encourages multiple players to go head-to-head to find out the best maths master. You can modify the level of difficulty to suit a range of different ages, so you can play with young kids as well as older ones. The multi-player style of play encourages parents to get involved, which can be fantastic for kid’s learning and also gets them more excited about it.
Endless Alphabet. An entertaining game that teaches kids spelling, by getting them to choose a word and then scrambling the letters. Kids then need to pull the letters back into order, with each one making a sound as it does so. You can choose the difficulty of the words to accommodate a range of different ages and spelling levels. At the end, the word is sounded out loud and the definition is explained. This is a great way to start growing your children’s vocabulary and get them into good spelling habits.
Learning while playing is a great opportunity for children to grow while having fun. As a parent or caregiver, you need to ensure that you check games for actual educational content – but don’t forget that play is also learning, and there’s no harm in also having games that are simply fun.