It was 7 PM, and my boss called us all for an emergency online meeting. After a tiring day at work, I was hoping to spend some quality time with my kids.
Unfortunately, when thy boss summons thee, always say ‘aye!’ Right?
My best option in such a situation is to hand gadgets to the kids and continue my work. Yet every time, deep in my heart, ‘mom guilt’ hits me hard.
If you’re a parent, you probably know what I am talking about. I am supposed to nurture them, not expose them to toxicity!
A study from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center published in JAMA Pediatrics showed concerning evidence that brain structure may be altered in kids with more screen use. It is findings like such that make you go bonkers with guilt.
However, God bless my friend Ashley who showed me the silver lining in this predicament. She introduced me to the latest research on the effects of games on kids.
According to many experts, the right approach to kids’ screen time can work in our favor. The newest study from Oxford, Cardiff, and Cambridge University states that screen time in moderation seems to have a positive effect on kids.
Best learning games for kids
Thanks to the advancements in technology, a whole segment of online learning forums and games have been introduced to enhance cognitive, literacy, learning, and motor skills of tiny tots. We scoured the web and found five platforms with the best educational games. Let’s have a look:
- Shephard Software
Shephard Software is an incredible source of learning games and entertainment. It features games covering several subjects. Be it math, science, or language arts – the platform has something to spike interest of every munchkin out there.
More than 1000 schools across the globe are using Shephard Software to teach in their classrooms. Its interactive user-interface and stunning graphics can hook young players for hours.
The best part is that it is 100% free with minimal commercials or ads. However, you can opt for an entirely ad-free experience by paying a small subscription fee.
They cater to players from preschool to college. Plus, an adult can also log in and power up the learning skills. So after kids are in bed, you can also have a little fun time with Shephard Software.
- BrainPOP’S GameUp
GameUp is the gaming section of BrainPOP, an educational website featuring animated videos for kids. Even though the parent platform (BrainPOP) has a subscription fee, GameUp is free. It contains games on every subject like science, mathematics, social studies, and engineering/tech.
Every game accompanies a lesson idea. This page informs the parent/guardian about tutorials, tips, and assessment ideas for their students. For example, in the game “Monster School Bus,” kids explore adding and subtracting integers, decimals, associative properties, etc.
Teachers who’ve subscribed to the platform can see assessment tools and pre-made quizzes. It is impressive how the BrainPOP Team audits hundreds of online gaming platforms. They select the cream of the crop and publish only the best on their website.
- ABCya! Games
ABCya! is a website that features several educational games for kids. These games are for kids until the sixth standard. They are organized according to grade level and subject area.
After you have chosen the grade, you would be asked to select a preferred subject. Next, click on a game that you like and read instructions regarding it. Here, you can judge whether the game is according to your child’s caliber or not.
Each game on this platform contains various stages. The students at a more advanced level can select challenging games according to their capability.
Millions of kids, teachers, and parents visit ABCya! Games. Last year, the platform recorded 1 billion visits. No wonder why developers are working so hard to sustain their position in this domain.
Each week, ABCya! Games app features six new games. In case you want to dig in more award-winning content, you can subscribe and unlock over 250 games.
- airG MiniMe
airG MiniMe is a kid-friendly platform that delivers educational games and videos for children. These games and videos are designed to enhance creativity, literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional development of the kids.
Users can access a treasure land of learning games, after paying a minimal subscription fee. The content on this platform is violence-free, thus making it safe for children of all age groups.
The platform is also a member of the ‘kidSAFE Seal Program,’ which attests to the fact that it has been independently reviewed and found to be safe for kids.
All the games on airG MiniMe 500c are interactive, and the interface is highly addictive to make learning more fun for kids. Games like Count Faster, Connect the Dots, Basketball Master, and World of Words provide a fun way for children to improve their basic concepts.
- PBS Kids
PBS Kids is another website loaded with educational and fun-filled content for kids to enjoy. It is a subscription-based platform that contains games, quests, and videos featuring children’s favorite characters from PBS TV.
The programs go beyond math and literacy to work on creativity, science, and development skills. Given that the games comprise of characters they usually watch on TV, kids are instantly drawn towards them.
The interface creates a learning product that children love. Kids can watch video clips, sign in to their Secret Box to track scores, save favorites, produce stores, and cartoons in the cartoon studio.
From a technical standpoint, PBS Kids is pretty versatile. You can use it in a classroom having one computer or a multi-computer lab.
Although it is a safe online experience for preschoolers, an adult must watch over all the time. Some sponsorship ads may pop up sometimes, but they’re relatively unobtrusive.
Verdict – peek into the bright side!
Dr. Jenny Radesky, M.D., a pediatrician, and expert on children and media at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, says that parents need to stop thinking negatively about screens. It reduces the debate to black and white; the reality, however, is much more nuanced.”
The concerns of parents regarding their children playing too many games are valid. It is normal to fret out. But after a detailed evaluation of the available research and alternative platforms, I am convinced by the contrary – not all screen time is terrible.
What needs to be done is to introduce kids to the games that are beneficial for them and aid them in learning new concepts.