Kids are fortunate these days because of the choices they have related to gaming and learning. I remember how much happiness plastic tea cups and rag dolls brought me when I was a little kid. But now, with the technological advancement making children a huge market, toys, and educational games for kids have gone so high-tech that it can become hard for some parents to keep up (read:me). (But I also have a different kind of ragdolls now.) As a parent, I understand the need to let our kids be exposed to a variety of fun games.
My husband is a gamer so I know the many genres there is, the different game consoles, even which he likes best. It’s natural that the kids take on this interest about games too. The best part however is when games become educational at the same time. And educational toys these days need not be boring.
Our daughter started to watch educational DVDs at a young age, the boys later watched on with her and then they switched to TV kids shows. I believe their interest to learn the alphabet, numbers, and songs were sparked by their exposure to these very helpful shows. Nowadays though, the internet (google and youtube) is an easier source for everything from finding information to passing time with games.
Not all games were developed equally. Some have the advantages of teaching children skills, or help them improve different aspects of disciplines. Here are some games and sports that we enjoy that also teaches kids some important things. For example, the kids love the many variations of Rubik’s cube, they mastered the 3×3 and are still figuring out the others.
Developing Motor Skills
No matter which game children play, their motor skills are improved. Holding a set of cards may be awkward for their smaller hands, but it will work them well, as it would their finger muscles.Playing tables tennis helps them develop their motor skills as they do backhands and flips, even stepping as they move to get the ball.
Dancing is one of the best ways to release tension, it is also a total workout not just for the body, but also for the mind. Dancing helps improve flexibility, motor skills, memory, and even coordination. With all the movements that one has to do in sequence, it needs a lot of concentration. While in Just Dance mimic the moves of onscreen dancers than freely moves, children still benefit with improvements on concentration, and coordination – eyes and feet specifically.
Like many sports that teaches discipline, tennis helps kids develop work ethics, manage stress, mistakes, and formulate strategies. But before all these, tennis helps a child’s flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and motor skills through controlled shots and techniques.
Whether traditional playing cards or online, card games are best to foster bonding with family and friends. Played alone while passing time at the loft, a child’s .
Online, Solitaire.org has a lot of solitaire variations one can play. This card game is perfect for when there’s no one to play with. Klondike is the most known version. Lay out seven cards in a row facedown excluding the first card then put the eighth card face-up in the second card in the row. Then complete the row with facedown cards. You then need to alternately put a red and black card downward. You win if you are able to complete all suits.
Solitaire.org also has games that are enjoyable for all ages like Match 3 games, Cookie monster (like Pacman), Hidden Kitchen, and even Sokoban.
Sumoku and Sudoku
Sumoku is a crossword-style game with numbers, much like Sudoku. While in playing Sudoku, the goal is to fill a 9×9 grid with numbers so that each row, column and 3×3 section contain all of the digits between 1 and 9…in Sumoku, players add up their numbered tiles to a multiple of the number on the die. Scores add up with every connected row and column.
Continent Race Geography Card Game
Created by a kids for kids, Continent Race Geography Card Game is a like a world map game board. The game includes five continent lists, 205 country cards showing flags, country names and their capital cities, and three Antarctica wild cards. Whoever collects enough cards to complete at least three continent groups, or suits wins.
National Geographic Challenge
If your kid shows promise of becoming the next walking encyclopedia, encourage them to further develop the love for geography and history through the National Geographic Challenge game. Parents can join the game to refresh their knowledge and challenge themselves against soon-to-be world trivia buffs. How to play: players move around a global map, winning territories by answering the questions presented correctly. There’s also a bunch of visual photo puzzles that can be played individually, outside of the quiz and board game modes.
Languages and Spelling
This is a fun game to test one’s vocabulary and eye-hand coordination. Letter Scramble a game of floating letters that you have to pick out and place on a spelling board. Much like traditional scrabble, only online.
Ingenio Spellable Bilingual Spelling Game
Help your children build vocabulary while having fun by assembling puzzles, the color coded and die cut pieces guide the child as they attempt to solve the puzzle and spell the word. The Ingenio Spellable Bilingual Spelling Game will help kids to spell in English & Spanish.
The Time Tribe
History comes alive as kids time-travel to different points of events in The Time Tribe. The story and game elements involve exploring different parts of the world at particular points in time. Players are given an overview of how life was on such places and time, how people lived and coped in any given situation.
PetWorld 3D: My Animal Rescue
This is a simulation game where kids act as volunteers at an animal rescue shelter. It gives them an overall look at how people runs a shelter. Players will read through the animals’ symptoms, choose a diagnosis, and learn to take care of them: guinea pigs, bunnies, cats, dogs, horses, and others as they get instructions from the professor in charge. They would then care for the animals and later can get them to adoption, and players pair potential pet parents with the right animal.
This game teaches kindness and compassion to the creatures who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice in this world. In real life, it would be a beautiful thing if kids can have pets…but not all has the privilege to. We have adopted 3 older cats (in photo above) and they have changed a lot of things at home. PetWorld 3D: My Animal Rescue is a good game that kids can see how an act of kindness can change an animal’s world, this may inspire them to have their own rescue shelter as well.
Choose Learning Games for Kids As Gifts
When choosing games for kids as gifts, we consider the learning potential they could get. While enjoyment is a big factor, it is much better when they get something out of playing. The ones featured above surely fit the bill. Whether it’s to help kids with motor skills, to make them love math and geography, or just enjoy a dance step or two, kids should play for their overall wellness.
Surely, some games need not be bought, as you might have experienced making your own when you were younger. DIY toys also make for good bonding moments and fosters creativity. However, buying isn’t so bad as well, especially such educational games for kids. Your kids will not stay kids for long, but don’t make them forget how it is to be a child. As they say, “if you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.”