There are a lot of places on the web where you can spend a small fortune in monthly subscription fees for online learning games for your kids. Many kids’ game sites seem to have some sort of long-term subscription price tied to signing up. But if you look around a bit more carefully, you will find there are plenty of sites where you can get high educational and entertainment value for your kids for FREE!
Here are 5 tips in looking for the perfect online learning game for your child:
1) Is the game age appropriate? As parents, we know that 5-year-olds and what 10-year-olds like very different games, so be specific in your search. Search for games that are relevant to your child’s age (i.e. ‘kindergarten games’, ‘games for early readers’, ‘learning games for 4-7 year olds’, etc.). Even within your child’s age group there will be different skill levels, so be sure to check the game out thoroughly to make sure it’s appropriate to YOUR child’s skill level.
2) Start with the play free version. Many children’s online learning games offer a free version as well as an optional subscription or fee-based version. So sign up for the free version first to see how your child reacts before you invest in subscribing or purchasing the premium program. Sometimes the free games are just as fun as the subscription games, but with higher advertising content.
3) Be cautious with advertising content. Our kids are constantly bombarded by advertisers through all forms of media, whether it’s online, on smartphones, or on the television. So although some ads may not be too distracting, if an online game has lots of pop-up ads, animated banners, or other branded or product messages, consider looking elsewhere. As you search for online learning games, be sure to take a moment to observe how many and what kind of ads they display and how they promote products to kids, as well as how easy it is for your child to accidentally click on an undesirable advertisement.
4) Make sure it is COPPA compliant. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is put in place to keep your child safe by limiting the amount of personal information collected by websites, and limiting how those websites may the use of that information. Make sure the online learning games you let your child play are COPPA complaint.
5) Be sure the game has real learning value. Keep your child’s brain engaged and have them play an online game that really keeps them thinking. There are plenty of entertainment games out there, as well as games based on their favorite TV characters. But if you do a bit more looking there are also many high-quality learning games that are not only great fun but also build important skills. Look for online learning games that let your child exercise their math, science, or reading skills and you’ll make their summer fun-time into brain-time as well.
Obviously online learning games (free or otherwise) are not a replacement for reading, playing outside, and all those other fun summer activities. However, online games have come a long way and can offer a lot of value. A quick search for “Free Online Learning Games” and a bit of research can get your child playing and learning in no time, without any money spent at all.
About the Author:
Teri Rousseau is the CMO of Kabongo.com, a fantastical online world of learning games for kids ages 4-7. She has been a youth market specialist in digital media for the past 20 years, and has produced and marketed interactive entertainment/educational children’s products for Berenstain Bears, Dr. Seuss, Mario Bros., Peter Rabbit and Rocky & Bullwinkle, amongst others. She is a speaker at industry conferences, contributor to TechTV and guest writer for various parenting publications, profiling children’s technology products. Most importantly, she is the mother of two computer-gaming girls, whose fascination with technology inspires her to keep creating experiences that change young people’s lives.