Learning During Playtime

When your child was a baby, you didn’t have to worry about whether their playtime fun was educational or not. Now that your baby is a bit older and getting ready to start school, you want to help prepare him for his lessons. But before you break out the flash cards and start doing math drills, do some learning yourself about the plethora of educational games out there that make learning fun!

The Benefits of Games

It can be hard for some parents to realize that learning doesn’t just take place when a person is studying. The best educational kids games are not only enjoyable, but they also keep children engaged and therefore help them learn. Few flashcards can make the same claim. Many experts agree that learning needs to be fun for it to be affective.

Pretty much any toy or playtime activity can be educational. For instance, coloring can help your daughter develop her fine motor skills, focus, and visual distinction. While these development skills are vitally important to overall learning, few parents think of coloring or completing a puzzle as educational games for children.

Because there are so many different types of children’s educational games available on the market these days, it can be difficult to know which are the best. Since some of them are expensive, some as much as $100, you want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely. Of course, don’t overlook common items that you probably have around the house. Want an educational math game? Then why not play Black Jack with your child. She will improve her math skills by adding up different combinations of numbers. Once she has mastered adding to 21, you can use betting chips to make the math a bit more complicated.

What Parents Are Buying

One of the most popular educational series available today is the LeapFrog line of toys and games. Using different devices, from a talking globe to a fun toy school bus to electronic books, LeapFrog educational toys help children learn, from infancy right through to high school. Their interactive educational games and activities have won praise from parents and teaching experts alike. LeapFrog toys can help children learn about geography and improve their language and math skills.

If you’re specifically looking for educational math games, then consider investing in Math Safari. While this game is a little pricey, it offers variety which mean’s your child is more likely to learn rather than memorize. She can be challenged by a quiz or take things a bit slower and learn new math skills step-by-step.

Parents looking for educational board games that will help with language skills should like Phonics Tiles. Your son can arrange the 26 letter tiles into any order he’d like and the board will sound out what he has spelled even if it is not a proper word. Children learn how to sound out words, what sound each letter makes and how words change according to the letters you add (for example: add ‘e’ to “sit” and you end up with “site”).

Online Educational Games

As if there weren’t enough educational games sitting on the shelves of your local toy store, there are even more educational games online. If you’ve already spent some money on educational toys, don’t worry. Many of the games you find online will be free educational games.

One concern of parents is that learning in front of a computer does not offer the same sort of interaction as learning with a toy does. However, many of the websites that offer educational online games do their best to make the games as interactive as possible. One site even has an area specifically for parents and children under seven so that you can sit down with your child and help them learn.

Here are some of the best websites offering free educational games online.

Fun Brain (www.funbrain.com): This website is easy to use, has colorful graphics, and has individual sections for parents, teachers, as well as kids.

Ed By Design (www.edbydesign.com): Here is a website for children and parents that not only offers games but also learning resources for children with special needs.

Primary Games (www.primarygames.com): If your child is already in school, this website may be useful to help reinforce what they’re learning. It offers games that deal with math, language, social studies and science.

Owl & Mouse Educational Software (www.yourchildlearns.com): This website offers lots of educational software, most of which is free.