08 Jul, 2009
Keep Your Kids Thinking with these Free Online Computer Games
Posted by: Meg In: School Stuff
Unfortunately, summer is more than half way over for our kids. I am already dreading the early morning routine of the upcoming school year. The stores are becoming stocked with back-to-school gear, which becomes a constant reminder of the upcoming end to summer. Are you a summer-lover too or ready for the school year to give you a break?
Solstice is my favorite day of the year… at least the days are still nice and long I just want time to slow down a bit during these last weeks of summer! I hope that you are also savoring your summer.
Although I do love summer and the free-form schedule it brings, a few weeks into the summer I realized I was allowing my kids to fall into an easy rut of ignoring learning opportunities. Maybe that sounds too harsh because I do make a point of being outside a lot, reading each night, and doing explorative stuff during the day of zoo/museum or other “smart” outings. We have also been on camping and beach trips… and I find that travel is full of easy learning opportunities. I have kids who do better on-the-go and it keeps all of us sane and happy to get out and do stuff outside… so my problem was really with our mornings.
I realized our mornings had fallen into a brain drain rut. Most mornings involved the kids each on a computer wasting their minds away with nickjr while I took care of house and yard chores. Granted, I could get a lot of things done quickly while they were well enterntained on the computer, but I started to feel guilty about their relatively mindless computer use and realized that we needed a change.
This is what we changed, and it worked well for us: the kids were still allowed to use the computer in the morning, but they had to play at least 20 minutes of “Smart Games” before getting to play NickJr or similar sites. Through some online searching I found an amazing website that is geared towards teachers: Internet4Classrooms.com. It maps out all sorts of internet games geared to different grade levels that are aimed to improve math, science, and language skills. My daughter loved some of the games for second graders, particularly the math games, and we have barely cracked the surface of what there is to explore through this site. For instance, one of the games whe liked involved simplified math equations inside of flying spaceships that she would need to solve and click on the correct answer.
Their large list of Grade Level Help is well organized and will be one I will refer to for years to come. With this adjustment to our mornings, I was able to get my chores done while my kids were happy getting computer time. My daughter in particular realized how much her skills improved by playing some of the smart games.
Whether your kid is into dinosaurs, caterpillars, or aliens, you will find several games of interest to just about any kid. I warn you that the site is somewhat overwhelming, but it is well organized and well worth a bookmark.
If you have other great smart sites for kids, please send along!