Playing computer games is often seen as a negative. Kids should be outside, getting muddy, exploring the world. Not stuck on computers all day. I don’t disagree, kids need fresh air and exercise, but they also need to learn reading, writing and numeracy. For this, educational games can be very useful, not only in explaining tricky concepts, but also in keeping their interest.
Buying games can be expensive and, even with reviews, it can be hard to tell if they’re as good and as suitable as they say. The same applies to apps, whilst cheaper, it’s hard to tell if your child will like the game, understand it or whether it’s a waste of money. Thankfully, there are websites which offer free educational games.
www.letters-and-sounds.com is completely free and contains resources to download and print as well as free educational games to play online. There’s different levels to work through starting at Phase 1, which is suitable for pre-school/reception age, and going up to Phase 6 for year 2 and beyond.
www.phonicsplay.co.uk website has both free and paid for games. A subscription to the site costs £12 a year but there’s many games which are available for free. There’s also different levels to progress through, staring with listening to letter sounds and blending sounds together to identify which words are real, right up to the rules for plurals.
www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/maths/ has free maths games for Key Stage 1 and up. Whilst most of these are too tricky for reception age children there’s a couple, such as the clocks game, that could be tried with the help of a grown up.
www.topmarks.co.uk/ has free maths games and educational videos suitable from EYFS and upwards. The games are tablet friendly but the videos need flash so might not work on all tablets.