Janet Murray recently posted a fantastic Blog that offers parents free and exciting games to inspire their children. She asked me to share it with my readers. As summer is around the corner, here are some great ideas to help your children have fun while they are learning!
By this point, everyone realizes that there need not be any delineation between education and entertainment. Parents and teachers alike can supplement a student’s knowledge of biology, geology, physics, chemistry, and other scientific disciplines with literally hundreds of free games available online through a multitude of sources. The following list compiles 60 of the most popular ones, mostly involving some of the more popular subjects among children.
1. Zoo Crew : Zoo crew teaches children interested in animals and animal behavior the proper terminology for certain groupings of species.
2. Animal Homes : In Animal Homes, kids pair up a number of different species with their appropriate habitats and learn the very basics of ecosystems and environments.
3. Wild Animals : With this interesting matching game, participants must identify animals based on their distinguishing characteristics such as horns, tails, and fur patterns.
4. Animal Safari : Functioning as both a scientific and vocabulary exercise, this game is perfectly suitable for very young audiences that teaches them the proper names of various popular animals.
5. What’s My Class? : More advanced young children may enjoy What’s My Class? if they want to learn about what animals qualify as what taxonomic category.
6. Animal Spot : This very easy matching game appropriate for the preschool set asks children to look at a pair of horns, coat pattern, or tail and pick the corresponding species.
7. Space Watch : Explore the Solar System with Space Watch, an interactive odyssey with excellent artwork and information on every planet.
8. Animal Tracks : Budding outdoors enthusiasts will have quite a bit of fun with this game that asks users to match animals with their respective footprints.
9. Space Patrol : The Space Patrol needs to save Planet X229, and the only way to do so is with a basic knowledge of the universe.
10. The Heart Facts : Learn all the fundamentals of one of animal life’s most integral organs and eventually test memory retention with an informative quiz.
11. Pet Party : Responsibility, pet care, and basic biology all factor into this unique game revolving around how to properly keep an animal companion safe, happy, and healthy.
12. Birds of a Feather : Any child fascinated by the birds flitting about outside will enjoy matching a series of birds up with their appropriate habitats as well as their shadows.
13. Fun Science : The life cycle of both plants and animals comprise the content of this game, where the objective involves placing different points in development in the proper chronological order.
14. Computer Whiz! : Computer Whiz! makes for a lovely educational tool revolving around the history of computers and technology.
15. Incredible Edibles : Teach kids all the fundamentals of proper nutrition and food science with this informative game that starts them on the road to healthy lifestyle choices early.
16. Earth Day : Pollution and its negative impact on the environment inspired this game, which asks kids to find the factors that cause contamination and hurt the planet.
17. Food Groups : Another nutritious game, this one involves dragging different foods into containers identifying the 6 food groups.
18. Element Lab : Discover the Periodic Table of Elements – the very core of chemistry – by matching different substances with their respective symbols.
19. Fun in the Garden : Home economics, botany, and food science collide with Fun in the Garden, which teaches children how to differentiate between fruits and vegetables.
20. Hungry Monkey : Appropriate for preschoolers and kindergartners, Hungry Monkey illustrates the differences between different types of fruits.
21. Mammal Match : Participants are asked to match up a given animal with its appropriate sound, making for an excellent introduction for children interested in how other mammals communicate with one another.
22. Space Vocabulary Memory Game : Build a kid’s vocabulary and understanding of the universe beyond Earth with this simple memory game, which asks them to match a word with its corresponding picture.
23. Hangman Game : The classic game of hangman gets a biological makeover, and children playing this updated version walk away with a greater knowledge of animal classifications.
Weather Channel Kids
24. WeatherREADY Emergency Supplies : In this extremely useful resource, users must scramble to find the appropriate emergency supplies for instances of severe weather before the clock runs out.
25. WeatherREADY Severe Weather Challenge : Another excellent scientific and safety lesson for children from the Weather Channel, this game aims for an older set and teaches them about how to react to severe, potentially dangerous conditions such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards, and other forces of nature.
26. Make a Volcano : Learn all of the fundamentals regarding one of the most awe-inspiring – yet painfully devastating – geological formations on the planet with a fantastically detailed and informative game on all the different types of volcanoes and their eruptions.
27. Darcy’s Wild Life Quiz : A quick little overview of animal life that asks some rather advanced questions of older participants fascinated by zoology.
28. Stinky Animals Quiz : Another fun, low-pressure quiz for kids to enjoy, this time focusing on some of the more pungent beasts in the biosphere.
29. Shark Quiz : Sharks enjoy quite a bit of popularity amongst the younger set due to their sheer power and dangerous, mysterious habitat. With this short quiz, they can learn more about the giant cartilaginous fish they love so much.
30. Penguin Quiz : Children also enjoy the waddling quirkiness of penguins, and they can test their knowledge of these beloved birds against a series of short multiple-choice and true-or-false questions.
31. Croc Quiz : Fans of crocodiles and other large reptiles may find a bit of fun and enjoyment with this brief quiz that challenges everything they know about the animal.
Magic School Bus
32. Gets an Earful : Alongside Mrs. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus gang, children can learn about how sound works by matching up a noise with its appropriate maker.
33. Maze Craze : This engaging and extremely fun gave requires participants to navigate through a maze, picking up plants and animals to place in their proper environments along the way.
34. Monster Bugs : Educating and nurturing creativity are the two main goals of Monster Bugs, which asks kids to identify the proper body parts for certain bugs as well as create their own unique critters.
35. Pop Quizzes : Children have 8 different fun quizzes to choose from based on their areas of scientific interest, including insects, space, and the human body.
36. Space Chase : Mrs. Frizzle sends out clues regarding her location, and participants need to pick the planet based on her hints.
37. The Great Habitat Match-Up : Another game revolving around placing animals in their corresponding habitats.
38. The Adventures of Weatherlizard : Venerable Magic School Bus mascot Liz asks a series of questions regarding tornadoes, thunderstorms, and blizzards.
39. Watt’s That?! : Host Flip Switch offers up a game show-style quiz asking questions about electricity, energy, and how to conserve them.
40. Watt’s That?! Jr. : With 6 different styles to choose from, a younger audience has another opportunity to learn about how power is generated and how it may be best preserved.
41. Test Your Energy IQ : Through California Energy Commission’s official website, the U.S. Department of Energy offers up two brief quizzes on conservation and generation.
42. Changing state : The BBC hosts a slew of games on its KS2 Bitesize site, and this one focuses on how matter can shift from a liquid to a solid to a gas – and back again.
43. Characteristics of Materials : Receive a quick overview of the different properties of some common materials such as glass and metal with this interesting little game.
44. Gases, liquids and solids : Another interactive activity regarding the different properties of matter, this time asking for participants to correctly categorize items as a solid, a liquid, or a gas.
45. Keeping warm : Children learn all the basics of heat transfer and warmth with this informative resource that asks them to find the best possible insulator in different situations.
46. Different changes : Receive a brief education in chemical and physical changes by trying to differentiate between the two with a series of varying scenarios.
47. Rocks and soils : Budding geologists get a chance to play with virtual rocks and understand their properties and categorizations.
48. Solids and liquids : Discover the very fundamental physics of hot and cold by achieving an objective demanding participants to find the freezing and melting point of various substances.
49. Living Things : These 10 mini-games cover everything from basic biology to health-related issues, with something to offer almost any interest.
50. Physical Processes : With 10 more games, participants can receive an education in the fundamental principles that drive the physical world.
51. Why Gravity Causes Things to Fall : Physics factors into this painless, easy game that has users drop balls from different famous landmarks and generates a real-time approximation of the event.
52. 4th Grade Magnetism and Electricity Review : Aimed at 4th graders, the Magnetism and Electricity Review allows at least 2 players to compete in related trivia.
53. Chemical and Physical Change Lab : Offered through Ohio University, the Chemical and Physical Change Lab helps participants learn how to tell the two different matter transitions apart.
54. Ocean Trivia Machine : This enjoyable little game generates a series of questions regarding oceanography for up to 2 players.
55. The Incredible Megacell : Kids who love biology will find plenty to love about this interactive activity, which educates them on all the different parts of a cell.
56. Who Wants to Win $1,000,000? – The Science Game : Compete against other students with a series of questions regarding all different areas of science – not for real money, however.
57. Lights Out! : Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs in a harried race against a burning house that also serves as a lesson in conserving energy.
58. Hot Stuff : Play 3 quick, traditional true-false, word scramble, and matching games relating to geothermal energy. All of the answers can be found elsewhere on the website.
59. Quiz Your Noodle: Astounding Animals : National Geographic offers up a great little quiz game feature facts about some of the most popular animals on the planet.
60. Cloud Matching Game : This simple matching game asks kids to pair up pictures of clouds with their respective labels in a quick meteorological lesson.
With these 60 games – and the myriad others available free of charge over the internet – both educators and parents alike can illustrate the basic principles of many areas of scientific studies in a way that engages children without talking down to or completely boring them. Whether they enjoy or need a leg up in geology, physics, chemistry, biology, or other studies, there is a game out there to help guide them through all the necessary fundamentals.