Screen Time Isn’t All Bad: Educational Electronic Games Your Kids Will Love

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It’s likely that your family has been more reliant on electronic devices than ever. Although data transmission and storage security were already imperative in the modern enterprise, the pandemic has forced many of us to work and learn from home. And thanks to our smartphones, laptops, and tablets, those tasks are actually possible.

Of course, there can be some downsides to spending all of your time looking at a screen. But while it’s important to have limits in order to prevent negative health consequences, many experts say that the quality of the screen experience matters more than how much time you spend staring. In other words, screens aren’t inherently bad. And in some cases, they can actually do a lot of good — especially when we use technology as a means of education.

In our digitally driven world, there are all kinds of enjoyable activities we can partake in on our devices. With over 200 million copies of Minecraft sold as of May 2020, it’s clear we’re seizing every opportunity to entertain ourselves while we stay home. But there’s also something to be said for electronic games that provide both an opportunity for fun and for learning. This concept is nothing new, either. Classics like Oregon Trail, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, and Number Muncher prove that there are plenty of ways to learn in a captivating way. If you’re looking for a few ideas that will actually boost your child’s development — perhaps without them even realizing it — you might want to check out these educational options.

Animal Animations

If your child has a love for animals or for the animated world, there are a few different apps and games you might consider. Animal Crossing became wildly popular around the beginning of quarantine, making it difficult for kids and adults alike to find anywhere online or in stores for a while. But now, you’ll have better luck getting your hands on a Nintendo Switch. Although that investment is somewhat costly, it’s a game all ages can enjoy. Since gameplay is open-ended, how you play is essentially up to you. You can customize your character and island, develop your own pursuits, and socialize with others who also have the game. This can help your child learn how to problem-solve and even help to reduce their sense of isolation during a difficult time.

Animal Crossing isn’t the only animated option available. In fact, some apps actually teach kids how to do the animating! ScratchJr, a beginner coding app, lets players create animation sequences through a drag-and-drop method. Stop Motion Studio is another app that allows kids to learn the art of animation and be introduced to principles like staging. If your child has an artistic flair or loves storytelling, these apps can open up a whole new world for them.

Mighty Math

Mathematics may not be your child’s favorite subject, but they may become a bit more interested in numbers if they’re introduced to them in an exciting way. In addition, using real-world applications like inventory and shipping numbers can help spark an interest in other related subjects. DragonBox Numbers and other related apps cover some pretty important concepts in a way that’s both hands-on and less intimidating than what they might experience in the classroom. Throughout the game, young players will become more familiar with addition, subtraction, fractions, long addition, algebra, and more. These games are intended for a range of ages, making math more accessible to kids throughout their school years.

For younger kids, an app like Bedtime Math can make math a pleasant experience shared between child and parent. This is actually one of the few educational apps that have been part of a peer-reviewed study; students who used this app exhibited significant improvements in their math scores, while parents said using it helped alleviate their own math-related anxiety.

Word Whizzes

There are also a lot of literary electronic games available for kids to enjoy and use to test their skills. Endless Alphabet is a good one, as it covers a wide range of concepts from learning the ABCs to crafting sentences. Starfall Kids games are also highly rated and address reading skills (as well as math and shape identification). There’s also the Epic! e-book subscription, which gives you access to around 35,000 children’s books for less than $10 a month. Many of the books come with a “read to me” option that will narrate the text and turn pages, but this can also provide a way to get your child interested in reading on their own. Finally, PBS Kids has a ton of games and apps available, many of which target literacy and a host of other skills. And since they may feature characters your child already knows and loves, this can be a great way to encourage learning activities.

The online realm is full of educational content. While not all games and apps are created equal, this list proves that many are worth playing — and that they provide much more than mere distraction.

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