Tag Archives: educational games

Video Games – More Than Just Entertainment?

What video games are your kids playing? They may be a lot more educational than you realize. Just because they are not promoted as an educational game doesn’t mean that the single mom has to worry that the kids are spending too much time with rubbish video games.

Watch the screen as the child plays the game and you may be surprised that the game chosen for its pure entertainment value is honing other real life skills. Even the simple role playing games where the child maneuvers the character through the days is teaching the child life skills.

If your child wants to use up their screen time playing video games like the Animal Crossing or Dream Life series of games, relax and let them enjoy it knowing that they are learning valuable skills that you didn’t even know that the games offered.

Money Management

Many of these games start out in the morning, and the child must obtain a place for the character to live. In order to pay for the shelter, the character must find or earn the currency the game uses. Furnishings, clothing and other items must also be purchased, found or bartered.

If the child does not have enough to pay for the purchase, many games offer the chance to sell something that they already have in their possession.


Some kids like to spend their money on fancy housing, while others are more concerned about their wardrobe. For the child who likes the game because of the challenges of the competitions, there are plenty of those, but they all charge an entry fee.

Each player must determine what is most important to their enjoyment of the game and plan accordingly.

As the player goes through the game collecting items and currency, they find out that currency isn’t the only thing they need to accumulate possessions. There is limited space available to store purchases. There is also a limit to how much a character can carry at one time. In these situations, choices have to be made with some items left behind or sold.

Time Management

When one day is over, the next day begins. If the character has a job, it must be attended to before the character can go on to other activities. Some games require the characters to attend school during certain times of the day, leaving only a few hours for chores, homework, jobs, shopping and entertainment.

While video games don’t do anything to improve the child’s writing skills, reading and math ability is needed to meet the challenges of the game. The character doesn’t speak, so the written messages must be read for the child to play. Points and currency must be tallied to the child to properly plan and strategize.

A game doesn’t have to be promoted as educational to offer learning opportunities. Mom can relax with the games the child chooses to play as long as she has previously screened them for violence and gore. Just keep an eye on the clock, because the kids usually have to be reminded that they’ve been in front of the screen long enough and it’s time to get the body moving.

Grocery Aisle Bingo

It’s hard to shop for groceries with a young child. You have to concentrate on getting all of the items on your list and stay within your budget. The single mom tries to figure out the most economical choices while still trying to keep her child from getting bored or disappearing down the next aisle. With a little creativity, you can turn the grocery shopping chore into a fun and educational game by playing Grocery Aisle Bingo.

There is a bit of preparation to do to get ready for the Bingo Game. This is a fun activity on its own. Gather flyers from the grocery stores that arrive with the newspaper or in the mail. You will also need a sheet of 8-1/2 by 11 paper, markers or pens, and paste or glue.

Make a bingo card for yourself as well as letting each child create one. Although this game is more geared to kids in first and second grades, younger ones will also be kept occupied during the grocery shopping session if they are allowed to play, too.

Fold the paper in half, and in half again. Repeating the folds until you have 16 squares.

Search the grocery store flyers for items that are sold by the dozen, by the gallon or even in a 5 pound bag. Cut them out and past each of them onto a square of the bingo card

Cut out the prices of items that are sold “3 items for $5”, “Buy one/Get 1 FREE” or other pricing incentive. Glue these onto the bingo card, also.

On your next shopping trip, watch out for items that match the items on the bingo card, and as each is spotted, mark the item with an “X”. Let the child be creative by explaining that just because the picture of a gallon of milk is on the card, it doesn’t have to be milk to be a match. A gallon of vinegar will match because it is a gallon. The same will hold true for weight. A 5 pound bag of flour spotted on the shelf can be used to cross off the picture of the 5 pound bag of sugar.

The first person to get all 4 items in a line or diagonal marked off of the bingo card is the winner.

This teaches more than just matching. The child is reading and understanding numbers, learning about how items are packaged and sold, and even the different pricing structures of items in a store.

Games as Simple as Bouncing a Ball

Give a couple of kids a ball and they will soon be engrossed in a game. You may not recognize the game because it’s possible that the game has just been invented based on the imagination and abilities of the children involved. Many of the games are very intricate with complicated steps of progression, while others are as simple as how many times the ball can be bounced without a miss. A ball offers the single mom an inexpensive way to keep her kids happy and active.

In the constant search for games and activities to keep our kids active and learning, we often forget how important imagination is to the learning development of our children. In our quest to find the best rated educational games that will teach them skills without them even knowing it, we ignore the benefits of letting them explore the boundaries of their imaginations. Strategic planning, dexterity, physical skills and even math and social skills can all be honed when kids get together and make up their own games with material they have at hand.

Kids spend a lot of time in front of the computer playing games that teach. Most homes have a video game console in addition to the computer. The games teach strategy as well as hone other skills.

Shelves in the home are stacked with games of all types for the family game night and should not be abandoned. In addition to the skills they are created to build, a family game night also brings the family together for necessary quality time.

But the single mom should remember that not all games that teach have to be crafted to a specific market. Learning experiences can be found in every situation. An active imagination can teach a child as well as a game that costs $40.00.

For a real educational gaming experience, give the kids a ball or some empty boxes and stand back as they create their own educational fun.


Memorize Multiplication Online-Free!

Memorizing the multiplication tables is boring for a child unless they have a fascination with math. But the memorization must be done in order for the child to move on to learn the math skills that will be needed in life. Luckily, the single mom can turn to the computer and find educational games that will teach her kids the multiplication table without the kids even knowing that they’re learning.

There are a lot of free math game sites on the web. Because the games are free, many of the sites have sponsored ads on them. Mom should explore the sites before bookmarking them for her children to make sure that the ad content is appropriate.

Multiplication.com (http://multiplication.com/index.htm ) offers free interactive games to help the child turn the tedious task of memorization into a fun challenge. Rhyming, music and fun games help the child with the multiplication tables with the challenge of beating the computer to the goal. The site has advertisements, but the site developer has applied filters to keep the site appropriate for kids.

PrimaryGames.com is a part of the School Sites Network. It was created by a Technology Support Specialist who first developed games for her own students. When she realized how popular they were as a learning tool, she made the decision to share her games. PrimaryGames.com (http://www.primarygames.com/ ) not only offers games to help the child develop their math skills, but games based on science, social studies and language arts.

Helping withMath.com (http://www.helpingwithmath.com/ ) offers free math games and resources that are easy to use. The single mom can even print out resources like flash cards and worksheets so that she can see for herself how proficient her child is. HelpingWithMath.com has a great layout that allows mom to choose the games and resources according to math subject or grade level of each child.

Before giving the child internet access to learn multiplication by playing math games, be sure to explore the site. Speak to the child about internet safety in a way that is appropriate to their level of maturity. Make sure the filters on the home computer are set to a level that will reduce the possibility of inappropriate ad content.

Even though the interactive multiplication games can be a wonderful tool that helps your child learn on their own by having fun, children using the internet need adult supervision.

Card Games: Inexpensive, Educational, Fun and Portable

Getting together to play cards is an activity many adults share among themselves as well as with their children. Adults consider it a pleasant pass time. Single moms see the cards as learning opportunities for their children.

Educational games for children don’t have to be expensive. Nor do they have to be marked as educational or designed for a specific age level.

The creative single mom can provide hours of learning opportunities into fun activities using an inexpensive deck of playing cards. The deck of cards can easily be tucked into a single mom’s purse or tote bag and be brought out to keep the kids occupied whenever or where ever the need arises.

While specific cards are available for almost every card game imaginable, most of the games can be easily played with a regular deck of playing cards.

Teach the child how to play cards by playing the game with them. Once the game is learned, they will often request the cards so that they can play with siblings or playmates.

Very young children can match colors, pictures and numbers by the use of two or more identical decks of cards. Although that adds up to a lot of cards, they all don’t have to be used in the game. Use of jokers, face cards and aces will be enough to keep a toddler engaged as they show you that they are able to match the two cards that are exactly the same.

As the child gets older, memory card games can help hone his skills. Simply place matching cards face down and challenge the child to find more matches than you are able to.

Counting skills and the recognition of numbers on individual cards can also be practiced with a deck of cards. Once the child knows that the number of ‘spots’ on the card matches the number that appears on the corner, he will soon learn to recognize the number when he sees it in other places.

As the child matures he will soon learn that good math skills are important for a good card player. Games like 21 or cribbage will not only give the child the opportunity to practice addition, but will teach strategic skills as well.

Don’t overlook the learning opportunity that can benefit the child simply by giving them the opportunity to be the score keeper. This important task will instill confidence in your child as he tallies up each hand or round of play.