Playing Around: Favorite Educational Games Sites

from Educators' eZine

At my "Larry Ferlazzo: Teacher" Website I have an extensive collection of links for students and teachers. Although most offer serious academic activities there are some excellent sites that entertain while teaching by inviting the students to 'play games.'

So here are my favorite eight sites that offer original, free, effective, creative, and fun games for students of all ages and in all subjects.

I Know That
My favorite. Featuring games in: science, math, language arts, social studies, and the arts, it is primarily aimed towards elementary students. However, I have found that high schoolers taking geography enjoy and can benefit from the great map games found on the site. English Language Learners of all ages would find this site useful. Many activities have both text and audio. The graphics are exceptional. The site seems to rely on small ads for support. Be advised that if you click on "Remove ads" you will be invited to sign up for a pay site; so perhaps it is best to live with the ads, as they are not at all intrusive.

BBC Schools - Games
This site offers the typical high-quality activities you can expect from the BBC. There are games for many subjects, divided into age ranges from four years old to over sixteen. Many obviously have a British flavor to them ranging from spelling to history to the very names of subjects themselves (in the U.K. it's not "math" but "numeracy"). However, the games are fun and the vast majority of content is useful for U.S. students.

Professor Garfield
This is a partnership between the creator of the famous cat (yes, that Garfield) and Ball State University. The content covers the usual subject areas, along with career exploration and activities geared particularly to students with learning disabilities. The focus is on Kindergarten to Eighth Grade. I especially like the "Knowledge Box" section of the site, which has activities, too numerous to mention, divided by grade and subject area.

PBS Kids/Go
This is a great place to go for games geared towards pre-school, elementary, and middle-school kids. Games and activities connected to PBS favorites like "Arthur," "Postcards from Buster," and "It's My Life" can all be found here.

Learning Vocabulary Can Be Fun
This is a great site to help students learn......vocabulary. There are many games, including word searches, hangman, crossword puzzles, etc., and some also have audio. Even younger students would find this useful, and older students might also want to click on the link specifically targeting SAT words.

Mr. Nussbaum
This site, created by a grade-four teacher, has many creative and fun games in math, language arts, science and social studies. It's designed for grade 1 to 8th.

Scholastic Online
This is from a company that all teachers know. It has online games and activities in many subjects, and, most surprisingly, to all grade levels including high school.

Fun Brain
This, for elementary age students, is from Pearson Education. It features creative and fun reading, grammar, and math games. Unlike the sites above, it also has a fair amount of games that are not particularly educational in nature, so a teacher would need to be particularly careful when having students working on this site. But the educational games are worth the added vigilance. This site is.

If I didn't include them here, I'd love to hear about your favorite education game sites!

Email:Larry Ferlazzo