I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: Hands-on learning doesn’t have to mean messy crafts and elaborate projects. My family loves to use games for learning.
Learning with online games and apps is another option that you may not immediately think of when you hear the words “hands-on learning,” but these activities are perfect for engaging kids and helping them grasp concepts in unique ways.
Following are some of my family’s favorite games and favorites suggested on the Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Facebook page and in the Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Community. If you’re not part of either of those, may I humbly suggest that you don’t know what your missing?
Starfall has been around since the first year we homeschooled. It offers web-based reading and math games for preschoolers through 2nd graders. It’s not as up-to-date and fancy-looking as some of the newer sites and apps, but it’s a tried-and-true site for young learners.
Reading Eggs is a subscription-based online reading program that teaches kids to read through games and activities. There is a free two-week trial option and there are apps you can download so kids can play on your mobile device.
Available online and as an app, this game is designed for kids who are in the first stages of learning to read. It teaches concepts from letter sounds through reading sentences. The web version is free. The app is $4.99.
DragonBox is a fantastic math app for kids from preschool all the way through high school. The apps aren’t free, but they’re worth their price (which ranges from $4.99-$7.99 each). There are games for kids just learning what numbers are all the way up to games that teach complex algebra and geometry concepts.
Prodigy is a free, online math game for kids in grades 1-8. It looks and plays like a computer-based video game and comes with an assessment to help parents get their kids started on the right level.
Zeus Vs. Monsters combines the practice of basic math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) with Greek mythology to create fast-paced fact practice that’s way more fun than flashcards.
Monster Math and Monster Numbers are apps (there are free and paid versions) that help kids practice basic math operations along with some geometry, fractions, decimals and more, all while having fun. The Monster Math app is designed for kids in grades K-5 while Monster Numbers is for kids ages 4-14.
Physics Games features dozens of web-based physics-themed games. It requires Flash Player to play.
TinyBop’s Human Body app lets kids explore the systems and functions of the human body. It’s very much hands-on without a lot of explanation but pretty cool.
Monster Physics is a colorful app that lets kids explore and learn about physics as they build things like cars, cranes, and rocket ships.
Stack the States is my family’s favorite geography app. We all play – adults included! If you correctly answer facts about a state, you get to add it to your stack. As players progress through the game, other games are unlocked to help you learn the location and shape of the 50 U.S. states.
Stack the Countries is played like Stack the States except players are learning about countries of the world. Both apps are available for iOS and Android.
The following games and apps either didn’t fit neatly into a particular category, or they span multiple categories.
RosiMosi apps are engaging, educational apps for all ages. They are broken down by grade level and topic. I downloaded the Preschool and Kindergarten app for my niece. It’s got all kinds of games for learning colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and more.
Code Combat teaches kids ages 9 and up computer coding through web-based gameplay. The first lesson, which takes 1-3 hours to complete, is free.
Students learn history, science, geography, and creative writing all while playing Minecraft! There are classes available for kids from pre-reader through high school and assignments that students turn in to be graded by the instructors.
Your students can learn to type with traditional typing lessons and can hone their skills with fun online games. Typing.com is free.
CodeSpark is another app that teaches coding as kids build their own games. The first month is free and there is a monthly subscription after that. The app is available for iOS and Android.
What are some of your family’s favorite educational online games or apps? I really want to know if you have a favorite for history because I haven’t found anything for that yet.