Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Collections Of Online Educational Games

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There are tons of online educational games out there, and many, many collections of them, too.  However, I’ve found that most of these collections also include quite a few non-learning games — arcade type or shoot-em-ups that have no redeeming value (at least, that I can see).

That’s not a problem for me most of the time — usually, when I have students play online games I’m pretty specific about which ones I want them to play.

However, there are infrequent times (very , very infrequently) — students are done early with a state standardized test; it’s late on a Friday after a hard week and both they and I are pretty burned-out; or when our school’s schedule is all crazy because everybody in one grade is taking the H.S.  Exit exam and everybody else is in different classes — when I just want to give students the opportunity to play some learning games and not be concerned they’ll go to useless ones.

I thought that readers of this blog might sometimes be in similar situations, and thought I’d share a short “The Best…” list of sites that work well in those cases.

Except in a couple of cases, I”m just going to list the site and not give any explanation — they’re all pretty similar — they have a variety of learning games in a variety of subjects and offer very, very few, if any, useless ones.

Here are my choices for The Best Collections of Online Educational Games:

Childtopia

National Geographic Channel Games (Note that this is the channel, not the main National Geographic site. The main site has a lot of good games, but also many that have no educational value.)

BBC School Games

Nobel Prize Educational Games

Discovery Channel Games

Primary Games Arena has an impressive group of learning games.

Play Kids Games (one of the added advantages of this site is that it lets teachers add their own content to some of the games. Because of that, I’ve also added it to The Best Sites For Making Crossword Puzzles & Hangman Games. (A teacher reports that an inappropriate ad popped-up on the PLay Kids Games site. Please let me know if others have a similar experience)

Games for Change has a collection of “serious games.”

Zondle is a pretty darn impressive for online learning games. It has tons of content in different subjects, and, if you can’t find what you need, it’s easy to just add your own. The ingenious part is that once you pick the topic you study, you have the option of studying the info in forty different games! Plus, teachers can create their own virtual classroom and track student progress. And, it’s free.

I’m very impressed with the British Council’s Learn English For Kids site. It has lots of great games for English Language Learners.

EFL Classroom 2.0 has a great game collection.

Spree Games has a collection of nearly 300 learning games. I learned about it through Richard Byrne’s blog, and you can read more at his post. It looks like an impressive collection. Note, though, that the games are not actually hosted at the site. The games are described and then linked to through Spree. So it’s possible that a number of the individual games might be blocked by the often bizarre algorithms used by our schools’ Internet content filters. I’m adding Spree to this list. However, most, though not all, of the other collections here have all their games hosted on one site. As I mentioned earlier, I primarily view these sites as useful for students to use when there are a few minutes left in the computer lab and teachers can just send students to one site (that is unlikely to be blocked) to play games of their choice. It can be a little frustrating to them when some are blocked and some are not.

Canadian secondary Social Studies teacher Mike Farley has gone far beyond my sharing of games. He writes a blog where he lists the links to fifteen excellent Social Studies-related games. That’s nice, but you can find those links in my “The Best…” lists. But what Mike also shares in his blog are student hand-outs for all those games. I don’t think you’ll find these kinds of resources anywhere else on the Web, and they’re a gold mine! Even if you don’t want to use some of them, they are excellent models that can be easily modified.

I also need to include collections of games that can be found in several previous “The Best…” lists:

The Best online Learning Games– 2007
The Best Online Video Games For Learning Language & Content Knowledge
The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too
The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games
The Best Online Learning Games — 2008
The Best Sites For Making Crossword Puzzles & Hangman Games
The Best Fun Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2008
The Best Online Games Students Can Play In Private Virtual “Rooms”
The Best “Cause-Related” Online Learning Games
The Best “I Spy” (Hidden Object) Games For Vocabulary Development
The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories

Finally, I should mention my website, that has 9,000 categorized links accessible to English Language Learners, including many games (particularly, though not exclusively, in the Word and Video Games section). However, even though I’m mentioning it here, I don’t think I can say that my website deserves a “full” endorsement. There are just so many links that it’s fairly easy for students to find their way to mindless activities if left to their own devices.

BBC Skillwise Games Collection

You might want to read The Best Sections On My Website for more information.

Suggestions and feedback, as always, are welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

10 Comments

  1. Hi Larry,

    Thanks for the list and also mentioning for teachers that “many” sites have a lot of time wasters for students.

    I spent days and days (like you) scouring for the best. Based on;

    ability to present to a whole class, educational value, stimulation, creativity and engagement, functionality.

    I put them all on a Learning Arcade on EFL Classroom. Also on our GAMES page. Just click under the PLAY tab. Some wonderful games there – I love the Spiderman game!
    One nice thing is a teacher can make one generic id/pw and the whole class at once can use it, on our network.

    Thanks,

    David
    http://eflclassroom.com

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  5. Larry,
    Love your blog and lists of great websites! Just was on Play Kids Games website and an add pops up that is difficult to get rid of. The add is not appropriate for school kids to view. Just a heads up. Got to hate adds that are not appropriate for kids on kids sites.

  6. Hi Larry, I think you may of overlooked Primary Games Arena?

  7. Pingback: The Best Collections Of Online Educational Games | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… | Free Games Online

  8. Thanks for putting this up. Will definitely be popping back from time to time.

  9. Hi! This is a nice list, I’ll use it for my kids! I’m a programmer on a small team in Costa Rica that has been working on an online educational game that just released – and I wanted to mention it if that’s ok!

    Please see the game here: http://therainforestrangers.com/

    This game teaches kids (grades 2-6, depending on reading level) about the tropical rainforest, ecosystem, wildlife, and conservation in a really fun way! We’ve worked hard to blend education with fun, so parents, teacher, and kids will all be happy! Also, parents/teachers can create alliances, and monitor the child’s progress, and see their grade point average in the “Teacher’s Lounge” (http://therainforestrangers.com/lounge).

    The entire game was developed right here in the tropical rainforest and a percentage of the profits are given back to local schools and environmental organizations!

    Thanks!
    Erin

  10. Mulele – A project for my kid.
    ================================
    Hi, my name is Daniele Fornaciari and I’m a proud daddy of a 2 years and half old baby. This summer I started by joking a little very funny project for my kid. I’m a senior software developer and due my skill the project is about a simple learning game for kid developed for mobile device. To develop it I needed a character, so thanks to a designer freelancer, I developed this very funny and amazing character called Mulele (Mulele is a short version of my son’s name: Samuele used by a his friend). During these days the nursery school setup a little Xmass market so I develop pro-bono stickers and pen holders. Everyone bought one and ask me to prepare also the picture frame, I hope to finish it as soon as possible.
    So I started a IndiGoGo campaign to search support to continue to develop my project. I know that parents like my project because them know that it’s build up by a dad for his kid, a dad like them.
    Another aspect that I love of this project is that it join my wife and me much more than before, in fact she paint the pen holds and believe or not I made the cross stitch ;)
    I will be very glad if you would like to support us writing some raws about our project hoping that someone would like to buy some perks helping us to finish the phase 0 of the project.
    Some links:
    1] twitter: https://twitter.com/Mulele1
    2] indiegogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mulele-phase-0/

    Soon website, blog and store will be available.

    Regards.
    Daniele Fornaciari

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