Parents and teachers often lament that kids play too many video games. However, gaming can be a mindful, rather than mindless, activity. Plenty of video games on the market teach kids about science.
How can video games become instructional devices? They can:
- Change attitudes about learning: They switch up the attitude that learning has to be hard to be important. Learning can and should be fun. Video games remove the mental barriers so many children have walled up against STEM subjects like science and math.
- Promote efficient decision-making: Video games require quick thinking and fast learning and reward kids for making smart decisions.
- Use them as teaching supplements: Teachers can use games to supplement their learning workshops. Many instructors pair game sessions with flash quizzes to gauge learning.
- Encourage all learners to get involved: Gaming can be useful for kids who may be reluctant to ask questions aloud in the classroom.
- Offer universal value: Video games have become comfortable for children of all ages. Therefore, most learners will be eager to dive into games as part of their learning sessions.
At Science Explorers, we support any vehicles that encourage STEM learning… including video games! Below are some of the top educational video game picks for kids. Find the right one based on your child’s or students’ ages and abilities. Then, get out those devices and get ready to gamify STEM.
The Minecraft empire isn’t limited to just after-school, laid-back, multi-player sessions. Minecraft can be used as a STEM learning video game tool, too.
Some educators are exploring ways to leverage the software’s flexible formats to teach. Plus, Minecraft itself offers educational lessons useful for schools, museums and other educational institutions.
What happens if teachers aren’t familiar with Minecraft or are unsure how to use it? If you fall into that category, you’re in luck. Minecraft provides training sessions for the uninitiated to get up to speed on its capabilities quickly.
It might not be a household name, but Civilization has become a popular gaming choice for kids and educators.
Civilization revolves around exactly what you’d assume — allowing players to create worlds or civilizations. The premise is incredibly simple. Most kids don’t even realize all the skill sets they’re mastering, such as figuring out the anthropological aspects of building societies.
Like all educational video games for kids and teens, Civilization requires navigation by adults first. Getting accustomed to its full capabilities will ensure teachers and learners get the most from the software.
PBS KIDS Lab
Leave it to PBS to have games that make STEM fun!
On the KIDS Lab homepage, teachers can choose from numerous video games. Each one revolves around at least one subject area, many of which lean toward math.
Though the KIDS Lab may not appeal to most preteens or teens, it’s ideal for beginners in preschool and early elementary school. Many of the games even feature characters that students are familiar with from the television or internet.
Little Alchemy 2
Looking for a video game for middle and high schoolers? Little Alchemy 2 gets high ratings and brings loads of enjoyment.
Players have to unlock elements and find imaginative methods of combining them throughout the action. Though not steeped directly in science, Little Alchemy 2 stays true to its own world canons. Therefore, it’s a good tool for future classroom discussions about STEM.
Cork the Volcano
For inspiration among younger gamers, try Cork the Volcano. It rewards users for learning to code, which is a valuable STEM skill set that’s only going to be more and more needed as the years fly by.
This bright, easy-to-follow gaming environment is written to please younger students. Expect your little ones to complete puzzlet after puzzlet. You may want to use the puzzlets later to wrap up coursework or initiate discussions.
Teach Kids About Science With Hands-On Learning
Gaming isn’t a bad word. When handled correctly by trained educators, video games can boost kids’ learning around topics like STEM.