Choosing appropriate online games for kids

26 Dec

I was going to write about Christmas but today was really busy, I’m really tired, and I want to go to bed (I will soon though).  Instead, here is a guest post about online games for kids.  I’m sure lots of you out there have kids who got vouchers for online gaming site, or your have kids who want to play computer games, but you have no idea which ones are appropriate.  So here is a little guide for you:

Many parents are concerned over the amount of inappropriate material available on the internet. How do we ensure that the games our kids are playing are appropriate? Even games that are geared towards kids have more of an adult feel and are far from appropriate. Here are some considerations for finding kid appropriate games online.

What Are They Learning?

One of the biggest concerns that I have as a parent is what my child will learn while on the internet. I don’t want my child to learn how to steal cars or the most effective way to kill a zombie. Instead, I would rather my child’s gaming teach them practical skill or reinforce skills that they are learning in school.

One great site I found is UpToTen.com. The games there are all geared for children from ages six to ten and each game helps to improve a child’s skill in one area or another. A simple game such guiding a snowman through a maze can help to improve their hand-eye coordination.

Stress Fun Over Competition

Much like in youth sports, I look for online games that stress fun over competition. Games that set easy to achieve goals are much more preferred over those that stress “winning at all costs.”

Learn4Good is another great site that offers several games geared towards young gamers and each game is focused more on fun and learning rather than on competition. Similar to UpToTen, this site has games from young children to pre-teens.

 Explore their Passions

What is your child passionate about? That may sound like a very adult concept, but all kids are passionate about one thing or another. For some it may be fire trucks and firemen. Other kids may love animals. Whatever their passion, online games can help them explore those passions.

I have a friend that has a daughter that loves horses. A great site for horse games is VirtualHorseGames.net. There are several games there that are both fun and educational. Games such as Star Stable offer a chance to interact with horses in a virtual world environment while Howrse teaches you about horse genetics.

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The above are just a few suggestions in finding kid friendly games online. You may want to spend some time on a couple of gaming forums and hold discussions with other parents and gamers about the best child appropriate games or which games to avoid. Also, talk with your child’s teacher. They may be able to provide resources or game suggestions.

*This post is brought to you by VirtualHorseGames.net

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Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

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