Welcome to Jess T.’s Tech Tuesday, where all your geek are belong to us!
If you’re like me, you spend a LOT of time on the computer. Between work, information gathering, socializing and shopping, computers are an integral part of our daily lives. Apart from the rare and extreme situations, adults don’t seem to suffer severe side effects from this kind of “digitalization.” But what about kids?
Raised in a family of geeks, my oldest started using a computer when she was 18 months old, playing basic matching games and learning to wiggle the mouse around. Now that’s she’s 5 and will be starting kindergarten in a few days, we use the computer as a vital tool in her education. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way suggesting your kid zone out in front of the computer for hours on end. (Like all things, computer use should be monitored and regulated like you probably already do with the T.V. – moderation is key!)
We’ve complied a list of some computer games and websites that can supplement your child’s early learning or be used in conjunction with existing school curriculum. So without further ado, let’s get to it!
In addition to grade-level based software, Jump Start offers online content, iPhone/iPad apps and games for Nintendo Wii and DS. For those computer veterans who remember Math Blaster, which kept us busy for hooooours back in our youth, they’ve got an updated version for your wee ones!
Nick Jr.’s website is awesome for little ones. Its chock full of games, their favorite characters, music, videos and coloring pages. With so much to choose from and content updated all the time, the fun is truly endless. Nick Jr. also offers Boost – their premium service that offers a more structured, education-based gaming environment, complete with progress reports for you and an ad-free playspace for your child. Boost offers a 7-day free trial, so check it out!
Reader Rabbit, as you can imagine, is awesome for language arts and phonics. Packed with matching games, word scrambles and stories, this rabbit might be lacking in fancy graphics but its clean and simple for early learners. Broken down into age groups starting at “Toddler,” this series can help your child learn while playing right from the start.
The name says it all! PBS has been a trusted source of educational programming forever so its no surprise that their website is jam-packed with fun games and activities to get your kid’s brain busy in a safe atmosphere. Set up similarly to the Nick Jr. site, your child can choose from games, videos and more by choosing the face of their favorite character. This feature is perfect for little ones who can’t read yet!
Oh man, my kids love I SPY! With a wide range of themes and skill levels, Scholastic’s classic series is sure to be a hit with your kids. Not only does it help refine those motor skills, it teaches little ones to identify letters, small words and important symbols used in math and science. While many of the I SPY games aren’t strictly educational (like the Spooky Mansion one, that might be a bad idea before bedtime), they are all a blast for kids and adults alike.
If you haven’t seen Pocoyo, you really should do something about that – right now. The show is absolutely adorable and is a huge hit with the wee ones. Simple, colorful, silly and dubbed into different languages, Pocoyo will win your child’s heart. Pocoyo World is an equally fun online experience for your child and is free from ads, profanity or danger. Since they offer a free trial, there’s nothing to lose!
While these are a few of our favorites, the internet is brimming with fun, educational content for families. The biggest hurdle is finding it! Have you discovered any family-friendly gems? Share them with us and let us know how you feel about the ones on this week’s list!