The digital world offers many opportunities for entertainment and fun, and there are hundreds of sites offering online games and gaming platforms of different kinds, for every age group. In particular, there are many sites and apps designed especially for children, which, through intelligent pastimes and enjoyable educational games for children, stimulate their creativity and desire to learn. Here are the best children's games available online or downloadable to smartphones and tablets for kids, to entertain the little ones and provide adults with a useful teaching aid.
The best educational games for kids online
One of the most popular online game sites is Giochiper.com. A free portal that offers a wide selection of activities for toddlers organized into categories and also categorized by age of the young users. Among the many genres of games available there are Sports, Skills, Spaceships and Action: once you have chosen your favorite theme, you can access different play activities, with suggestions on the audience to which they are addressed: for example, games designed for a target audience of children over 3 years old are highlighted, or not suitable for children under 12 years, and so on.
Bartolomeo.education is instead one of the best structured sites in Italian on which children can immerse themselves in a fun learning. Dedicated to elementary school children, it offers educational games based on different subjects such as art, history and literature, capturing children's attention through very well done audio and video animations.
Family-friendly web portals are also available from TV channels such as Cartoon Network, which allows you to play online with children's favourite characters, as well as sections of major cultural entertainment sites dedicated to young users, such as Kids National Geographic, a valuable source of knowledge that can satisfy many curiosities about nature, science and the people of the world.
To improve knowledge in subjects such as Italian, math or geometry, Baby-Flash is the perfect site: a container of useful teachings with which young web surfers can increase their scholastic skills, supervised along the way by adults close to them.
Downloadable educational games for kids
In addition to educational activities that can be played online, there are many downloadable games apps for kids that can be played on PCs, smartphones and tablets to take with you on the go and distract your kids. One of the best-loved is GCompris, a software full of educational video games for children between the ages of 2 and 10.
The platform is compatible with both Windows and MacOS, Linux, iOS and Android, and is mostly free, but by making a free donation to the software's creators you can unlock additional activities. Among the categories offered, there are games for learning arithmetic, PC use, science, as well as memory and skill challenges.
To delve deeper into learning how to do math, AB Math Lite is a free app that offers educational math games for children over the age of 6. Its purpose is for children to get closer to understanding mathematical notions while having fun and without perceiving them as something difficult and heavy. AB Math Lite is the free version of the more complete AB Math, which can be downloaded for a fee.
To stimulate the artistic ambitions of children there are nice applications such as Piano for Kids, a game aimed at young musicians between 2 and 5 years old. A virtual keyboard on which children, even at an early age, can begin to put their hands to gradually approach the world of music.
There is a free version, a more limited but still valid version and a complete paid version. If, on the other hand, the kids at home prefer painting, there are apps such as Drawing and Painting for Kids, or Drawing and Painting Animals, downloadable both from the Play Store and on iOS. A great way to stimulate their desire to paint.
There are also numerous apps online that introduce children to the principles of healthy eating or the practice of yoga, or that talk to them in many ways about the importance of healthy living. Just as it is possible, through online educational activities, to explain civics, poetry or foreign languages to the little ones at home.
Apps for special educational needs
Online games, in addition to being a very useful way to educate children while entertaining them, can also be a powerful tool for interacting with children with communication difficulties or autistic syndrome.
There are many interesting online projects, especially designed for children with special educational needs or cognitive delays of different kinds. Among these, Immaginario is an Italian app that aims to help parents and therapists to relate with autistic children or with difficulties in verbal communication related to cognitive delay and that uses a communication through images based on AAC, Alternative Augmentative Communication. Another app for children with autism and special needs, IoParlo, a free system of assisted communication, created in collaboration with Genitori e Autismo, has the same goals.
Apps like Time In or Niki Agenda help children with difficulties in understanding the abstract notion of time to visually represent its passage, with the help of graphics, animations and shapes, or figurative representations of days of the week and activities carried out during their day.
To aid in the development of social skills, apps such as Wall of Life or You How You Are allow children with autism spectrum disorders to improve their empathy and social relationship skills with those around them.
There are an infinite number of websites and educational apps online that can be a valuable support for parents, educators and teachers and that represent an important stimulus to the development of children, to the construction of their cognitive functions and the expansion of their knowledge: combining the useful with the enjoyable has never been so important.