What are we as parents and teachers most worried about over the summer? We are worried that kids will lose that sharp learning edge. It will be dulled by sun and sand and something else.
Worry no more. Here's your cure: Learning disguised as play (inspired by the fascinating website Playful Learning). Kids will think they're playing games, but they'll actually be participating in some of the leading (mostly) free simulations available in the education field.
A note: Some must be downloaded and a few purchased, so the link might take you to a website that provides access rather than play:
Bridge Builder -- Learn how to design and test bridges.
Dimension U -- Games that focus on math and literacy–fee-
Electrocity -- How electricity contributes to the growth of communities.
iCivics -- Lets kids experience what it means to be part of a democracy.
Middworld Online – Kids learn French or Spanish while completing conquests.
Second Life -- Simulates just about anything if you can find it.
Bridge Building Contest -- build a bridge for the right price and win a contest.
Admongo -- Explore, discover and learn about online ads while playing a game.
Coffee Shop -- Run a coffee shop business.
Lemonade Stand -- Run a lemonade stand business
Life (Insurance) -- Manage your life and see why insurance is important.
Cases -- Investigate (Boston Massacre, When Elvis met Nixon, and more) and figure out what really happened.
CSI Online Adventure
Quandary -- An ethics problem-solving game from MIT.
SimCity -- Learn how to run a city.
SimTower -- Build a 100-story tower block filled with offices, condos, shops, restaurants,a hotel, a cinema and a party hall.
For more, visit Larry Ferlazzo's great list of Choose your own adventure sites and Cybraryman's comprehensive multisubject list.
More games and simulations:
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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, a columnist for Examiner.com, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.