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Learning Games for Students in Grades 3-5

This week, Education World searched the Web for interactive learning games for students in the elementary grades. The sites below represent some of the best we found. Keep them in mind when you're looking for a way to engage students' interest while increasing their knowledge or enhancing their skills! Included: Ten sites that offer a variety of online learning games.

Are your students tired of even your most creative skill drill activities? Do they groan when you suggest another math blast, spelling bee, or vocabulary quiz? Do they need a break from preparing for end-of-year high stakes testing -- but you haven't got a minute to spare for purely frivolous fun and games? Or are you just plain tired of competing with the excitement of multi- media for your students' attention? Don't despair! You can combine fun and learning while putting your students' love of computer games to work for you by introducing them to some of the engaging learning games available on the Web.

This week, Education World searched the Web for interactive online games for students in the elementary grades. The ten sites below provide some of the best games we found. Not all the games are obviously academic, but all will contribute to the knowledge or skills necessary for academic progress, while offering your students a brief break from academic pressures. So keep them in mind when you're looking for a fun activity that's not just a waste of time!

Games and Activities

The NIEHS (National Institute for Environmental Studies) Kids Page offers an extensive array of original games and traditional games with an environmental twist. Here, kids can look for the hidden images in a Johnny Appleseed drawing, play science concentration, bash toxic waste bugs, design a spirograph, learn about vericomposting, play name that tune, and create experiments in art. In fact, you'll find a game linked to almost every curricular area! This site contains no ads and no off-site links, but most games require a Java-enabled browser.

Interactive Fun Puzzles
This child-safe site features a total of15 math and logic problems arranged in two separate skill levels. Level One puzzles provide practice in counting, adding, sorting, hand-eye coordination, visual discrimination, and problem solving. Level Two puzzles focus almost entirely on logic and problem solving, and include such old favorites as The Frustrated Farmer and Magic Squares. Many of the puzzles at this site are challenging for elementary age students and they make terrific activities for those students who always finish first and complain of being "bored." This site contains no ads or commercial links and so requires minimal supervision.

Squigly's Games

This site offers an assortment of interactive games in a variety of formats. Most are logic or problem-solving games, although some, such as Crab Race and Code Breaker, deal with probability, and Story Builder is a MadLibs type activity. The site also offers a number of word searches, matching activities, memory games, and logic puzzles, as well as such traditional games as Tic Tac Toe and Word Star, a version of hangman. Kids also can click the balls at the bottom of the browser window to find coloring pages, craft activities, pencil puzzles, brain teasers, jokes, and kid-submitted writing. Squigly's Games are almost entirely ad-free, although students should be careful to avoid the "Try This!" link at the top of the right hand column -- it leads to a downloadable trial of a commercial game -- and the postcard section, which requires kids to enter their e-mail addresses.

Solitaire Paradise
Solitaire is one of the most well-known and most played computer games ever. Solitaire games (also referred to as patience games) are card games for one person, played with regular playing cards. Over 500 different solitaire variants exist, each having unique rules and using different fields.


The sites below generally contain only one game or a few games of limited interest. If you're looking for one of them, however, the sites are worth a visit.

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
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