It is hard to believe, but my oldest is starting kindergarten in less than a month! It is a little bittersweet to send him off to ‘real’ school. Being a stay at home mom, I have been blessed with being able to watch my kids grow and learn here at home every day. I have tried really hard to work with both of them to start their training early. I wanted my son to be fully prepared for kindergarten when he starts in the fall. Children need a great foundation for learning to give them a head start. Did you know that 85% of brain development occurs by age 5?
My son is extremely interested in video games, computer games and pretty much anything to do with electronics. It can be hard to manage his screen time but, I figure, if he is going to be playing these games, I want them to be educational. Find out what your child is interested in and incorporate learning into it. If you can make it a game it can be even better. My son loves video games, so from early on I went on the hunt to find the best free online computer games I could.
Here are my top five picks for free online learning computer games for preschoolers and toddlers:
- Starfall – This website is a great tool to help teach your child phonics and the beginning stages of learning to read. You start at the top with a set of letters that create a certain sound, such as ‘an’ and ‘at’ for the sound ‘a’. The game sounds out the letters and you have to choose the right letter to create a word ending in ‘an’. It then sounds out the word you created. After learning two different word builders you get to read along with a story. Any word your child doesn’t know, they can click on it to have it sounded out.
|Starfall: Learn to Read|
- Fisher-Price – What I like about these games is you can select the age, the brand or character you want to play with, and also what type of game. Since my son is getting older, we choose the preschool games and then choose from there which type of game he wants to play. Some of the games allow you to choose the difficulty level, so as your child develops and grows, you can have them choose a harder level.
|Fisher Price: Imaginext Dinosaur Interactive Online Puzzles|
- PBS Kids – PBS is known for it’s educational content and the kid’s website does not disappoint. My son can practice spelling, do math games, work on puzzles and even do physics games. These are a real hit around our house right now because my son is very interested in science and learning how things work. We have been doing a lot of pre-reading in our house as well. The game shown below is great for him to learn how words sound the same and to start recognizing how to form words.
|PBS Kids: Red’s Rhyme N’ Roll Game|
- Disney Jr. – My kids love watching Disney Jr. My littlest one is especially fond of Mickey Mouse right now! This website is great for teaching coloring, numbers and puzzles. There are games for all of my kids favorite characters. When my son was younger one of his favorite games was Goofy’s Wild Shoe Round-Up’. Your child has to match the shoe colors. It gets harder the longer you play.
|Disney Jr: Goofy’s Wild Shoe Round Up|
- Nick Jr. – This another website where you can choose the age range of your child (you can choose from 2-3, 3-4, 4-5, or 5-6), then what type of game you want to play and you can even choose the character. Once you choose which game you want to play, it will show different game play features – single player or multi player, if you need the mouse or the keyboard. It will also show you what developmental skills your child will be learning and what age range the game is appropriate for.
|Nick Jr: Blue Answers Your Questions|
It is always best to supervise your children when they are viewing content online. It is even better if you can play the games with them and talk about what they are learning. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time per day for young children (this includes TV watching, video games and computer time). If you choose high quality learning games, you will feel secure knowing that the time they are spending online is worthwhile!
As a member of Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to participate in the Healthy Habits program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #healthyhabits #cgc
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