Who knew that learning could be so much fun? Using the games below, individuals from the ages of pre-K to adulthood can learn social skills, school subjects, computer literacy and so much more while having fun. The trick, is to try a variety of games, rather than getting hooked on just one game. That way, you can build a variety of skills as well.

The following games are online and they are free to use. Some need to be downloaded, and some games ask for parental or teacher guidance (or both). The games are listed alphabetically within each category by site or name game. Have fun!

For Kids and Parents

Most of the games below are suited for home play, often with parental help or guidance (K-12).

  1. Club Penquin: This virtual world, offered by Disney, is designed specifically for kids and parents and it’s free. Special features may require a membership.
  2. Education Place: Houghton Mifflin, the textbook folks, provide six games for students to play that help with speech, language, geography, math and spelling.
  3. Game Classroom: What a great way to help kids with homework. This site scours the Web for the most trustworthy educational games for kids to learn skills in a range of subject matter.
  4. Game Goo: Ranging from beginner to advanced, these games teach young children coordination and basic skills.
  5. KinderWeb: If you’re seeking a game to play at home with preschool-aged children, try this site.
  6. Learning Games for Kids: These games provide preschool and elementary foundations for learning.
  7. Lulilab: This site allows young people to become creative as they build homepages, write blogs and interact with community.
  8. National Geographic Kids: Learn geography, history, language and math skills with these games, videos, activities and more designed for younger folks (and interesting for many older folks, too).
  9. PBS Kids: Encourage kids at home to be more active and focused with the games and videos provided by Public Broadcasting.
  10. Play Kids Games: Aimed at ages pre-K through middle school, Play Kids Games offers ways for kids to discover their abilities and learn new skills with interactive games.
  11. PrimaryGames: Even the adults around here enjoyed “Crazy Taxi.” These games are easy, fun and teach computer literacy as well as language and math skills to all age levels.
  12. The Kidz Page: While this site contains the usual fun word and skills games, they also have multi-player games that might be fun for siblings or for parents to join in on the learning.
  13. The Problem Site: Numerous free games with skills for language and math.
  14. Webkinz: This is a virtual world for kids, where animals are avatars. There is a special parents’ page to help learn how to manage time, technical issues and guidelines for kids.
  15. Whyville: This virtual world for kids teaches socialization skills as participants play games that include skills such as learning how to drive. Sponsors include the University of Texas, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Adobe Systems among others.

For Kids, Parents and Teachers

The following sites are suited for the classroom as well as for home play (K-12 and adult participation).

  1. ABC Ya! These free games are intended for elementary students to learn on the Web and were approved by certified teachers.
  2. Academic Skill Builders: These research-based and standards-aligned free educational math and language arts games can help to engage, motivate, and help teach students.
  3. EdHeads: Edheads helps students learn through educational games and activities designed to meet state and national standards.
  4. Educational Freeware:
  5. FunBrain: Parents, teachers and kids can use these games to help stimulate the brain, create quizzes and build language and math skills.
  6. Educational Games: Have fun and learn skills from this site, based upon Nobel Prize-awarded achievements.
  7. GameQuarium: The games at this site range from Pre-K to sixth-grade levels, and they focus mainly on math.
  8. I Know That: Choose a grade and a subject to play games that focus on those skill levels and learning possibilities.
  9. Kaboose: Games on this site come in different difficulty levels and skill sets, from preschoolers through sixth grade.
  10. Knowledge Adventure: Parents and teachers can turn to this site to find games that vary by age level, grade level and subject matter.
  11. Mr. Nussbaum: Sort games by grade level for students to learn math, language, social studies and more.
  12. Playing History: This site aggregates free online historical-learning games. Age levels range widely, but each game is rated for accuracy and for fun.
  13. Prongo: Teachers and parents can use this site to keep kids from ages three to twelve entertained and educated.
  14. Quest Atlantis: More than 45,000 children in over six continents have participated in this project, which includes ways to act as investigative reporters, environmental scientists and historians who resolve meaningful dilemmas.
  15. Quiz Hub: This is a site filled with relevant quizzes for education levels K-12. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the “High School Ace Blog” and more information. While not all fun and games, some quizzes may be necessary to help pass standardized tests.

Multi-User Games

The games below have age levels that range from young adult to adult. These games teach users how to play with team members, skill sets, computer literacy and more. Be aware that some games have warnings for parents of young users.

  1. Achaea: This is a text MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) that is highly-rated and that brings arts and literature as well as fantasy play into a team-based environment.
  2. Dark Ages: Dark Ages has a deeply developed community with history, lore, philosophy, literature, and art all created by players. This game also includes an intricate political and religious system, so the game is meant for teens and older.
  3. Furcadia: This is a complex role-playing multi-user game that offers games, festivals, events and more for teens and adults. According to the site, female players make up over half the population.
  4. LambdaMOO: This text-based community is meant for college-level activity or higher. Using a Telnet connection, users can move through various rooms and cultures to meet people and build relationships or to play complex RPGs (role-playing games).
  5. Puzzle Pirates: Play twenty different puzzles or create and customize a pirate for online action games. This site promotes team-playing, strategies and logistics for all ages, but focuses on the younger crowd.
  6. Revolution: This game is suited for the classroom, but it can be downloaded for home use as well (Windows only). Several papers were published on this game, focusing on its interactive means of teaching students about the American Revolution.
  7. RuneScape: What a great way to learn how to play multi-user games. This site offers instant access from any computer, with over 15,000 of free gameplay, over 150 quests and 24 diverse skill sets.

Virtual Worlds for College and Higher

Engage in new worlds and learn social skills, computer skills, sociology and real-world skills with these games.

  1. Active Worlds: You can participate or build a virtual world, custom brand that world and more with this game that businesses and educational institutes use for problem solving, strategics and communication.
  2. CyberCiege: Sponsored by the U.S. Navy, this game was designed to teach network security concepts and it is used as a training tool by agencies of the U.S. government, universities and community colleges. The game is freely available to the U.S. Government and a no-cost license is available for educational institutions. If you have other reasons to use this game, you can learn more about how to obtain it under “Downloads” tab in the site’s menu.
  3. Entropia Universe: This site is billed as the first virtual universe with a real cash economy. Join six currently active planets to have fun and to learn skill levels.
  4. Food Force: This educational game is published by the United Nations World Food Programme. Players take on missions to distribute food in a famine-affected country and to help it recover and become self-sufficient.
  5. Kaneva: Kaneva is the first virtual world to integrate social networking, shared media, and collaborative online communities into a modern-day, immersive 3D world for the masses.
  6. Second Life: If you haven’t yet heard about Second Life — even if you do not participate — then you’ve been computer-deprived. This is the largest user-created 3D virtual world community, used by individuals, businesses and educational institutions for socializing, problem-solving, brain-storming and more.

Education for Adults

From college level up, these games have provided knowledge, sharpen skills and help to maintain an active brain!

  1. AARP Games: One of the newest games on this site is the “Driver Safety Program” that teaches safe driving to those who are learning to drive or for those who forgot how to drive safely. Don’t stop there – there are plenty of fun games on this site.
  2. Ethical work and life learning: This series of games and quizzes is geared toward learning more about business ethics and attitudes.
  3. Favorite Games: This link leads to the download for Windows. Use this download to play games against opponents or against your computer such as Belote, Bridge, Monopoly and more.
  4. Games for the Brain: Don’t let the simplicity of this site fool you — the games are fun and the skills learned are priceless.
  5. Living Math! Although this site seems structured for students, take a closer look. Learn math games from around the world, sharpen your Domino skills and refresh your knowledge on chance and probability with the opportunities presented here.
  6. Luminosity: Games for the brain and for brain training. While subscriptions can cost, you can play your way through volumes of games for free.
  7. SharpBrains: This link leads directly to the brain games section of the site. Be sure to look around, though, as this site has numerous learning resources.
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