During the 2008-2009 school year, I conducted a survey of every child in my son's private school ages kindergarten through 5th grade. I surveyed over 400 children. The point of the survey was to pinpoint what methods of learning the children enjoyed most and which ones turned them off. Forty percent of the children surveyed said their very favorite classroom activity for learning was using the computer, and more specifically playing interactive learning games. Others stated in-class games were their second favorite way to learn and participate.
Children learn more and faster when they are enjoying the tasks at hand. Almost 50% of the children stated worksheets were their least favorite way to learn. "It is so boring," they would say.
Teaching children computer skills is essential in this day and age. Avoiding non-motor computer games is also essential. They can have a negative affect on a child's brain. Games that engage neuro-pathways in the brain are the best. Those games that require the children to think and reason are games that engage the brain. In my son's school, children are given weekly time on the classroom computers to go to appropriate websites (all Internet access supervised by the teacher) that have free interactive learning games for children. Teachers choose games that help kids learn to spell, have concentration/memory games, math games or games that deal in spatial applications such as tan-gram puzzles or something as simple as decorating a pumpkin face on the screen. Teachers use learning games as an alternative to doing worksheets. It accomplishes the intended goal, but is fun for the child, instead of boring. Since it engages more of the brain, the learning is more effective.
Teachers at my son's school encourage parents to sit with their children at home at least once per week and explore websites where a child can have fun learning spelling, phonics, memory improvement and other academic skills, while also polishing their computer skills. There are multiple sites that have free interactive games for kids. My personal favorites are arcademicskillbuilders.com, starfall.com and EngineEd.com. All are free and have interactive learning games for kids ages 4-12.
Interactive learning games for kids are one way parents and teachers are partnering in a child's education to make learning more effective and education more fun.