"Life is more fun if you play games." -Roald Dahl
If, as an educator, you made anyone of your young pupils choose between copying down notes about a specific academic discipline or playing an educational game during class time, what would the majority want to do?
The answer is quite simple, all students in the class would unanimously select playing an engaging and informative educational game.
Various educators all around the world strongly believe that sticking to the national curriculum that is devised by the government is the only way that young students can truly succeed. Nevertheless, in recent years educational games have risen in popularity to capture the attention of the increasing amount of distracted students.
Some of the most common and proven benefits of educational games are that they improve the focus of pupils, increase the motivation to learn new things, create positive memories among classmates and consolidate newly acquired knowledge.
Educational games can also be played outside the classroom in the comfort of the student's own home on a computer, tablet, smartphone or gaming console.
Young students can find games about any academic discipline, from maths to geography the sky is the limit!
Superprof will now explore the best geography-based games for kids in three different sections: online, in the classroom and on a gaming console.
Online Geography Games
Looking back a few years ago, young ones did not have the same tech expertise as they do today. The technological abilities that the 21st-century youth have are remarkable and it seems as if toddlers nowadays are born with electronic devices in their hands!
Parents often worry if too much technology will overstimulate their child and eventually rot their brain, however, if the time spent on electronic devices is used-wisely, important information from various academic disciplines can be acquired at a young age and set them apart from the competition in a classroom setting.
We will now consider the best online geography games and activities for kids that are fun, instructive and offer useful resources such as printable worksheets, songs and learning videos.
World Geography Games from Sheppard Software
Many educators are extremely impressed by the learning games on this online website that are separated into levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert.
Youngsters gain a mental map of the world's continents, countries, landscapes and capitals.
There are African, Asian, Canadian, Caribbean, European, Mexican, Middle East, Oceania, Central and South America, U.S and World geography games that are interactive and essential for learning the fundamentals of physical geography.
For example, a game that is taken from the African section, which is designed for kids who have an intermediate level of geography, has students drag the name of each country onto the map.
Other learning activities and games that can be played on this website include world flags, world capitals quiz game, world continents and oceans and world landmark puzzles. It is definitely worth a visit for those who want to play kids geography games online.
An incredibly diverse game that can be played online and that was created by Houghton Mifflin Social Studies. Students can either choose to learn more about the geographic locations and data of the United States of America or the world.
After clicking on one of the world's continents, there are six categories to choose from such as the world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical systems, human systems, environment and society and the uses of geography. Before selecting one of the six categories there are two choices of difficulty levels: level one and level two.
Let's take a closer look at each one of the six categories to see what kind of educational games are featured:
- The World in Spatial Terms: mostly deals with location and spatial information tells where things are located in relation to each other,
- Places and Regions: the description of places include its physical and human characteristics, people invent regions and distinct geographic locations are situated there,
- Physical Systems: physical processes such as air, land, water and living things constantly change Earth's surface and interact with living things,
- Human Systems: the topics of population, culture and interdependence are analyzed and the way people from different cultures interact with the environment is considered in the multiple choice questions,
- Environment and Society: questions are focused on how human activities change physical environments and are influenced by them,
- The Uses of Geography: the questions in this category educate young students about how geography helps people understand the relationships between people, places and environments.
In all of the six categories, multiple-choice questions are asked and when the correct answer is selected a brief description of the topic is shared with students to widen their overall knowledge of geography. Of all the online games offered to learn more about geography, this is one of the best.
The Geospy game is in association with National Geographic Kids and the agency needs your help to identify continents, countries, states and provinces.
The game starts by asking for your name and then kids have to choose between three different assignments: continents game, countries game and states and provinces game.
In the continents game, youngsters have to move the white square on the map to answer the questions and identify as many continents as possible.
While playing the countries game, pupils move the white square over the map and click on a continent. Shortly after a continent has been selected, students have 180 seconds to identify all the countries in that continent using the little white square.
In the third game or assignment, a country in North America is chosen and 180 seconds are given to players to name all of the provinces or states in that country.
A very educational game about kids geography that improves pupils map skills and makes them feel like spies!
Classroom Geography Games
As we have previously stated, educational games for kids about geography can be played at home and in the classroom. After teaching new geography-based concepts to children, it would be very wise to reinforce these recently learned ideas by playing a game.
There are many different geography-based games for kids that can be played in any type of classroom.
Grasping the Hierarchy of Geography
After teaching very young students about continents, countries and states or provinces, it is essential that educators create a game in order to make sure that the pupils understand that hierarchy of sizes.
They may be confused by these new concepts and think that a province is bigger than a continent!
Therefore, a simple game can be played only using a globe, pencil and sheet of paper. While playing this classroom geography game, educators provide a hierarchy chart and choose a few names of the countries, states or provinces and cities that are situated in that specific continent. Young pupils are next asked to carefully organize the names in the hierarchy chart.
This is a great game to engage students and put into practice their newly acquired world geography skills. It is also an effective way for teachers to verify if the young pupils grasped the newly learnt concepts.
Point Out the Geographic Locations
A highly traditional game yet extremely effective for students under the age of 10. This game can be played with the entire class as each pupil takes turns pointing out the newly learnt continents, countries, cities, states, rivers and bodies of water.
Students at a kindergarten level can start by pointing out the continents and as the age group increases the difficulty rises. For example, 10-year-olds can point out newly learnt rivers, mountains and lakes on the world map.
How to play? The teacher names a geographic location and all the students who know the answer raise their hand to point on the map. The educator selects a pupil and the chosen one walks over to the world map and points at the correct location.
This is a great way to see if the pupils have correctly understood the previously acquired geographic knowledge.
What young child does not enjoy a puzzle? They can be used during class time to correctly understand the placement of continents on world maps.
Educators may choose to buy a world map puzzle or simply create one by printing out a world map from the internet and cutting it out into different shapes or pieces. This activity can be completed in teams or done individually.
To make this game more appealing for older students, time the students with a stopwatch and offer a prize to the fastest one. This creates friendly competition and positive memories of learning geography.
Foods of the World
This game is designed for the young foodies in the classroom. While learning about new countries, educators teaching geography often point out essential information about the flag, population, religion, total area of land and the national dishes or popular foods.
The teacher can bring in typical ethnic foods or spices and ask students to recall where these delicacies are from. This game is well-received by 8-10-year-old students who have a love for food.
This helps students better retain the information they have learnt about a certain country's culture.
Geography-Based Video Games
"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock-n-roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto
Video games really have a bad reputation among parents due to the fact that they believe they waste time and have no lasting benefits.
It may be true that young ones spend a lot more time playing video games than they probably should, however, scientifically-based benefits have shown that regularly playing video games improves a child's memory capacity, problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.
It is important to note that are many educational video games that can be played on any gaming console that help students build a solid foundation for academic disciplines such as vocabulary, history, science, math and geography.
We will now consider the two best educational video games to have kids learn more about geography.
First released in 2009, this Nintendo DS game comes highly recommended for youngsters who possess one of these consoles.
The lessons are both fun and engaging and players have the choice between three game modes: exercises, training/learning mode and mini-games. This video game is rated E for everyone and can be played by students who are aged 6 years and older.
It's a challenging yet rewarding game for students who want to learn more about countries and people from all over the world. There are various quizzes and mini-games such as City Search and Paint the Flag. The central game is a global treasure hunt that causes pupils to solve geography clues that are essential for further geography learning.
National Geographic Challenge
A fantastic video game created by the National Geographic Society that can be played on the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 or XBOX 360.
The game is reasonably priced and includes 4,000 in-game questions, five modes of game play (single player, multiplayer quiz, puzzle challenge, classic puzzles and explorer mode) and the option for players to compete against each other.
The format of a game show is used to explore the world through geography and history. There are stunning videos and rich educational content that make this game stand out from the rest.
Parents of kids learning more about the fundamentals of geography will be impressed with the wide variety of online educational games that are available for young ones and that make acquiring physical geography data stimulating and appealing.
There are also many kids geography websites and other geography-based resources such as applications and books that engage young pupils by using quizzes and interactive learning articles about the different topics of geography.