Your best bet is to start at reputable Web sites and check out the games featured there. The longer you can keep your child within the relatively safe world of Disney, Nick Jr., and PBS Kids, the better. Here's a quick look at some of the options from these and similar sites.
Fisher Price claims to have games for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, but don't count on your baby playing quietly on her own. These games are designed for the two of you to play together, to help encourage interaction with your child. They are cute, though, and designed to entertain a small child on your lap.
You can find plenty for toddlers and preschoolers at Sesame Street Games. If you have an Elmo fan, you're in luck, because the furry red monster stars in many of these activities. You'll still need to be an active participant, but you may actually enjoy some of these games. The first hundred times, anyway.
Games at Nick Jr. are designed for the youngest players, but they will still need your help. Most kids don't have the dexterity to manipulate the mouse, and even the games designed for kids' ages 2 to 4 can be a little confusing. But, at this age, computer time is really more of a joint activity, anyway.
You'll find over 120 games here, conveniently categorized by show or movie. Disney puts an enormous amount of research into these games, so your job is easy: look for the title of your child's favorite show, and check out the game offerings. Most of these games are best for late elementary kids and older.
Older kids will enjoy these arcade-style games played on the free downloadable player. One caveat: you will undoubtedly need to limit your child's time on these games, because they are ridiculously addictive.
Online games can be a great way to pass the time when the weather is cold or rainy. But as with TV time, limit exposure to what you think is reasonable. And think of computer time as a way to interact with your child, rather than an electronic babysitter.
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